Red Bulls close in on postseason with win over Toronto

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls continued their run as one of the hottest teams in Major League Soccer with a dominating 3-1 victory over Toronto FC.

“Massive result,” Red Bulls boss Mike Petke said after the match. “Starting with Houston [Dynamo] last weekend, we’re taking every game as a playoff game and that includes Columbus [Crew] next weekend.

“Overall I’m very happy with the result, obviously.”

Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his league-leading 25th goal of the season, putting him two goals shy of tying the MLS all-time single-season goal scoring record with two games left to play. Teammates Dax McCarty and Ruben Bover rounded out scoring, with Toronto managing a single goal from the foot of Jonathan Osorio.

With the win, New York can automatically clinch the playoffs if the struggling Houston Dynamo manage to drop their match to DC United this Sunday.

Spot starter Kosuke Kimura made a major impact on the left hand side leading to New York’s first goal. The Japanese defender found space and let loose a cross into the box, finding Wright-Phillips for the first goal of the match just 27 minutes into the encounter. Wright-Phillips now chases that same number 27 as he looks to match — or surpass — Roy Lassiter and Chris Wondolowski for the league record.

Minutes later, another bench player made an impact. This time, it was Ruben Bover finding the back of the net. A Thierry Henry shot on net was redirected by Toronto keeper Joe Bendik. Bover followed the ball and slammed it home to double New York’s lead just eight minutes after the opening goal.

“It feels amazing,” Bover said. “I’ve been waiting since I’ve come here to score a goal and today my parents were here too, so it felt like really important for me so I’m really happy.”

A minute shy of the half, McCarty redirected a Wright-Phillips shot into the back of the net to give New York a comfortable 3-0 lead heading into the locker room.

Toronto entered the second half with a bit more drive than the first, leading to Osorio’s goal in the 55th minute. A series of surgical passes in the box exposed New York’s back line, with Osorio applying the finisher.

Unfortunately for the flailing Canadians, that was as close as they would come to a comeback. Ever the cursed franchise, Toronto suffered an unforgiving red card as defender Nick Hagglund led with his elbow and caught defender Armando on the head inadvertently while jockeying for the ball.

Toronto are once again on the outside looking in as far as playoff contention goes. Meanwhile, New York can not only clinch their spot Sunday, but depending on results, can still be mathematically considered a contender for the Eastern Conference title.

“Tomorrow is out of our hands what happens with Houston, but it would obviously be great if we know we are in the playoffs tomorrow and then we know exactly what we’re fighting for, which is a place,” Petke said.

The Red Bulls round out their home stand with a match against Columbus at Red Bull Arena next week.

New York Red Bulls 3, Toronto FC 1
October 11, 2014
MLS Regular Season
Red Bull Arena, Harrison, NJ 

Scoring Summary:

NY: Bradley Wright-Phillips 25 (Kosuke Kimura 3, Thierry Henry 14) 26′

NY: Ruben Bover 1 (unassisted) 35′

NY: Dax McCarty 3 (Bradley Wright-Phillips 2, Lloyd Sam 9) 44′

TOR: Jonathan Osorio 3 (Justin Morrow 3, Michael Bradley 4) 55′

 

Disciplinary Summary:

NY: Richard Eckersley (caution) 15′

TOR: Warren Creavalle (caution) 33′

NY: Eric Alexander (caution) 79′

TOR: Nick Hagglund (ejection) 86′

TOR: Michael Bradley (caution) 89′

NY: Jamison Olave (caution) 94+’

 

New York Red Bulls (12-9-11, 47 pts.): Luis Robles, Richard Eckersley, Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya (Armando 46+), Kosuke Kimura, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander, Lloyd Sam, Thierry Henry, Ruben Bover (Marius Obekop 58′), Bradley Wright-Phillips (Ian Christianson 88′)
Substitutes not used: Ryan Meara, Damien Perrinelle, Chris Duvall, Saer Sene

Toronto FC (11-14-7, 40 pts.): Joe Bendik, Warren Creavalle (Dwayne De Rosario 83′), Justin Morrow, Nick Hagglund, Steven Caldwell, Jackson (Gilberto 46′), Michael Bradley, Jonathan Osorio, Kyle Bekker (Dominic Oduro 46′), Luke Moore, Jermain Defoe
Substitutes not used: Chris Konopka, Mark Bloom, Brad Orr, Collen Warner

Referee: Hilario Grajeda
Referee’s Assistants: Paul Scott, Bill Dittmar

4th Referee: Robert Sibiga
Attendance: 24,068