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Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls | MLS match preview

TORONTO FC vs NEW YORK RED BULLS

BMO FIELD, Toronto, Ont.

April 27, 2013 (WEEK 9, MLS Game #71)
2 p.m. ET (TSN/RDS; MSG)

Toronto FC will put what’s become a long undefeated streak on the line when they play host to the New York Red Bulls on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC have played to four consecutive draws in MLS play, last a 1-1 home result with Houston, and at midweek defeated Montréal in their Canadian Championship opener. The Red Bulls broke out in a big way in their last contest, a 4-1 home win against the New England Revolution.

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REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. AR1 (bench): Daniel Belleau; AR2 (opposite): Eric Boria; 4th: Geoff Gamble
MLS Career: 92 games; FC/gm: 25.1; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 28; pens: 24

DISABLED LIST: none
SUSPENDED: NY: Juninho (through April 28)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (13 meetings): Toronto FC 4 wins, 15 goals … Red Bulls 8 wins, 32 goals … Ties 3
AT TORONTO (6 meetings): Toronto FC 3 wins, 11 goals … Red Bulls 2 wins, 11 goals … Ties 3
RETURN MATCHES: 7/20: Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 4 p.m. ET; 9/14: New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m. ET (TSN2, RDS)

LAST YEAR (MLS):
6/30: TOR 1, NY 1 (Koevermans 6 – Solli 4)
9/29: NY 4, TOR 1 (Holgersson 13; Cooper 27, 88; Henry 93+ -- Johnson 6)

  • The Red Bulls have a seven-game undefeated streak alive (5-0-2) vs. Toronto FC, dating back to June 24, 2009, a 2-0 TFC win at BMO Field.
  • New York has a win and two draws in their last three visits to Toronto, coming away with 1-1 draws on their last two trips (2011 and ’12).
  • The Red Bulls have won their last four home games vs. TFC, and have won all three meetings lifetime at Red Bull Arena (with a 10-1 goal differential). TFC’s only away win vs. New York came in 2008, a 3-1 win at Giants Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. NY: first game … Mike Petke v TOR: first game

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC reached a fourth consecutive draw, again pegged back by a late equalizer in a 1-1 draw with a 10-man Houston Dynamo on Saturday afternoon at BMO Field. TFC sit in a tie for seventh place in the Eastern Conference with 7 points from 7 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The home side took the lead in the 58th minute. A Dynamo clearance from their own box went only as far as Jeremy Hall some 25 yards from goal, and drove a low shot into the corner past sliding Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall.
  • Four minutes later, the Dynamo went down a man when defender Jermaine Taylor was shown a red card for a foul on Robert Earnshaw while both were racing for a loose ball over the top.
  • But the visitors pushed for the equalizer and it came in stoppage time. Ricardo Clark outjumped everyone to redirect a corner kick goalward, and second-year man Warren Creavalle redirected it past helpless goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
  • TFC boss Ryan Nelsen made two changes to the team that saw Philadelphia Union come back for a 1-1 result at PPL Park. Ryan Richter and Logan Emory came in at the two fullback positions for the injured Darel Russell and suspended Ashtone Morgan.
  • TORONTO FC (4-1-3-2): Joseph Bendik - Ryan Richter, Darren O'Dea, Gale Agbossoumonde, Logan Emory (Doneil Henry 89) - Jeremy Hall - Reggie Lambe, Luis Silva (Jonathan Osorio 74), Hogan Ephraim - Justin Braun, Robert Earnshaw (Andrew Wiedeman 86).

TEAM NEWS

  • It was the fourth consecutive draw for TFC; the MLS record is six in a row, last done in 2011 by the Colorado Rapids.
  • “I thought it was an absolutely brilliant performance against the MLS Cup finalists. I don't think (Houston) had an opportunity on goal (in the second half) and we had three or four clear opportunities," said TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen. “I thought the guys played really well and I am absolutely gutted for them. It was a performance that should have been rewarded with three points.”
  • For a second consecutive week, Toronto FC conceded a goal in second-half stoppage time, and for the third time this season – the most by far in Major League Soccer (five teams have conceded once in added time). A year ago, TFC conceded five goals in second-half stoppage time, the most in MLS (along with Chivas USA).
  • “I think a bit of inexperience and probably that they are just not used to it. It is at a stage now where we could have 13 points that would take us pretty high,” said Nelsen. “It is a learning curve but if we can’t see it out it is going to be very painful.”
  • It was a second goal this season allowed from a set-piece by TFC; the Chicago Fire have allowed four, the most in the league.
  • “It is frustrating because we worked on corner kicks and set pieces all week. We had a lot of turns on them, no goals at all at practice and today they scored on the last one and we lose out on another three points where we could be sitting very nice in the table,” said Jeremy Hall.
  • After making his TFC debut the week before as a very early substitute, Ryan Richter made his first MLS start, at right back.
  • Logan Emory also made his first start and first appearance of 2013, coming in at left back for the suspended Ashtone Morgan.
  • “We have some young guys at the back and they just have to learn that you have to be as strong in important situations in the game as in any other part of the game," Nelsen said. "There are times when there has to be a hyper-focus in certain parts of a game and in certain areas of a game. When you are up 1-0 in the 92nd minute, at that time there should be a hyper-focus and an intensity that gets you over the finish line. You get that through experience and through doing it week, week out.”
  • On Wednesday, Toronto FC got defense of their four consecutive Canadian Championships started off on the right foot with a 2-0 win against Montréal Impact in the first leg of their semifinal series at BMO Field. The return match is May 1 at Stade Saputo.
  • Doneil Henry gave TFC the lead in the 49th minute, then Andrew Wiedemann finished off a Luis Silva nine minutes from time for the clincher.
  • Here’s the TFC team: Stefan Frei; Ashtone Morgan, Doneil Henry, Danny Califf, Ryan Richter; Jonathan Osorio, Kyle Bekker (Luis Silva 72'), John Bostock, Emery Welshman; Justin Braun (Hogan Ephraim 72'), Andrew Wiedeman

