Toronto FC will be facing an unfamiliar foe when they open their playoff schedule on Tuesday night against Nashville SC as +105 home favourites on the MLS odds at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
TFC has been idle since closing out their regular season schedule with a 2-1 loss to the New York Red Bulls on Nov. 8, which marked their third defeat in four outings ahead of Tuesday night's matchup at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field.
Despite their late-season swoon, the Reds finished the campaign in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, earning them a lengthier layoff while their first-round opponent was determined in play-in round action. The additional rest could not have come at a better time for the Reds, who were hit hard by injuries down the stretch.
In addition to Ayo Akinola, who had been enjoying a breakthrough season with a team-leading nine goals, veteran Jozy Altidore and Pablo Piatti have both missed time due to injury. While Akinola and Altidore are expected to be in the lineup, both Piatti and Marco Delgado remain doubtful for Tuesday's contest.
With the clinic full, TFC struggled to generate offence down the stretch, scoring just seven total goals over their final eight outings, and multiple goals on just one occasion during that stretch. Accordingly, the total has remained steady at just 2.5 for Tuesday's match after climbing to 3.0 at online sports betting sites in each of the club's past two outings.
While TFC has no track record with Nashville, they have settled nicely into their temporary home in East Hartford, Conn. The club has racked up a 4-1-1 win-loss-draw record in six home dates at Pratt & Whitney Stadium, outscoring opponents by a 9-5 margin during that stretch. Of course, Toronto also enjoys a wealth of post-season experience, appearing in the MLS Cup in three of the past four years, and were pegged among the favourites as a +800 wager on the MLS Cup odds when playoff action got underway last week.
Nashville extended their MLS expansion campaign with a decisive 3-0 win over Inter Miami in a play-in round last week, and look to their date with the Reds as +255 underdogs.
After struggling at times when the MLS regular season resumed in late August, Nashville found their groove down the stretch, closing out their schedule on a 4-1-2 run to finish seventh in the Eastern Conference. The club has shown noticeable improvement on the road, where they currently enjoy a three-match win streak after posting just one win in their first 10 away contests.