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New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC | MLS Match Preview

RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
Oct. 11, 2014 (WEEK 31, MLS Game #299)
7 p.m. ET (UDN; MSG; TSN)

One of the biggest games of the entire season is ahead when the New York Red Bulls play host to Toronto FC on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls can ensure they will qualify for the MLS Cup Playoffs with a victory, following their 1-0 home win against the Houston Dynamo last weekend. Toronto FC must all but win out over their final three games as they chase the first postseason berth in club history, following their 1-0 loss to Houston at BMO Field at midweek.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. AR1 (bench): Paul Scott; AR2 (opposite): Bill Dittmar; 4th: Robert Sibiga
MLS Career: 117 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.5; R: 18; pens: 19

SUSPENDED: NY: Tim Cahill (through Oct. 19); Peguy Luyindula (through Oct. 12)
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Armando, Tim Cahill … TOR: Michael Bradley
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Thierry Henry, Luis Robles, Ibrahim Sekagya … TOR: Steven Caldwell, Jackson, Dominic Oduro, Warren Creavalle, Justin Morrow, Collen Warner, Gilberto
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NY: Tim Cahill (Australia, vs. United Arab Emirates, Oct. 10; vs. Qatar, Oct. 14); Roy Miller (Costa Rica, vs. Oman, Oct. 10; vs. South Korea, Oct. 14); Ambroise Oyongo (Cameroon, vs. Sierra Leone, Oct. 10, 15); Matt Miazga (U.S. U-23) ... TOR: Quillan Roberts, Doneil Henry, Kyle Bekker, Manuel Aparicio (Canada, vs. Colombia, Oct. 14)

ALL-TIME (20 meetings): Red Bulls 10 wins, 38 goals … Toronto FC 5 wins, 20 goals …Ties 5
AT NEW YORK (9 meetings): Red Bulls 7 wins, 25 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 6 goals … Ties 1

2014 (MLS):
5/17: TOR 2, NY 0 (Defoe 12; Moore 91+)
6/27: NY 2, TOR 2 (Luyindula 36; Wright-Phillips 93+ -- Defoe 55; Gilberto 72)

  • The teams are meeting for the third time this season. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored deep into second-half stoppage time to bring the Red Bulls back for a 2-2 draw June 27 at Red Bull Arena. Jermain Defoe and Luke Moore netted goals early and late as Toronto FC claimed a 2-0 win May 17 at BMO Field.
  • Toronto FC’s win in May snapped a 10-game winless streak against the Red Bulls, their first victory in the series since 2009.
  • The Red Bulls are undefeated at Red Bull Arena all-time vs. Toronto FC, with four wins and a draw (and a 14-3 goal differential). TFC’s only away win vs. New York came in 2008, a 3-1 win at Giants Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Greg Vanney vs. NY: first game … Mike Petke vs. TOR: P5 W2 L1 D2


  • The Red Bulls opened the scoring in the 36th minute. Fullback Ambroise Oyongo juked a defender on the left flank and floated in a cross to the back post where it was by a header from Peguy Luyindula to finish from six yards out past a diving Joe Bendik.
  • But TFC pulled ahead in the second half. In the 55th minute, Dominic Oduro drove a cross low to the near post where Jermain Defoe scored the equalizer with a beautiful one-touch finish past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
  • Then in the 72nd minute, from a free kick some 20 yards out from goal, Gilberto lashed home a drive over the wall for his first MLS goal -- though he did need to win an argument with Defoe over who would take it.
  • Yet the Red Bulls found some late magic. A long ball into the TFC penalty area was headed on by Tim Cahill, where Bradley Wright-Phillips was able to knock it home from point-blank range for the stoppage-time equalizer.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Jamison Olave, Matt Miazga, Ambroise Oyongo (Bobby Convey 86) - Lloyd Sam, Ibrahim Sekagya (Jonny Steele 66), Peguy Luyindula (Tim Cahill 78), Eric Alexander - Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow - Dominic Oduro (Gilberto 65 / Dwayne De Rosario 90), Jonathan Osorio, Collen Warner, Jackson - Luke Moore (Bradley Orr 81), Jermain Defoe.


