Rocket Robin Report: Toronto FC vs New York Red Bulls

Editor’s Note: As Robin’s articles are originally published elsewhere and merely reprinted here, they are presented unedited. They are merely reformatted to improve the way they display on our site. NSXI takes no ownership or responsibility for the content, spelling, grammar or the opinions expressed below. 

Result of the Saturday September 30, 2017 MLS game between Toronto FC and New York Red Bulls played at BMO Field in Toronto at 7:00pm.

TFC Justin Morrow gaining control of the ball.  Photo by Robin Glover.
TFC Justin Morrow gaining control of the ball. Photo by Robin Glover.

31 min…TFC Justin Morrow GOAL…TFC Victor Vazquez intercepts pass from NYRB Gonzalo Veron  and eludes sliding check by that player at 40 yard line on right and runs forward to 30 yard  line and crosses over to left side of box where TFC Jozy Altidore runs forward and heads ball down at 8 yard line on left and ball bounces across box for charging TFC Tosaint Ricketts but retreating defender NYRB Aaron Long gets back to raise leg and tip ball which hits back and arm of Ricketts at two yards and deflects back out. Morrow following up charges forward shoots from 6 yards in middle over to right corner of net with goalie Luis Robles stuck in middle of net. (The goal survives a ‘Video Assisted Review’ replay letting fans cheer twice).

36 min…TFC Justin Morrow GOAL…TFC Michael Bradley take quick freekick from 35 yard line on right over to TFC Justin Morrow at 10 yard line wide left of box. He tips ball back to TFC Chris Mavinga at 25 yard line on left who sends high cross over to 8 yards on right side of box and defender heads away before TFC Tosaint Ricketts can get it. Ball bounces forward and charging TFC Marky Delgado heads ball downward from edge of box and TFC Victor Vazquez taps ball back outside of box for Morrow at 20 yards on left who rolls centering ball forward to Ricketts at 12 yards with back to goal. Ricketts steps through defenders but running away from net and taps pass to Bradley who from 18 yards steps forward and he shoots but ball is partially blocked and rolls forward to NYRB Tyler Adams at 9 yards in middle who gets foot to it but directs it towards goal. Morrow steps past him to get to ball and shoots low 6 yarder down middle into left side of net with goalie doing splits at 4 yards in center of net.

38 min…NYRB Gonzalo Veron GOAL…NYRB Tyler Adams receives pass on left side at center line and runs down wing and rolls pass from 40 yard line forward and centered beyond lunge of TFC Michael Bradley. NYRB Daniel Royer receives pass at 35 yard line in middle and runs to 30 yard line and threads through ball pass to Veron forward and to left. Veron running on left gets to pass at 10 yards on left and rolls ball into right corner of net with sprawling goalie Alex Bono on edge of 6 yard box.

75 min…NYRB Tyler Adams at 25 yards on right rolls ball forward and NYRB Gozalo Veron receives pass at 10 yard line on right side of box and sliding TFC Drew Moor trips him up at 6 yards.  Referee Allen Chapman calls a Penalty kick.

TFC players posing for photos after their win. Photo by Robin Glover.
TFC players posing for photos after their win. Photo by Robin Glover.

76 min…TFC Daniel Royer GOAL…Royer chips Penalty kick high to center left side of net
as goalie dives right.

78 min…TFC Justin Morrow at 28 yard line on left rolls pass between two NYRB players to find TFC Jozy Altidore running forward to 10 yards on left with NYRB Aaron Long holding his jersey.  Altidore turns and dribbles across box with Long still holding on but this time with two hands on his shoulder. Altidore gets away 8 yard shot as he’s being dragged down and ball sails wide right of net. Referee calls Penalty kick.

79 min…TFC Victor Vazquez GOAL…Vazquez shoots rolls Penalty kick into right corner of net as goalie dives left.

90 min…TFC Justin Morrow GOAL…TFC Jozy Altidore at 35 yard line in middle rolls pass over to TFC Marky Delgado at 30 yards on right and he rolls ball forward to charging Altidore at 10 yards and he steps forward and shoots 8 yarder over sliding goalie at top corner of 6 yard box and ball bounces wide but charging Morrow at 3 yard wide of left post slides and connects to direct ball into right corner of empty net.

Final Score:….Toronto FC…..4…..New York Red Bulls…..2….

Attendance was announced as another sellout of 28979. People were heading for the exits by the 80 minute mark. Were they new fans? TFC has never had a record this good in previous seasons, never finished first, and only their third year making the playoffs after eight years of failing to qualify.

