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Result and details of the Sunday November 5, 2017 MLS playoff game between Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls held at BMO Field in Toronto at 3:00pm. This was the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-Final.
Halftime Break…TFC RED card…Jozy Altidore earns his second Yellow card for incident in the hallway to the dressing room. NYRB RED card…Sacha Kljestan earns his second Yellow card for incident in the hallway to the dressing room. TFC YELLOW card…Michael Bradley earned it for argueing with the referee while on the field after the halftime whistle (now that one we could see).
54 min…NYRB Bradley Wright-Phillips GOAL…TFC Michael Bradley rolls pass forward from TFC 30 yard line but NYRB Aaron Long steps in front of TFC player at 45 yards and taps ball forward down middle to NYRB Daniel Royer who turns and fires low 35 yard shot around Michael Bradley at 30 yards and shot deflects off Wright-Phillips who was standing in front of TFC Drew Moor and Wright-Phillips lifted his leg at 22 yards and ball changes direction and bounces into right side of open net as goalie Alex Bono is planted on left side of net.
Final Score:…Toronto FC…0…New York Red Bulls…1…
(Two game aggregate ends 2-2 but Toronto advances on away-goal rule).
Attendance was announced as a sellout of 29974. Extra temporary stands had been erected in the north and south ends. The extra seats in the north end blocked out two small scoreboards in that end. The extra stands were covered in a canopy and looked like they had the luxury ammenities usually reserved for the boxed suites so the revenue was probable worth it for the team.
The game was played on a relatively mild afternoon (for November). The day was overcast and a hard rain fell for part of the game and my seventh row seat was well protected except for a few minutes when the wind changed direction.
Man of the Match (who is always a TFC player) was announced as Drew Moor. He had been injured in the first game of this series with an ankle twist and had to be sybbed off on the same play that he was called for a Penalty kick. He was listed as ‘questionable’ to play all week. He had a few key stops to break up NYRB plays. He made a flying header on the edge of the TFC box at 60 minutes preventing a potential tap-in and a poke away at 89 minutes. With no TFC goals scored today it would be between him and goalie Alex Bono.
TFC had two ‘goals’ called back during the game. At 77 minutes Giovinco chipped a ball across the box from 15 yards on the right over three NYRB players as he was falling backwards. NYRB Tyler Adams stepped in front of TFC Jonathan Osorio waiting at 6 yards on left post and chested it back to goalie who was guarding right post. Goalie Luis Robles got to ball after it was over the line and it dropped behind him. Contact between Adams and Osorio was minimal but the play had been called offside. At 90 minutes Giovinco had just won a freekick by being pushed over on the left end line just outside the box. Giovinco laid on his back to kill some time. TFC Victor Vazquez took a quick freekick from 15 yards that curled into the top corner of the net while Giovinco was still on his knees and referee Chris Penso called that play back as he hadn’t whistled in to restart the play.
While Altidore and Kljestan were ejected at halftime (we fans didn’t see the hallway scuffle), both had earned Yellow cards at 33 minutes. Giovinco had knocked over Tyler Adams from behind at the NYRB 40 yard line. Adams got up and stepped towards Giovinco but Altidore bearhugged Adams as players from both teams milled around. Players ended up dispersing except Altidore and the NYRB captain Kljestan who were argueing. Kljestan mimiced him with a chest out gesture and pushed Altidore who fell backwards as if hit by a truck.
NYRB were only one goal away from winning the series. A series saving save was made at 61 minutes by TFC goalie Alex Bono. NYRB Tyler Adams flicked a rolling ball with his back to the goal between two defenders at 22 yards that found Bradley Wright-Phillips in alone just inside the box and he stepped forward and shot a low 12 yarder up the middle that the charging goalie slid to make a point blank save at 10 yards and hung onto the ball.
Giovinco was given a Yellow card at 80 minutes which means he will miss the first game against Columbus in the Eastern Final. He was pushed from behind by NYRB Aaron Long on a run down the left wing at the 18 yard line. Tyler Adams got to loose ball and turned and ran upfield. Giovinco got up and chased the referee to complain about the non-call with wild arm gestures (for not the first time in this game). The referee turned towards him and gives him a card. Giovinco had picked up a Yellow card at 81 minutes in the first game in the series for time-wasting.
NYRB had no shots on net in the first half but their second half goal and Wright-Phillips chance as their only shots on target. They had won six cornerkicks in the first half. TFC only had one shot on net this game. That one was at 94 minutes when Vazquez inside the NYRB box after receiving a pass and a defender pushed him over but the loose ball found Giovinco able to shoot a low 12 yarder that the goalie caught.
NYRB players were smart enough to not give up any freekicks near the edge of the box which would have set up one of Giovinco’s highlight reel freekicks.
TFC wins the series and the player went to the south end to applaud their fans. NYRB players walked to the north east end to applaud their travelling fans in the balcony. The Depeche Mode song “Just Can’t Get Enough” was played as it is for each victory but no fireworks were blasted off. It was only the second time this year that TFC hasn’t won a home game.
TFC weren’t exactly playing conservatively but the wet conditions may have levelled the ablities between the teams as TFC often sent passes off target and over players heads. TFC were burned on a lot of offside calls.
We fans had an Entripy.com (a clothing company) “TFC 2017 Playoffs” flag waiting for us in our seats.
The game ball was delivered by former Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey captain Wendal Clark. During a break in the action the video board panned us a view of current Maple Leafs head coach Mike Babcock watching the game.
No MLS games are scheduled next weekend as there is a FIFA scheduled international break. The USA has a friendly game away against Portugal. Portugal has clinched a World Cup spot and the USA is out. (Altidore, Kljestan, and Michael Bradley played key roles on that team). Canada doesn’t play. From what I’ve read no TFC players are scheduled to play.
In today’s game, once again, no Canadians started. I thought TFC would keep their three listed Canadians on their eighteen out but on their third sub they brought on Jonathan Osorio at 65 minutes. Canadian forwards Tosaint Ricketts and Raheem Edwards stayed on the bench. When does the new Canadian Premier league start? The Giovinco and Altidore suspensions mean the team may have to use some of their Canadians. Usually if there are no injuries, TFC only starts making subs at the 65 minute mark.
A tunnel fight? I have been in that hallway before when I’ve had press accredition for Canadian national team games. I’d say it’s wider than the tunnel that fans have to cross to get to the other side of the railway tracks when leaving the CNE grounds. That has hundreds at a time trying to squash into the narrow exit with other fans banging on the metal sides of the walls on their way through and up a narrow staircase on the other side. However today I had a potentially worse experience. The Royal Winter Fair (admission price $27.50 yikes) was being held in some of the buildings on the fair ground and the street between the building and the streetcar stop was fenced off to maybe restrict departing fans from scaring the horses. There were more than a thousand of us making our way to the streetcar terminal penned in by the fencing to a width of one sidewalk tile and the line stopped moving. An authority from the other side of the fence came down the line and told us that the passage only led to the streetcar stop and not an exit to the street. That prompted half the line to turn around and start walking in the other direction and past us. (and through the tunnel under the train tracks to get out?) Yep it would only take some yahoo to yell “Fire, Run” and we’d be making the headlines for the trampled fans not the soccer teams.
TFC’s next home game was announced as Tuesday November 29 but no time was given (7:30pm I know now). It will be the second leg of the Eastern Conference Final against Columbus (the Columbus vs New York City FC game hadn’t got started). I expect the weather will be a lot colder than today. Once I got home their was an e-mail invoice waiting for me with details and a bill.