Altidore, Giovinco's return to boost TFC's bid for 2nd MLS Cup appearance
Team will look to sellout crowd in must-win Eastern Conference final 2nd-leg
The travel is over for Toronto FC, which is one home win away from a second straight MLS Cup appearance.
After tying Columbus 0-0 in the Ohio capital on Tuesday night, the Toronto players were back at their training centre Thursday. The two teams will face off in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference final next Wednesday at BMO Field.
A win and Toronto — as the team with the most points in the regular season — will host the championship game Dec. 9, no matter whether it is against Seattle or Houston.
"At the end of the day we're very happy to be at home," coach Greg Vanney told reporters Thursday. "We know what the task is in front of us. And we've done it a fair number of times this year. So we're going to play to win the game."
Toronto was 13-1-3 at home this season, leading the league with an .853 winning percentage. But it lost 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls in its last BMO Field appearance, winning the conference semifinal on the away goals rule after a 2-2 aggregate tie.
Seattle hoisted the trophy here last December after winning a penalty shootout against Toronto at BMO Field.
TFC will be bolstered by the return of star strikers Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco from suspension. Columbus will be without Brazilian midfielder Artur, who picked up a second yellow card Tuesday.
A sellout crowd is expected.
"We feed off the crowd, their energy," said Toronto fullback Steven Beitashour. "Even if we're not necessarily playing entertaining or exciting football, they just cheer us on and lift our spirits."