|TFC's Doneil Henry and Galaxy's Chad Barrett fight for the ball at The Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif., June 11, 2011. (VICTOR DECOLONGON/Getty Images/AFP)
TORONTO - A pair of bottom-dwelling clubs in a statistical deadlock couldn’t be further apart heading into the final weekend of the MLS regular season.
Level on everything — goals scored, goals against, total wins, points — the Revs and Reds enter today’s match at BMO Field riding two incredibly different waves.
In the midst of five league losses, New England, its owner and supporters appear more concerned with guaranteeing a lottery preseason pick than climbing out of the MLS cellar this weekend — something a loss in Toronto will guarantee heading into 2012.
For the Reds, it’s a question of getting up for a game that’s inconsequential compared to Tuesday’s historic Champions League win while continuing to develop what looks to be a core set of players heading into next season.
With New England more than likely looking to blow up a lineup that has continuously demonstrated an inability to find any kind of success all season, TFC is looking to build on a mid-season turnaround that has seen TFC fall just four times in its last 18 matches.
Had the Reds competed from start to finish with its current roster, it’s safe to say it would be battling for a bottom-four playoff spot.
While a match with implications is desirable on the final weekend, with this year’s MLS Cup playoff picture set, this afternoon’s match offers certain elements final games around the league can’t.
It’s a chance for supporters to applaud the dream-like performance that earned Toronto, and a Canadian club, a CONCACAF quarterfinal appearance earlier this week — its first since Montreal accomplished the feat in 2009. Similarly, following his game-winning tally Tuesday, supporters could see Danny Koevermans pull level with former Red Amado Guevara for fifth all-time in club scoring.
Upon acquiring the Dutch poacher three months ago, Koevermans’ nine goals in 14 starts has him two behind the Honduran play-maker.
And with nothing on the line, both sides might employ a fair bit of young talent hoping to further cement themselves as reliable first-team options during the off-season.
Continuing to play beyond their years, should they put in another dominant performance, Doneil Henry and Ashtone Morgan will see their stock rise even further following an excellent second half of the season.
The pair should feature unless Richard Eckersley is pushed to return for the club’s final match — one that could be his last in North America.
But in terms of experience, Henry and Morgan are wily vets compared to a New England academy product fans should keep an eye on.
With the Revs in a virtual free fall, head coach Steve Nicol has given 16-year-old Diego Fagundez a number of starts in an intriguing effort to develop the teen and potentially have him seen by bigger clubs.
Full of confidence and courage, Fagundez is one of the few bright spots and attractions the Revs have utilized this season.
Although both sides are playing for nothing more than good standing within their own squads, plenty of talking points remain heading into the final weekend.
As Toronto’s season finale occurred Tuesday night, today’s match offers supporters a chance to show their appreciation for the about-face of a sorry club that is steadily becoming competitive within the region.