Preview: Red Bulls host hapless TFC with playoffs in sight

NY vs. TOR, 9-28-12

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NEW YORK RED BULLS vs TORONTO FC
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
September 29, 2012 (WEEK 30, MLS Game #285)
7 p.m. ET (MSG; GolTV Can)

The New York Red Bulls will look to reverse their recent fortunes and solidify their hold on a playoff spot when they play host to Toronto FC on Saturday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls are coming off a heartbreaking late 1-1 draw at New England last weekend that left them in third place in the Eastern Conference, four points clear for the final playoff spot. Toronto FC saw their league winless run extended to 10 games last weekend in a loss at the LA Galaxy, but remained alive for advancement in the CONCACAF Champions League with a win in El Salvador at midweek.

 

REFEREE: Fotis Bazakos. AR1 (bench): Claudio Badea; AR2 (opposite): Matthew Kreitzer; 4th: John McCloskey

MLS Career: 9 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 1.9; R: 0; pens: 2

INJURY REPORT:

  • NEW YORK RED BULLS ; OUT: DF Rafa Marquez (R hamstring strain); GK Ryan Meara (L hip surgery); DF Roy Miller (groin strain); MF Digao (L hamstring strain)
  • TORONTO FC ; OUT: GK Stefan Frei (L lower leg); FW Danny Koevermans (L knee ACL tear); DF Ty Harden (lower abdominal strain); MF Torsten Frings (L hip); DOUBTFUL: FW Eric Hassli (R ankle sprain); QUESTIONABLE: DF Richard Eckersley (L orbital contusion)

INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none

SUSPENDED: NY: Connor Lade (through Sept. 30)

WARNINGS:

  • SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Connor Lade, Joel Lindpere -- TOR: Eric Hassli, Torsten Frings, Ryan Johnson
  • SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Kenny Cooper, Victor Palsson -- TOR: Richard Eckersley, Doneil Henry, Reggie Lambe, Ashtone Morgan

HEAD-TO-HEAD

ALL-TIME (14 meetings): Red Bulls 7 wins, 28 goals -- Toronto FC 4 wins, 14 goals -- Ties 3

AT NEW YORK (6 meetings): Red Bulls 5 wins, 17 goals -- Toronto FC 1 win, 3 goals -- Ties 0

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season, after New York's Jan Gunnar Solli and TFC's Danny Koevermans traded goals in the first six minutes for a 1-1 draw, June 30 at BMO Field.
  • The Red Bulls haven't lost to Toronto FC in six matches, since their final meeting in 2009. New York had won four in a row before draws in their last two encounters.
  • Toronto FC's last win came at BMO Field, a 2-0 win June 24, 2009.
  • Coaches record: Hans Backe vs. TOR: P5 W3 L0 D2 -- Paul Mariner v NY: P1 W0 L0 D1

LAST MEETING

6/30: TOR 1, NY 1 (Koevermans 6 ; Solli 4)

  • Both goals came in a two-minute span in the opening six minutes. In the fourth minute, New York's Jan Gunnar Solli was able to easily reach a cross from the right from Brandon Barklage in the left side of the box and turn it home with a right-footed volley.
  • But two minutes later, Danny Koevermans was in the center of the box to head home a corner from Torsten Frings and pull TFC level.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Milos Kocic - Jeremy Hall, Logan Emory, Richard Eckersley, Ashtone Morgan - Reggie Lambe (Nick Soolsma 67), Torsten Frings, Terry Dunfield, Eric Avila (Julian de Guzman 80) - Ryan Johnson, Danny Koevermans (Luis Silva 86).
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-3-2): Ryan Meara - Brandon Barklage, Heath Pearce (Roy Miller 90), Wilman Conde (Stephen Keel 82), Connor Lade - Dax McCarty - Dane Richards, Joel Lindpere (Victor Palsson 79), Jan Gunnar Solli - Kenny Cooper, Thierry Henry.

NEW YORK RED BULLS

The New York Red Bulls still couldn't come away from New England with a victory, the Revolution scoring a late, late goal to leave the teams in a 1-1 draw Saturday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Red Bulls are in third place in the Eastern Conference, with 50 points from 30 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls were reduced to 10 men in the 74th minute when Connor Lade was forced to haul down Benny Felihaber for his second bookable offense.
  • The match looked destined for a scoreless draw until bedlam broke out in second-half stoppage time. Joel Lindpere handed the Red Bulls the lead a minute into second-half stoppage time with an opportunistic header after the Revs struggled to clear a Wilman Conde cross.
  • But Darrius Barnes snatched a point in the final moments with his header from a Ryan Guy cross from the right side, his first professional goal for the 1-1 draw.
  • Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made two changes to the side that dropped a 2-0 decision to Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena. Jan Gunnar Solli and Sebastien Le Toux came into the team in place of Joel Lindpere and the suspended Thierry Henry.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Bill Gaudette - Connor Lade (sent off 74), Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde - Dax McCarty, Teemu Tainio (Brandon Barklage 79), Rafa Marquez (Joel Lindpere 35), Jan Gunnar Solli - Sebastien Le Toux (Lloyd Sam 90), Tim Cahill.