READ: Argentinos Juniors give green light for Matias Laba transfer to Toronto FC

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls won their third game of the season, rolling to a 4-1 victory against the New England Revolution on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are in a tie for fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 11 points from 9 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls took the lead after just four minutes when Dax McCarty brought down a pass from Tim Cahill and placed a low shot just inside the near post from the edge of the penalty area.
  • But the Revolution were level just two minutes later, as fullback Brandon Barklage put a header into his own net while defending a set piece.
  • Barklage made up for that just another two minutes later, finding Fabian Espindola with a pass from inside his own half on the touchline. Espindola collected the pass, cut inside of A.J. Soares and slipped a ball inside the far post past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth.
  • The Red Bulls then put the game away with two late goals. In the 82nd minute, Jonny Steele put a nice pass in behind the New England defense for Thierry Henry to race onto before slotting it inside the low far corner.
  • Steele then went from provider to scorer a minute from the end of regulation, tapping home from close range for his first goal as a member of the Red Bulls after a low cross from Eric Alexander.
  • Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke made two changes to the team that dropped a 1-0 decision to Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena. Heath Pearce came into the back four for Jamison Olave, and Jonny Steele started in midfield for the suspended Juninho.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Luis Robles - Brandon Barklage (Jamison Olave 80), Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson, Roy Miller - Dax McCarty - Eric Alexander, Tim Cahill (Lloyd Sam 61), Jonny Steele - Fabian Espindola (Andre Akpan 82), Thierry Henry.

READ: New York Red Bulls lose Dax McCarty to quad injury, expected to miss Toronto, Columbus matches

TEAM NEWS

  • After scoring three goals in the season-opening draw at Portland, the Red Bulls scored six goals over their next seven games before the explosion vs. New England.
  • “I think we’ve been kind of waiting all year for that offensive explosion and to do it against a team that has been the best in the league defensively … it feels pretty good,” said Dax McCarty. “We created tons of chances.” Said Brandon Barklage: “I think you saw a little glimpse in the first half of what we’re capable of doing. I thought we were very dangerous during a little stretch of that first half and we’re getting a little better in closing out games in the second half. … We’re riding high right now.”
  • With Juninho missing through suspension – a ban that was lengthened by one game in a ruling by the MLS Disciplinary Committee – Tim Cahill slotted into the center of midfield.
  • “I trust him to fill in pretty much any spot that is needed on this field. That’s why he’s, like I said used the word time and time again: invaluable,” said Petke. “You know I’ve been asked questions about his lack of goal scoring this and that and it makes me laugh. … He brings so much to this team. So, put him anywhere and he’s willing to do it, and he does a great job.”
  • With Cahill’s shift, Petke ran out his team in a 4-4-2 scheme, with Fabian Espindola and Thierry Henry as the strike partnership and Dax McCarty in a holding role.
  • “It was very tough for me but I realized very quickly that defensively, the personnel that we have in a 4-3-3 would have been a lot to ask for,” said Petke. “A 4-4-2 gives us more of a structure and a block system and it’s hard to penetrate. I’m hoping people are seeing a lot of times that it does turn into somewhat of a 4-3-3 or a 4- 1-3-2, more of an attacking style. But from the basis of a structure standpoint, it starts out as more of a 4-4-2.”
  • Jonny Steele returned to the lineup after missing the Sporting KC match and contributed a goal and an assist, his first since coming to New York in the offseason. It was the first time in Steele’s 36 league appearances that he had scored a goal and added an assist in the same game.
  • “Wednesday not playing him was a bit of a tactical decision,” Petke said. “I explained that to him and he was 100 percent on board with that and then he had a phenomenal couple of days in training and I thought this game suited him perfectly. This was an opportunity for him to exploit the outside a little bit and get some crosses in and work his [tail] off and he did. I’m proud of him.”
  • Thierry Henry scored his third goal of the season, all coming in the last five games. The Red Bulls have won three of nine games this season; Henry has scored in each victory.