Toronto Conquers New York

Toronto FC gain three crucial points in a 2-1 victory over the Red Bulls.
TORONTO, Canada—Both Major League Soccer clubs entered this match desperate for a win. The Reds were 1-3-1 in their last five and New York came into this match losing their last five while sitting in last place in the Eastern Conference. TFC held serve at home, however, winning 2-1.

First Half

Toronto started the match in an uncustomary 3-4-3 formation, hoping to take it hard to the Red Bulls which paid off very early.

It seemed to pay off, as Toronto was awarded a penalty in the 3rd minute after a handball by New York midfielder Albert Celades.

Amado Guevara lined up to take it, yet New York goalkeeper Danny Cepero made the save, but then TFC's Sam Cronin smashed the rebound home, 1-0 Toronto.

“Yeah, it was good, felt great,” commented the goal-scorer on his first MLS goal.

After a little past quarter of an hour, Toronto defender Adrian Serioux sprung Kevin Harmse on a run down the left side and he made his way into the Red Bulls box with a shot on goal, but Cepero made another save.

Shortly after the half hour,  Toronto had an another opportunity to increase their lead as Guevara lobbed in a free-kick, finding the head of Danny Dichio, but Cepero made a wonderful acrobatic save to tip the ball the over the bar.

In the 36th minute, Juan Pablo Angel looked to equalize as he swept past Garcia along the right side and took a hard shot on goal, but TFC goalkeeper Stefen Frei batted the ball out.

Celades had another opportunity to equalize for the Red Bulls as he sliced through the Toronto defense but Serioux recovered well and deflected his shot wide by a toe’s length.

Toronto extended their lead two minutes before the half as Pablo Vitti streaked in on the New York goal with a lovely pass by Guevara, but his shot was saved by Cepero and Dichio followed up the rebound placing it into the open goal, 2-0 at the half.

“We’ve dug in, trying to pull out a win,” said Toronto coach Chris Cummins.

Second Half

New York came out with purpose in the second forty-five, putting the Reds on edge.

In the 52nd minute, Serioux recklessly lost the ball to Nick Zimmerman, setting in motion a flurry of three shots in succession, but Toronto managed to fend off the attack.

However, two minutes later New York cut the lead in half as Celades made a lovely move around Toronto’s defense and struck the ball into the short corner off Frei’s hand, 2-1.

“It was important to score early in the half to keep us in the game,” said the goal-scorer.

Toronto came right back with an opportunity to regain a two-goal lead as Dichio went up for yet another header, but it missed the far post.

“I think we need to put more in the back of the net, me included” he said of the missed opportunity.

As the half progressed, Toronto regained control over the match. 

They made the first substitution in the 64th entering defender Marco Velez for Amado Guevara, placing him in the right back position and pushing Cronin into central midfield changing to a 4-4-2 formation.

“I was looking to shore up more in the middle with putting Sam in the middle there,” commented coach Cummins in the tactical change.

Harmse, who had a stellar match, had a lovely opportunity to increase the lead from a little over 20 yards out, shortly after the substitution as he strode in front of New York’s large box and struck a hard left-footed shot, which was saved by Cepero. 

Off the ensuing corner Serioux had a go from 30 yards out and his shot was also pushed over the bar by the Red Bulls’ goalkeeper. Despite New York’s late push to equalize, Toronto held on for the victory. 

Newly acquired veteran defender Nick Garcia looked very comfortable in the Toronto back line.  He said, “I think I brought my personality” and team captain Carl Robinson said, “Nicky was great. He brings a solid presence.”

Toronto move to 19 points on the season and fourth in the east improving their record to 5-5-4 while New York remain at nine points with a 2-10-3 record.

Rashed Abuodeh is a contributor to
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