TEAM NEWS

  • New York saw its winless streak at New England extended to 16 matches, over 10 years. The Red Bulls have won just one of their last five matches.
  • "In this situation when we know that we haven't won 10 years here and they give you a gift as a three points then you just don't use, so it's like a gift card that you throw away. It's frustrating. We didn't lose but it feels like losing," said Joel Lindpere. Added midfielder Dax McCarty: "To go into that game 1-0 up in the 90th minute [and draw], that was probably the worst I've ever felt after a game and I'm not even exaggerating. That was a serious blow."
  • Making his third consecutive start, Rafa Marquez lasted just 35 minutes before suffering a hamstring strain that is expected to sideline him for at least two weeks.
  • "He hasn't had the possibility to be consistent in training this season," said Backe. "He's been in and out, injuries and things like that, so it's not really a really a surprise that you pick up things. I would say it's quite common. -- In this sport, you need to be able to train months. You can't be in and out and pick up [injuries], if it's a calf, groin, whatever it is, [or] it will always be that way for the whole season."
  • "We checked with (Marquez) and we said let's do five minutes more and see how it works. I think it went perhaps 10-15 minutes more before he said it's his hamstring, or a tired muscle," said Backe. "-- I think it's more it's the third game in a week so probably it's more of a fatigue muscle. For that many months you can say in the few games that he's been playing then going to three games in a week."
  • Thierry Henry did not play after he was suspended for one match in a ruling by the MLS Disciplinary Committee following a late-game incident in the Sporting KC match. But Backe said the former French international would not have figured anyway.
  • Joel Lindpere came on for Marquez, and scored his fifth goal of the season, his second in four matches.
  • "I was thinking ëwe're going to win this game," and we were so close," said Lindpere. "We just as a team couldn't manage this. That's a tough situation. We are not strong enough to keep the result as this and there is still time to do our replays and look over what we should do, but we have done it all year and the time is clicking."
  • Lloyd Sam made his third substitute appearance in the last four matches, coming on for the stoppage time period.
  • "He's a guy who can take players on, good crosses, he's lively. Not quite sure yet if he's ready to start a game and how much he can play but he will be there soon," said Backe. "He's definitely banging on the door and could probably do 45-60 minutes, I would guess."
  • After appearing in each of the first 29 league matches, Kenny Cooper did not feature at all in the New England match.
  • "Kenny is a guy who should be in the box for crosses and tap-ins and whatever it is," said Backe. "When he came in we had a lot of possession, that should help Kenny when we control the game. It is a little bit of a concern, but it's always with strikers, they don't score in five, six, seven, eight games and then suddenly they start scoring again."
  • With Connor Lade suspended for the Toronto match, Backe said Brandon Barklage will start at right back. Barklage was the start until suffering a hamstring injury on July 21. "I felt like I was on a decent run in the 15, 16 games I played," Barklage said. "I think my goal from now on is to solidify a spot somewhere and show people more of what I can offer to the team."
  • There are injury concerns for the Red Bulls after goalkeeper Bill Gaudette suffered a back injury in training. Luis Robles ; who has not made a first-team appearance this season ; would be the first-choice.
  • "[Robles] hasn't been playing competitive games, I don't know if it's more than half [a] year or something," Backe said. "He's done two reserve games and he's done very well in those two reserve games. Doing phenomenal in training sessions, but as always when you don't have the competitive games, you never really know where you stand and how you will react but he looks very, very solid so far."
  • The Toronto FC match kicks off a string of three consecutive games at Red Bull Arena, where New York suffered its first defeat in 16 games and nearly a year, since last Sept. 21, in the loss to Sporting KC.
  • "If you look at the standings, 52 (points) compared to 50 (points) is a huge difference. It will be down to the wire. -- It's still very, very even but it's still in our hands. I think we have three home games out of the last four so we just need to take care of our own business," said Backe.
  • Said Lindpere: We're already in this situation because we know what's behind. If we had won, it's one more win and we're in for sure. But now we make it difficult on ourselves. But we're a strong team and I think we're going to definitely reach the playoffs, but we need that advantage so it makes it easier for us. If we can't get that win in before the playoffs and if we can't handle it, it's going to be much more difficult."

