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Bullies in Blue: Toronto FC fall to New York City FC

The blue side of New York came to town tonight, and they weren't looking to play nice. Ultimately, their vicious play gave them a 2-0 victory over the home side.

Martin Bazyl

New York City FC haven’t accomplished much so far in their inaugural season in Major League Soccer, but tonight they might have written the book on how to beat one of the league’s hottest teams.

NYCFC did little to endear themselves to Toronto supporters in the process, essentially bullying Toronto FC all night long. They hacked, tugged and pushed their way to victory, upsetting the home side enough to get them off their game.

The visiting side was content to make sure there was as little "beautiful" in this game as possible, and ultimately it gave them a 2-0 victory. They certainly deserve credit for the way that they handled this match, as villainous as it may have been.

"Everybody gets a chance to play 90 minutes, everybody is free to go about it how they want," explained Michael Bradley of New York’s style of play. "If we are good enough in what we [wanted] to do and sharp enough than I don’t think we are talking about that."

David Villa had both goals for New York, but neither of them were anything special. One was a tap in from short range off of some good work from Thomas McNamara, and the other was a controversial penalty just eight minutes into the match.

That call, which came after a ball made contact with Benoit Cheyrou’s hand, kicked off the rage for both Toronto players and supporters.

The referee didn’t make any major mistakes in the match, but it was a combination of poor little calls that ultimately enraged Toronto little by little.

"To me when 30,000 fans show up to a game it’s to watch a game move," said Greg Vanney. "To me it was allowed to stop and be choppy and be slowed down at every turn."

What truly cost Toronto FC this match, however, was not at all the refereeing, but how they dealt with each call. The team played angry in the second half, which meant they didn’t properly slow down their game and patiently pick New York apart.

When Toronto did this, during the last 25 minutes of the first half, it was the best stretch they played of the game. It may have even been one of the best bits of play they have ever put together.

After the game tensions boiled over even more. After exchanging jerseys with David Villa, Damien Perquis inexplicably ran across the field to confront a New York player. The jury is out as to whether he was angry at Ned Grabavoy, as NYFC staff have suggested, or Andrew Jacobson.

It took a while, and several Toronto teammates, to calm Perquis down. He appeared to take a swing at NYFC keeper Josh Saunders, although he may have just been trying to get away from his teammates grasp. Whether or not this incident results in discipline remains to be seen.

"Two guys get into an argument it is what it is, you separate them and you move on," said Vanney who doesn’t think there will be a suspension. "So that’s the way it is."

Either way, it is sure to be an incident watched around the league and one that will bring a smile to Toronto FC’s opponents. Unless cooler heads prevail, a couple of harsh tackles off the ball and Toronto completely lose their game. Look for more teams to give this strategy a go.

When Toronto weren’t dealing with New York’s pushing and shoving, they couldn’t beat Saunders in the New York net. The keeper made a couple of sensational saves and was the best player in the match without question as he kept Toronto from getting a much needed momentum boost.

Luckily for Toronto, they don’t have to wait long to put all of their pent up energy from the match into another endeavor: they play the Montreal Impact on Wednesday. For them, it couldn’t come at a better time to get their energy back.

"I love that we play again on Wednesday," said Vanney. "I hope this game pissed us off, it has me. Hopefully our team has a chip on its shoulder when it comes to Wednesday."