The New York Red Bulls won their sixth game on the trot at Red Bull Arena, scoring the game’s only goal for a victory against the Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon. The Red Bulls are in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 44 points from 31 matches on the season.


  • The game's lone goal came the 47th minute. Lloyd Sam raced down the right flank and unleashed a low cross that Dynamo goalkeeper Tyler Deric got a hand, but the ball still continued across the face of goal. It dropped right into the path of Thierry Henry, and he had an easy tap-in finish into the empty goal.
  • The Red Bulls finished the game a man down when Tim Cahill -- just three minutes after coming on as an 85th-minute substitute, was sent off by referee Jair Marrufo for delivering a rough tackle on Dynamo winger Boniek Garcia.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made three changes to the team that fell 4-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Richard Eckersley and Armando came into the back four in place of Chris Duvall and the suspended Jamison Olave, and Lloyd Sam came into the team in place of Tim Cahill.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-2-3-1): Luis Robles - Richard Eckersley, Armando, Ibrahim Sekagya (Damien Perrinelle 88), Roy Miller - Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander (Tim Cahill 85; ejected 88) - Lloyd Sam, Peguy Luyindula, Thierry Henry (Ian Christianson 90) - Bradley Wright-Phillips.


  • The Red Bulls extended their home undefeated streak to nine games – matching the sixth-longest in club history – with the victory against Houston. Their road winless streak sits at seven games; the Red Bulls conclude a three-game homestand against Columbus next week, before finishing the season with a trip to Kansas City.
  • “Massive three points,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “We showed tremendous character with the guys we put out there and to get this result is huge.”
  • Thierry Henry scored the game’s lone goal, his 10th of the year, the fourth consecutive season he’s reached double figures in goals in MLS.
  • “We knew it was going to be difficult against them,” said Henry. “But we battled and then we scored when we needed to score – actually on a goal where maybe it didn’t look like it was going to be a goal right from the start, and we had other opportunities where we maybe should have done better.At the end of the day we won, and that’s the most important thing.”
  • Richard Eckersley made his first start since March 30, playing the full match at right back. He had made his first appearance since that time in the previous match at the LA Galaxy.
  • “Ecks was tremendous,” said Henry. “I don’t even know how many minutes he played all season. It’s not an easy ask to just train and sometimes know that you won’t be involved, but I have to give him credit, he’s been training hard every single time in training, and you could see that because he was actually fitter than everybody else. Joking apart, he was great, he had a good game.”
  • The Red Bulls will be forced into a change at left back for the Toronto FC match, as both Roy Miller and Ambroise Oyongo are both away on international duty. Only one other player has played left back since the start of July – Armando filled the role in the Sept. 13 contest vs. Philadelphia.
  • “It’s not ideal for us, obviously, but we can do any number of things,” said Petke. “We could put Kosuke [Kimura], we have Chris Duvall, we have [Richard] Eckersley, we could take a center back out there, we could play three in the back. We have options. … Yes, big losses, but at the end of the day, we’ve dealt with big losses many times this year and we need to come through it somehow.”
  • Said Armando: “It’s clear that it’s not a normal place for me, but that’s why I work hard every day. If that’s where the head coach wants to put me, I’m here and I’ll play wherever he wants me to. All I want is to play and if he tells me it’s there, then it’s there. Period.”
  • After playing the full match at the LA Galaxy, Tim Cahill came off the substitutes’ bench in the 85th minute – but was sent off three minutes later. Away on international duty, he will miss the Oct. 18 game vs. Columbus to suspension.
  • “To suggest that a player was not in the lineup because of an international call-up is both ridiculous and laughable. We had four games left, three now, that are huge,” said Petke. “To suggest that we would leave a player who we think could help us out because he’s going to the national team … the steam that this picked up the last 24 hours has been to me ridiculous and I put the selection process, as the coach, which the last time I checked I make the decisions and I’m allowed to make the decisions. The selection process for tonight’s game went as this: I wanted to put the 11 players out that I felt could get us a result and we got a result.”


Toronto FC suffered their second loss in as many outings, dropping a 1-0 decision to the Houston Dynamo on Wednesday evening at BMO Field. TFC sit in sixth place in the Eastern Conference, with 40 points from 31 matches.