TORONTO FC

Toronto FC saw their league winless streak stretched to 10 games, falling to a 4-2 loss to the LA Galaxy on Saturday evening at The Home Depot Center. TFC is in 10th place in the Eastern Conference, with 22 points from 30 games.

LAST MATCH

  • The Galaxy took the lead in the 11th minute, after Christian Wilhelmsson was spilled just outside the 18 to the left of goal. Juninho stepped up and curled the ball around the wall and toward the upper-right corner, leaving goalkeeper Freddy Hall flat-footed as it hit the net.
  • Juninho doubled the lead in the 33rd minute with a special goal, a first-time blast from about 32 yards that streaked into the upper-right corner. Then three minutes later Robbie Keane made it 3-0, deftly chipping over a goalmouth scrum after Landon Donovan and Magee twisted to deliver passes into the box.
  • Just two minutes later, TFC began their fightback. From a throw-in on the right wing, Luis Silva flicked a header toward the far post, where Terry Dunfield had drifted away for an open header inside the six-yard box.
  • Toronto FC cut the lead to a goal in the 86th minute when a shot from Silva from the left side of the goal area deflected off defender Omar Gonzalez and over leaping goalkeeper Josh Saunders. But Keane restored the cushion two minutes into stoppage time after juking past Ashtone Morgan in the TFC box and slamming home a low shot.
  • TFC head coach Paul Mariner made three changes to the team that played to a 1-1 draw with Philadelphia Union at BMO Field. Freddy Hall came into the goal in place of Milos Kocic, and Andrew Wiedeman and Ashtone Morgan came into the side in place of Reggie Lambe and Eric Hassli.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Freddy Hall - Jeremy Hall, Darren O'Dea, Richard Eckersley (Quincy Amarikwa 46), Logan Emory (Reggie Lambe 68) - Andrew Wiedeman (Eric Avila 60), Aaron Maund, Terry Dunfield, Ashtone Morgan - Luis Silva, Ryan Johnson.

TEAM NEWS

  • Toronto FC are now winless in 10 consecutive games, besting their nine-game losing streak to start the season and two games shy of their most consecutive games without a win in a single season.
  • Rookie Luis Silva has been involved in each of TFC's last four goals, with assists in each of the last three games to go with his fifth goal of the season Saturday vs. the LA Galaxy.
  • "Definitely a great feeling to get a goal here in L.A. My first goal (in L.A.) and it obviously feels good," said Silva. "I'm disappointed with the result, but we got to keep our heads up and look forward to the next game."
  • Midfielder Terry Dunfield scored his second league goal in the last five games. "They played some fantastic stuff. This is the level we need to aspire to and we need to get to if we are going to be successful in this league. The boys are hurt. We can hold our heads up ; we got beat by a very good side," said Dunfield.
  • But TFC were hit with another injury woe when defender Richard Eckersley didn't return for the second half after being involved in an aerial collision with the Galaxy's Mike Magee.
  • "We just can't get a break at the present moment," Mariner said. "Eckersley goes off. Hopefully it's not a concussion, but we're extra careful with that now. -- We've got Hassli laid up at home, and the others DPs are out, so we've got our backs against the wall to say the least. But we've still got some fight in us,"
  • With the introduction of Quincy Amarikwa for Eckersley, rookie Aaron Maund moved from his central midfield role to center back alongside Darren O'Dea.
  • "I lose one of my best players at halftime, and you've got to regroup and put young players in positions they're not particularly familiar with," Mariner said.
  • On Tuesday, TFC kept alive its hopes for advancement in the CONCACAF Champions League following a 3-0 win against CD Aguila in El Salvador. Toronto FC now face a final match against Mexico's Santos Laguna, needing to win by three clear goals to advance to next year's knockout stage.
  • Quincy Amarikwa gave the Reds a 16th-minute lead, then Terry Dunfield scored late in both the first and second halves to seal the victory.
  • Here's the TFC team: Freddy Hall; Jeremy Hall, Dicoy Williams (Adrian Cann 76'), Logan Emory, Ashtone Morgan; Reggie Lambe (Andrew Wiedeman 81'), Aaron Maund, Terry Dunfield, Luis Silva (Eric Avila 54'); Quincy Amarikwa, Ryan Johnson
  • "I'm absolutely delighted," Mariner said. "It keeps the Champions League alive for us even though it's a long shot. I'm just happy for the boys that they got a victory because the really deserved it."