By: Cory Schulz
The New York Red Bulls continued to solidify their second place standing in the Eastern Conference Saturday by routing Toronto FC 4-1 at BMO Field under the watchful eye of a record breaking crowd of 22,108. The loss was Toronto’s first one of the year at home and ended their impressive 17-game home unbeaten streak (longest in club history). As a result the Reds are now eight points behind New York and a staggering eleven points behind the Columbus Crew.
While all eyes were fixated on the signing of highly touted French international Thierry Henry, it was the other designated player from Barcelona, Rafa Marquez, which started the Reds misfortune pulling the Red Bulls out to a 2-0 halftime lead.
Nick La Brocca nearly changed the course of the game with the first good attempt on goal when his shot from the top of the penalty area whizzed passed New York keeper Bouna Condoul but was unable to beat the woodwork in the 14th minute. In the 35th minute, New York showed the reds and their fans exactly how not to squander opportunities when Tony Tchani picked up a poor clearing effort and squared the ball to newly acquired half back Rafa Marquez, who unleashed a blistering shot from outside the area and leaving Toronto Goalkeeper Stefan Frei no chance as the ball careened into the top corner. Three minutes later the lead was doubled when Dan Gargan fouled New York midfielder Dane Richards at the edge of the box. The resulting free kick, taken by Marquez, swerved in front of the Toronto goal and after an unconvincing clearing attempt by Toronto’s central defender Nana Attakora, the ball struck Joseph Nane’s shin and bounced into Toronto’s goal.
The Second half gave the Reds some hope when Canadian stud Dwayne De Rosario added to his team leading scoring tally receiving a pass from O’Brian White in the 49th minute and slotting a tight angled shot through Condoul’s legs. Henry almost scored his first goal in a New York uniform in the 56th minute when he was able to dance around the defender and was one on one with Frei. Unfortunately his shot sailed high, earning him some infamous taunts from the South stands.
In the 60th minute Toronto’s misfortune’s went from bad to worse when Attakora was given his walking papers after receiving a red card for a hand ball in the box. The penalty shot was taken by New York’s captain and most reliable player in recent years, Juan Pablo Angel, and he did not disappoint, unleashing a menacing shot off the crossbar and in. Angel is now only one goal behind Los Angeles and US International Edson Buddle (13).
In the 74th minute former TFC defender of three years Carl Robinson replaced The Mexican designated player Marquez. Receiving a standing ovation for his dedication to the club, the former Reds defender got onto the score sheet four minutes later after heading in a well-weighted cross from Dane Richards.
After the game coach Preki was visibly distraught: “I don’t think one guy on the field was sharp, not one, from the first moment, We didn’t work hard enough up front today to create our bounces …
there were some quality balls there, (but) we were not brave in the
Toronto will not have too much time to dwell on this defeat as they head to Panama on Tuesday for their CONCACAF Champions League match against Araba Unido. They then face defending MLS Cup Champions Real Salt Lake at BMO Field on August 28th where they will look to continue their home field dominance.