  • The game's lone goal came in the 35th minute. Kofi Sarkodie picked out Giles Barnes with a long ball on the right side, and after Barnes escaped the challenge of defender Nick Hagglund and sent a low shot through TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik’s legs from a tight angle on the right side of the penalty area.
  • The home side had a glorious opportunity to level terms 10 minutes into the second half, when TFC striker Luke Moore was tugged down in the box by Dynamo center back A.J. Cochran. Referee Armando Villarreal whistled for a penalty kick and showed a red card to Cochran. Jermain Defoe took the resulting spot kick, but Dynamo 'keeper Tyler Deric dove to his right to stop the attempt.
  • TFC head coach Greg Vanney made three changes to the team that fell 3-0 to the LA Galaxy at StubHub Center. Mark Bloom came into the back four for Warren Creavalle, Jackson started in midfield in place of Daniel Lovitz, and Jermain Defoe came into the attack for Dominic Oduro.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Steven Caldwell, Nick Hagglund, Justin Morrow (Daniel Lovitz 91+) - Jackson (Dwayne De Rosario 80), Michael Bradley, Kyle Bekker (Dominic Oduro 65), Jonathan Osorio - Jermain Defoe, Luke Moore.


  • Toronto FC suffered their consecutive loss, following back-to-back wins and a three-game undefeated run overall. It was also their fourth loss in their last seven home matches, dating back to July 26.
  • “I thought from the team’s perspective, I thought everybody put everything in it to get the result. ... At the end of it we have to execute when we get into the box and get around the box,” said TFC head coach Greg Vanney. “I think we had enough opportunities. I asked the guys to lay it out there like it were their last game and I think we did. At the end of the day the game comes down to executing in the box and we just didn’t do that.”
  • TFC were also shut out at the attacking end for a second consecutive match, following back-to-back games where they scored three goals. They were shut out three games in a row once this season, Aug. 30-Sept. 6.
  • “The organization was good, the energy was good, and the willingness to step out and close down and get after them was good. I thought our football was good. The passing and movement in terms of creating opportunities was all there,” said Michael Bradley. “Obviously at times we could have been a bit sharper with the shot, with the cross, with the final pass, certainly that would have gone a long way. It was just one of those nights where unfortunately the ball does not want to go in.”
  • Jermain Defoe made his first start since Aug. 23 after suffering a groin injury, playing the full 90 minutes for the first time since July 16.
  • “I was pleased with him. I think the partnership between him and Luke (Moore) had some interesting moments with them combining off each other. One of the things we tried to do in the second half was to keep the right midfielder a little bit wider to try to open up that pocket a little bit more for the two of them,” Vanney said. “I think he’s going to have to get sharp – we know he hasn’t played a ton of games over the last two months and I think that’s unfortunately what got him a little bit in this match. Just sharpness in and around the goal. But I think overall his performance was good.  He showed that he is dangerous and that he’s getting back to form.”
  • Defoe had a penalty kick saved, his first unsuccessful attempt in four tries in his first MLS season. TFC have missed their last two penalties (also: Michael Bradley, July 19 vs. Houston).
  • With a defeat by the New York Red Bulls, Toronto FC would be on the verge of playoff elimination. They would be able to catch just one team – the Columbus Crew – in the standings. TFC have never qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs in their history.
  • “What we lost today was our margin of error for the rest of the season,” Vanney said. “We now have to go out and we have to win – that’s it. We had a slight margin of error coming into this game for the next four games but now we don’t have that. Now we have to pick up wins on the road in addition to the one home match we have against Montreal. For me, we’ve got to be almost perfect from here on out. If we play like tonight and we finish our chances, maybe that’s enough. But we need to be more clinical when we get our opportunities. We’ve got to be solid the rest of the way.”
  • Said Bradley: “There are three games left with nine points on the table. Take nine points and I’m pretty sure we’re going to be right there. I think taking seven points gives us a really good chance. Until somebody tells me that mathematically we are no longer in it every single guy in this locker room is still going to believe.”
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Season Stats

New York Red BullsToronto FC
31Games Played31
46Goals Conceded49
145Shots on Target141
359Fouls committed391
322Fouls suffered425

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