Connect with us


New York Red Bulls Drop Points Again on the Road in 3-3 Draw in Toronto

On the back of points unusually lost at home, the New York Red Bulls traveled north of the border to Toronto, where a win could have guaranteed them top spot in the East by the end of the weekend and a spot in the MLS playoffs. It would be a heavy task against the current first-place team in the Eastern Conference, Toronto FC, but they were without star striker Sebastian Giovinco. The two teams brought to the game on form goalscorers, as Toronto’s Jozy Altidore scored eight in his last 11 games for club and country, while Bradley Wright-Phillips had nine in his last eight for New York. What came was a match that fluctuated in momentum, a smattering of goals, and piled on the drama.

Coming into the match, Jesse Marsch took Gonzalo Verón out of the lineup as Alex Muyl returned from suspension. Meanwhile, Daniel Royer stayed in after an impressive match against DC United, sending Mike Grella to the bench. The early match was dominated by New York, and the away side were almost up within ten minutes. After the ball ricocheted off Royer’s ear, it bounced to Wright-Phillips, who got close to goal, but squandered the chance. The Red Bulls, though, would not have to wait much longer for a goal.

A minute later, Felipe sent a ball to the goal line, which was full of Toronto and New York players. It looked as if Royer got the final touch on it at first, but it was actually Toronto defender Steven Beitashour, who sent the ball into his own net in an attempt to clear it.

Toronto’s retaliation attempts came quickly, with one in the 17th minute, when a Jonathan Osorio shot found itself just inches wide of the goal. Six minutes later, it was the on-fire Altidore who threatened to equalize, but last ditch defending kept the ball out of the back of the net. In the 25th minute, Toronto again threatened the New York goal, but was cleared out.

Momentum shifted the Red Bulls’ way, first through a clever pass made by Sacha Kljestan that found Wright-Phillips, who faced Alex Bono into making a save. Finally, New York came up with a second goal, through none other than Wright-Phillips. Bono, restarting play, rolled the ball out to Eriq Zavaleta, when Royer applied pressure on him. Zavaleta eventually surrendered and fell over, allowing Wright-Phillips to charge toward the penalty area and grab his 19th goal of the season.

A response came from Toronto just four minutes before halftime. Two minutes after a golden Wright-Phillips opportunity fell wide of the target, Toronto captain Michael Bradley carved out space for himself and got a goal back for the home team. The half ended with New York holding a 2-1 advantage, placed in the unique position of a lead being cut in half with 45 minutes to play instead of less than ten.

Two minutes after the break, the Red Bulls got the third goal Marsch promised in the halftime interview with Fox’s Julie Stewart-Binks. Kljestan sent the ball towards Wright-Phillips, on the edge of the penalty area. From there, the Englishman took the shot and found the back of the net, shattering another record in the process: the forward is now the only player in MLS history to have two seasons in which he scored at least 20 goals, combining with his record-equalling 27 goal season from 2014.

The Red Bulls, much like their many away matches of the year, had a two goal lead to defend. The Red Bulls, much like their many away matches of the year, had a problem defending that lead. Toronto shortened the lead in the 68th minute, when Toronto were awarded a freekick after a foul by Felipe. It was Altidore who took it, and fired it straight from the edge of the penalty area, bringing the scoreline to 3-2.

Shots were taken and missed by both teams, but New York stood in front come the late moments of the match. The Red Bulls eventually switched to a setup that allowed for five defenders in the back, much like they had in the away games prior, as Chris Duvall went to center back and substitute Sal Zizzo slotted in at right back. Yet, despite the more defensive tactic, the Red Bulls conceded one final time, and the game was all square. Toronto’s two Designated Players — Bradley and Altidore — combined for the equalizer, with Altidore matching Wright-Phillips’ brace with one of his own.

Criticism flew Marsch’s way after he switched to five in the back, a tactic that has often followed the Red Bulls conceding a lead. Despite that, Kljestan defended the choice of changing tactic. “I thought it was necessary because when they went with three in the back they had guys on both wings so we needed to be able to shut down those crosses otherwise they would have just kept putting balls in our box,” said Kljestan.

Kljestan, though, noted that the execution of the plan was possibly flawed. “The thing is when we go five at the back we need to keep playing; we need to continue to play at the back,” he said. “We can’t just sustain the pressure for 25 minutes, it’s too much work.” Kljestan concluded, “we can’t just boot the ball up the field and wait for them to ram it back at us. We need to sustain some pressure to tire them out and take the crowd out of it.”

New York return on home on Saturday, September 24, when they host the Montréal Impact.

The following two tabs change content below.
Pardeep is the New York Red Bulls Beat Writer for while also covering other soccer teams and events.
Click to comment

You must be logged in to post a comment Login

Leave a Reply

More in Soccer