Man of the Match (who is always a TFC player) was announced as Justin Morrow who with his three goals was an obvious choice. Media reports say he is only the second defender to score three goals in a game however to me he was on the wing and didn’t play defence with Eriq Zavaleta, Drew Moor, and Chris Mavinga being the three man backline. Morrow blasted his Penalty kick off the bar on TFC’s sixth shot in the MLS Final last year giving Seattle a chance to score and convert and win the Cup for 2016 so to win tonight and clinch the Shield with a dominating performance must be sweet.

TFC clinches the Supporters’ Shield (first place team overall in the Eastern and Western Conference) for the first time. There was a few ways they could win the Shield tonight based on the results of other teams but they controlled their own destiny. Vancouver had lost on Wednesday so no one in the West could win it. Atlanta only tied tonight so they lost their chance and New York City only got a tie so the same situation for them.

So it turns out they would have won tonight based on other results but this is a very positive way to win it on their own which should increase their confidence even more. They also snap a two game loss streak which they hadn’t had since early last season.

The players celebrated in the north end for a brief minute as that’s where the game ended (where they were defending). They soon drifted to the south end where a sign board was carried out that said ‘TFC 2017 MLS Supporter’s Shield Champions’. The players played the supporters drum in another Viking chant. Hmmm “the fans who pay the least…” I said to my seatmate as we in the East side were ignored as usual. I did convince them to stay for the presentation of the Shield (never happened as then we heard the announcement). With fans in my section bailing out, it was easy to understand why we were ignored.

It was announced the Shield will be presented pre game at the next home game against Montreal October 15–their final home game of the regular season.

Tosaint Ricketts was the only Canadian starter in the game. He was replaced by Canadian Jonathan Osorio at 74 minutes. “It must be the new ‘one Canadian’ on the field maximum rule recently activated” I said to my seatmate which I thought he felt was the truth until I admitted I was kidding.

Sebastian Giovinco was the only TFC player not available. Jozy Altidore who had missed the last few games was a starter and played the entire game (he is often replaced by Ricketts late in games). Injured players Steven Beitashour (72 minutes) and Benoit Cheyrou got into the game (89 minutes) I’ll assume partly as a reward for their long recovery.

I’m not sure why Red Bulls left their leading scorer (Bradley Wright-Phillips) and US Men’s National team player Sacha Kljestan on the bench to start the game except for what I’ve heard was a brutal schedule of midweek MLS and US Open Cup games over the last month.  It looked like it was almost going to work when NYRB tied the game at 76 minutes with a fresh Wright-Phillips and Kljestan on the field but the lead didn’t last more than three minutes.

The two side traded Penalty kicks at 76 and 79 minutes with the second one allowing TFC to retake the lead. Other than that, referee Alan Chapman gave out one Yellow card to each team. NYRB goalie/captain Luis Robles drew one at 50 minutes for running over the center line to check on an injury to Tyler Adams and it was considered dissent. Jozy Altidore drew one at 81 minutes when he crashed into Aaron Long, injuring him. This Yellow means Altidore will miss the next game through card accumulation.

The Red Bulls NOT winning keeps them in sixth place in the East and ends up keeping *four teams behind them still in the race for the final playoff spot which they occupy. [*now that all the weekend results are known.]

As I got to the game early, I was given a red bucket hat sponsored by Sonnet Insurance. There haven’t been a lot of giveaways this year. It was for the first 15000 fans (about half of us). The last game the announcer said 1500 before correcting himself. Some fans threw their hats onto the field after TFC goals but they didn’t travel far. After the last TFC goal a few made it to the sideline but weren’t even cleared from the field by groundscrew nor ball kids. I’ve got a big skull but the hat did fit thanks to me getting a haircut earlier in the week. I’ll look forward to the next game when the first 10000 will be given a toque by sponsor KIA Motors.

Getting away from the stadium was a problem again this game. The early leavers took all the streetcars. I waited for the Harbourfront streetcar and the first one I couldn’t get into.  After four Bathurst buses/streetcars including one only two-thirds full, I changed lines to get on a bus to get moving. The bus couldn’t use the special streetcar passageway so turned into the street and bumper to bumper traffic. One hour after the game I was only six blocks away from the stadium! The owner of TFC ie MLSE had an NHL game scheduled between their hockey team Toronto Maple Leafs against Detroit at Ricoh Coliseum right beside BMO Field. I can only believe they played here (where their AHL farm team the Marlies play) rather than the larger Air Canada Centre because they were holding the closing ceremonies of the Invictus Games there. Thankfully the baseball season is over–or at least out of town, but it was still standing room only on the subway. It was the Nuit Blanche festival tonight so that may explain part of the crowd
getting away from the downtown.

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Robin Glover

Robin Glover

Robin has been writing about soccer in the Toronto area for message boards and his own website since the early 1990s in the days of 2400 baud modems to USENET sites. In the 2014 season he attended 76 games in various leagues that played in the GTA area. Follow Robin on Twitter and on his website

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