Toronto FC will have to figure out how to cool off an "angry" Revolution side

Toronto FC captain Michael Bradley expects a very ornery and committed New England side when the Reds take to the BMO Field pitch on Sunday night in their MLS home opener.

The Revolution come into the match without a win in two MLS contests and Bradley believes that will make them all the more dangerous.

Revs coach Brad Friedel expects his squad to make the playoffs this season, making no bones about the fact that he wants more goals.

In that light, they added some attacking quality in Spanish playmaker Carles Gil and Colombian forward Juan Fernando Caicedo. But Friedel’s troops are still looking for a win and are certainly anxious to come out of Sunday’s result with a positive result.

“Every team in our league is dangerous,” said Bradley, who scored twice in Toronto’s 3-1 victory in their league opener against the Philadelphia Union on March 2. “The second you start to overlook somebody, the second you take your foot off the gas a little, it gets shoved right back down your throat.

“It’s two games (into the season), nobody’s desperate, but I think in other ways we will see a (New England) team that is a little bit frustrated, a little bit angry and looking to really use that in a positive, aggressive way,” Bradley added. “So we have to understand what the game will mean for them given that the last result was not what they would have hoped for. We’ll have to be ready in all ways.”

TFC is expected to have Jozy Altidore back for the match, though the veteran forward likely will not start, given that he is just now rounding back into form after undergoing ankle surgery in October and hasn’t played in a game.

Unlike New England, who played last Saturday (a 2-0 home-opener loss to the Columbus Crew), TFC has had two weeks off, which can be a good or not so good. Good, in that it gave them more time to train and prepare, but there’s also the worry that they might be a touch rusty. Toronto coach Greg Vanney said the two weeks of training since the Philly match has been outstanding.

“Sometimes when you have long windows between games, then you can see intensity drop for some period of time. But that just hasn’t been the case (with us),” the coach said. “These guys have competed with the level of intensity every single day (in training). It’s fun to watch because even when we just put them against each other and play games, or mix up the teams, it’s really competitive. And I think that’s an environment where everyone is going to get better. We like we’re at right now.

“It’s been a long two weeks,” added Bradley, who will depart for U.S. national team duties after Sunday’s match. “Even when you win, two weeks is a long time to just train and beat up on each other. So I think we’re excited to step on the field and play. The intensity and the competitiveness in training has been excellent and now’s our chance to step on the field and continue to move ourselves forward.”

An aggressive, high-pressing team like New England can pose plenty of challenges and Bradley said his squad has to be smart in their approach.

“They’re physical, they want to press, they want to be aggressive,” he said. “At times in certain parts of the field they’ll be very man to man, they’ll go one to one and follow guys. We have to, in the most basic ways in terms of intensity and competitiveness, be ready for what they’ll throw at us. And then in ‘our’ moments, we have to move the ball and be smart, be sharp. All those things will have to be at a high level.

“From what we can see, their mind set is that they need to be more aggressive,” Vanney added. “So that presents its challenges, but it also presents its opportunities. But our guys are excited to play.

“For me, I get the sense of the 2016 playoffs (when TFC made it into the MLS Cup final), and by that I mean whether players are starting or not starting, they’re competing at a high level right now and high intensity and everything single day the competition level (in training) is really good. That’s just a sign of where guys are mentally and psychologically.

“Guys are confident, guys are running hard, they feel good about where they’re at. When you get 22-23 guys on that page who are all competing like that, it just makes everybody better. I think they’re really excited to get going in front of our fans.”

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