Nothing has ever come easy for Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena. After an opening half in which the reds did everything right but find the back of the net, that lack of a final product would cost them in a 2-0 loss to the New York Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls regrouped and found the back of the net through a Chris Mavinga own goal orchestrated by Kaku. Kemar Lawrence would add a late goal, with Toronto FC down to 10-men
Toronto had a chance to move as high as fourth in the Eastern Conference with a win, but instead remain outside of the playoffs with only a few months left to go in the season.
From the opening kick it was clear Toronto FC were going to be on the front foot for most of the first half. The traditionally aggressive New York Red Bulls looked timid early on as they were content to sit back and clog up the central midfield.
This led to a number of opportunities for TFC. The reds were particularly lethal down the flanks, where Jacob Shaffleburg had the better of Red Bulls debutant Rece Buckmaster. Auro also had some joy down the right, creating one of Toronto’s best chances of the half with a low driven cross that Alejandro Pozuelo sent over the bar.
Pozuelo came close again late in the half as he collected the ball at the top of the box and beat several Red Bulls defenders before striking the ball off the post. Luis Robles came up big moments later after Pozuelo found Jozy Altidore over the top, who squared for Shaffleburg who was robbed by the Red Bulls’ veteran keeper.
Jozy Altidore did actually find the back of the net in the opening 45 with a brilliant chip, but it was correctly ruled offside. That lack of conversion was the only downside in what was an otherwise stellar road half from the reds.
The Red Bulls, however, were far better at pressing to start the second half, and as a result caused Toronto FC some issues. They nearly found the opener in the 52nd minute when Daniel Royer deflected a ball just wide of Quentin Westberg’s post.
That opening goal came just moments later. Some brilliant soccer from Kaku resulted in the goal as his shot deflected off Chris Mavinga after the Red Bulls’ star had initially dashed through Omar Gonzalez and Justin Morrow.
New York had a glorious opportunity to double that lead moments later when Jonathan Osorio conceded a very unnecessary penalty. However, Royer, who had scored his last eight penalties inexplicably fired over the net.
With Toronto FC struggling, Greg Vanney decided to roll the dice and bring on debutant Nicolas Benezet. The Frenchman made an instant impact, showing his clear skill on the ball and what he could potentially bring to the team going forward.
It was not enough, however. To add insult to injury when Justin Morrow was sent off for tugging back Bradley Wright-Phillips as the last man in the dying moments. Lawrence would then add the final killing blow when he picked up the scraps of a Kaku cross and beating Westberg.