Late Collapse Dooms Red Bulls as Toronto Clinches Shield

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Red Bulls logoThe New York Red Bulls suffered their third loss in four games and extended their winless streak to nine Saturday night, beaten by Toronto FC, 4-2, on three goals by Justin Morrow and an 80th-minute penalty kick by Victor Vazquez.

Vasquez converted the penalty to give Toronto a 3-2 lead after Aaron Long hauled down Jozy Altidore as the U.S. national team striker twisted and attempted to get off a right-footed shot. It came after Daniel Royer equalized three minutes earlier to complete the Red Bulls’ rally from a two-goal, first-half deficit.

The win clinched Toronto FC’s first Supporters’ Shield trophy in the history of the club, which failed to qualify for the Major League Soccer playoffs its first eight seasons and didn’t get to the postseason until 2015 – beating the Red Bulls to do so.

The win gave Toronto (19-5-8) 65 points and put it within three points of equaling the Los Angeles Galaxy’s record set in the 1998 season.

Royer, making his first start since Aug. 6, appeared to make the Red Bulls only the third team since April to earn a point in Toronto when he converted the penalty after Drew Moor’s slide-tackle trip of Gonzalo Verón.

The Red Bulls had dominated the second half to that point, including earning four corners between the 70th and 72nd minutes.

But Vazquez returned the favor and Morrow completed a three-goal game in the first minute of injury time, volleying a low rolling cross from Altidore at the left post.

Both sides started without key personnel, including both teams’ leading scorers. Toronto was without Sebastian Giovinco for a fourth straight match because of a quadriceps strain while New York – playing its fifth game in 13 days — started with Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan on the bench.

After the two teams managed only one chance each in the first half hour, they combined for three goals in less than seven minutes.

Morrow was the beneficiary of several fortuitous bounces to score twice in five minutes and give Toronto a 2-0 lead.

A header by Altidore into the middle of the area was tipped by Long and then bounced off Tossaint Ricketts’ knee as he raced through the penalty area. TV replays clearly showed it hitting Ricketts’ hand next and then off goalkeeper Luis Robles before falling at the feet of Morrow, who easily right-footed into the right side of the net in the 32nd minute.

Referee Alan Chapman checked the video replay but chose not to void the goal.

Morrow added a second goal in the 37th, again by being in the right place at the right time. Ricketts received the ball in the area and sent it back to Michael Bradley, whose right-footed shot deflected off Sal Zizzo, then the outstretched foot of Tyler Adams, to Morrow, who beat this time Robles to his right.

It took fewer than two minutes for New York to respond. New York countered out of midfield with Royer sprinting down the left and then centering the ball to Adams.

Adams, who scored his first two MLS goals on Wednesday, played a perfect ball to a darting Verón, who one-timed a low ball inside the right post for his third goal in three games.

The Red Bulls (12-12-7) remained with 43 points, in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and holding on to the last playoff berth.

Eighth-place Orlando was held to a 0-0 draw at home by FC Dallas earlier Saturday to climb within four points, while Montreal, in seventh with 39 points, played at Colorado later Saturday.