HARRISON, N.J. — An offensive onslaught keyed by first-half goals from Thierry Henry and Luke Rodgers propelled New York to a comprehensive 5-0 win over Eastern Conference foes Toronto FC at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night.
It was a much-needed win for the Red Bulls, who were fresh off a four-game road trip that resulted in just three ties and a loss. It was just the second win for New York in their last dozen league matches.
Toronto, meanwhile, were unable to capitalize upon any momentum they may have built from a pair of wins over Vancouver last week.
The Red Bulls got their lead in the 33rd minute. After some sustained pressure, the ball worked its way out to the right side where fullback Jan Gunnar Solli had pushed into the attack on the overlap. Swinging in a low cross into the area, forward Rodgers took an awkward shot that ended up squirting through the defense to an unmarked Henry. The Frenchman made no mistake, side-footing past Stefan Frei for his ninth goal of the season.
The lead for New York seemed to deflate the visitors and, four minutes later, the Red Bulls made Toronto FC pay for more lax defending.
Again it was Solli initiating play, this time dribbling towards the right side of the penalty area in the 37th minute and laying a simple pass toward the center of the area. Rodgers peeled away from his defender, collected and popped the ball to himself, volleying his shot past a diving Frei. The Red Bulls took the 2-0 lead to halftime.
It looked like Toronto would pull one back and perhaps make a game of things early in the second half. After Joao Plata stole the ball from Teemu Tainio just outside the penalty area, the forward slotted a pass to Javier Martina, whose 52rd-minute shot beat Greg Sutton in New York’s goal but found the post instead.
New York again made them pay as, moments later, Dane Richards carried the ball from the halfway line into Toronto’s penalty area and slipped a pass between the Reds’ defense. It was there that Joel Lindpere curled a left footed shot into the back of the net, marking his third straight game with a goal.
Toronto FC barely sustained any kind of possession in the second half and looked like a team unable or unwilling to breakdown the Red Bulls back line.
New York, meanwhile, kept pouring it on. Juan Agudelo — a 56th-minute sub for Rodgers — put the finishing touches on with two late goals.
First the US international acrobatically finished a Lindpere corner kick in the 66th minute, just after forcing Frei into a neat near-post save. It was Agudelo’s first goal since April 21.
He got his second of the night 23 minutes later when he snuck into the six-yard box and slid home Lindpere’s precision cross. It was the teenager’s first multi-goal game in his MLS career.
The Reds have won just once since May 7 and Wednesday's 5-0 loss represents the fifth time they’ve been shut out in that stretch.
New York (6-3-10, 28 points) provisionally move into first place in the Eastern Conference. They continue their homestand on Saturday against rivals D.C. United. Toronto (3-8-9, 18 points) remain eighth in the East, and will look to rebound when they play in Houston on Saturday night.
NY – Thierry Henry 9 (Jan Gunnar Solli 5) 33’
NY – Luke Rodgers 6 (Jan Gunnar Solli 6) 38’
NY – Joel Lindpere 5 (Dane Richards 4) 52’
NY – Juan Agudelo 3 (Joel Lindpere 4) 66’
NY – Juan Agudelo 4 (Joel Lindpere 5) 89’
NY -- Luke Rodgers (caution; Reckless Tackle) 39
NY -- Teemu Tainio (caution; Dissent) 59
TOR -- Nick Soolsma (caution; Reckless Tackle) 62
Toronto FC -- Stefan Frei, Richard Eckersley, Dan Gargan, Ty Harden, Danleigh Borman (Ashtone Morgan 46), Nathan Sturgis, Tony Tchani (Matt Stinson 57), Mikael Yourassowsky (Gianluca Zavarise 68), Nick Soolsma, Javier Martina, Joao Plata.
Substitutes Not Used: Alan Gordon, Doneil Henry, Jacob Peterson, Milos Kocic.
New York Red Bulls -- Greg Sutton, Jan Gunnar Solli, Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Roy Miller, Dane Richards, Teemu Tainio (Mehdi Ballouchy 80), Dax McCarty, Joel Lindpere, Luke Rodgers (Juan Agudelo 56), Thierry Henry.
Substitutes Not Used: Austin da Luz, Mike Jones, Stephen Keel, John Rooney, Bouna Coundoul.
Referee: Geoff Gamble
Referee's Assistants: Daniel Belleau; Eric Proctor
4th Official: Alex Prus
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Partly Cloudy and 85 degrees