Red Bulls cruise past TFC to grab sole possession of first place in East

ThierryHenryRedBulls3-TFC2013 (USATodaySports)

By DAN KARELL

Despite a mostly uninspiring performance against lowly Toronto FC, the New York Red Bulls showed that they could still take care of business when expected to.

With goals on either side of halftime from Thierry Henry and substitute Fabian Espindola, the Red Bulls topped TFC, 2-0, on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena, going top of the Eastern Conference in the process. The victory was the Red Bulls’ tenth in a row against TFC.

Making his first professional start in place of Red Bulls midfielder Lloyd Sam, Michael Bustamante overcame a nervous opening to help set up the game-winning goal. In the 32nd minute, the former Boston University Terrier found teammate Dax McCarty in the box, who centered to a wide-open Henry to tap home.

The goal didn’t end the Red Bulls’ stagnant offensive play, as they were clearly missing the leadership of the injured Tim Cahill and playmaking ability as well as speed from Sam in the midfield. TFC’s Alvaro Rey and Jonathan Osorio looked bright for much of the game, but it was a decision by Osorio that seemed to wake the Red Bulls up.

The Canadian international slammed a clearance off the head of Red Bulls defender Kosuke Kimura while he was prone and on the ground in the 78th minute, starting a brief melee between players on the two teams.

Just two minutes later, Espindola, with his first touch of the ball, sent a looping header over the head of TFC goalkeeper Joe Bendik and across the line for the host’s second goal of the night.

Due to the Montreal Impact’s 2-1 loss to the Columbus Crew earlier on Saturday,  the Red Bulls moved into sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference standings with the win. Moving three above the Impact and Sporting Kansas City, who have two games in hand and had the weekend off.

Here are the match highlights:

This entry was posted in Featured, Major League Soccer, MLS- New York Red Bulls, MLS- Toronto FC. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Red Bulls cruise past TFC to grab sole possession of first place in East

  1. Tim F. says:

    Toronto played well, kept the Red Bulls on their heels for a good part of the game; they just need a couple forwards that are real threats (I believe one starting forward was unavailable for the night).

    I am glad New York could score a goal in each half and get the win for New York. Surprised the entry of Espinolas did not happen 20 minutes earlier.

  2. Smith says:

    RBNY was without Cahill and Sam and still won easily. Toronto is just a terrible team.

    • Marc Toulouse says:

      How to spot somebody who didn’t watch the game.

      • Smith says:

        No, Marc. Toronto looked terrible. They had opportunities but they couldn’t convert. They can’t finish, ar a mess and a poor excuse of a franchise. That covers it

        • Smith says:

          Further, without Sam & Cahill, the RBNY midfield was pedestrian at best & awful TFC still couldn’t pull it out. Toronto is horrendous & a disgrace to both MLS & Canada. If we had relegation/promotion in MLS, right about now they’d be losing to U-7 five a side teams.

          • Marc T says:

            Right, that’s why the other comments are talking about an ugly win, lack of creativity and the like.

            But I really don’t need to fight with a useless battle, I don’t care if you watch a game as a neutral or not. You just lose respect from those that do.

            Please, keep talking.

  3. Scott A says:

    Not terribly surprised, or thrilled, about the shortage of energy and ideas with both Cahill and Sam out, but I’m more impressed by their ability to grind out an ugly win than I am disappointed by that ugliness.

  4. Sabella says:

    I think the story of this game was Michael Bustamante. I don’t think Ives is giving this kid enough credit for his class performance. He demonstrated tremendous calm on the ball, excellent technical ability and distribution. By my count, he gave up the ball only once or twice the entire evening. His passing was precise and as a result, he started the first goal.

    With more games and confidence, he has the potential to be more of an offensive threat.

    All in all, a mature performance from his first start.

    • slowleftarm says:

      I agree. I thought Bustamante was excellent. Looked calm and comfortable on the ball and made good decisions. He also played the key ball in the move that led to Henry’s goal. I hope he plays again next week if Cahill is unavailable. Hopefully Lloyd will be back soon.

  5. allegre says:

    Without speed on the wing RBNY can only win ugly. Alexander is serviceable and comes back to defend, but he will never stretch a defense. The result is a “small field” where it is easy for the opposing teams to play compact. When Sam is in things are quite different.

    • MetrofanNo1 says:

      I agree. I think there was only once where he attempted to take a man on the wing. No overlapping play at all with him and Kimura last night. Pretty much everything came down the left side or center. I hope Petke goes with Sam when he’s back healthy.

  6. Brain Guy says:

    RBNY do need more speed. But when Sam, Cahill, and Miller get healthy, with Wright-Phillips paired with Henry, I’d like their chances against anybody. Circle the Seattle game on your calendars. That will go a long way toward showing whether RBNY are true contenders for the Cup.

  7. Pingback: Crew stun Impact with comeback victory at Stade Saputo | Soccer By Ives

  8. Mike says:

    We need to beat crap teams on the road, I mean if we did that all season we would have 4 or 5 more wins. I agree that Seattle will be a great road test and we also have to go back to Houston. It’s about peaking at the right time in MLS (as evident with SKC collapse last playoff), so once everyone is healthy I really like our chances.

    • Charles says:

      When you say you like OUR chances, you are a Sounder’s fan I hope.

      ps. the peaking at the right time is sooo over blown in my opinion. Did Salt Lake peak at the right time when they won MLS Cup, or did they win the big games, and thus win more games than any other team that year ?

      • Mike says:

        Winning the big games is peaking, so putting together a streak for better seeding at seasons end is what I’m talking about. We can talk in 2 weeks to discuss the Sounders.

  9. The Squad says:

    Excellent goal by Espindola….

    Great example of a game where both grind and result are paramount

    Things pretty much broke down early

    Unsure whether it was TFC’s tactics or simply a lack of sharpness by RBNY..

    Both RBNY and TFC have played good football recently.

    The Petke regime has dealt well with player injury and urgency issues

    Agree with the thought that Bustamante showed well

    He, Neagle and few other guys represent the future of the league..