The beginning of the new season for the New York Red Bulls started off well with great anticipation as the fans were pumped and ready to go as the club was about to get ready for their Supporters Shield defense and unveiling their 2nd banner in three seasons. But Toronto FC came to spoil the party and after all of it was said and done the Red Bulls fell to a two goal shutout loss to begin the new season.
It was a late penalty called by referee Allen Chapman as Sebastian Giovinco crossed a solid ball from the near side to the far as he caught Tusbasa trailing the play into open space. Kemar Lawrence came back to defend Tusbasa and made contact from behind to take him down and that was the beginning of the end for this opening match in the 81st minute as Giovinco smashed the spot kick inside the post to Luis Robles right.
"For the penalty I do not know what to say, we were both going in and I think he was going down before it." Said Lawrence, "I slid in and it went past and a couple of seconds later the referee blew the whistle trying to make up his mind about whether it was or was not a penalty."
A second goal inside the start of second half stoppage time by substitute Marco Delgado gave confirmation as Toronto FC finally earned their first win at Red Bull Arena in seven seasons. This was a good performance from both sides and for Toronto they got the break that they needed to start their season on the right foot. "We dug deep and not everything was perfect, especially on day one but the guys competed for ninety minutes and helped each other." said Toronto Head Coach Greg Vanney, "They made plays when they had to defensively and we are starting eight games on the road and we gave ourselves a chance to win and we did."
But as disappointing of a result this was for the Red Bulls, the truth is that they played very well with the ball on offense as well as on defense. While they held the advantage on possession with 62.9% and looked dangerous the majority of the match, but as always the only stat that mattered on this day is the scoreboard. But Jesse Marsch wasn't discouraged with the performance.
"The first game of the season we aren't going to be at our sharpest and at certain moments normally you see us create better chances of certain plays and finish off certain plays, but we don't quite do it." said Marsch, "But today wasn't going to be our sharpest especially on our first game of the season, the disappointing part of this game or what it looked like was to execute our game plan. We didn't and they did and that was the difference of the game."
But the partnership with new Ghanaian Center Back Gideon Baah along with Ronald Zubar in the middle looked fantastic. Baah played strong and smooth when he had to defend as well as stripping Giovinco several times in the first half as well as a tricky play in the 68th minute. Baah collected the ball and tried to one time it on a clear, which hit Giovinco in the face, but was able to shield it, then trap it and move away to send it down the field.
But as there was plenty of good moments for the Red Bulls to kick off this season, this one is going to sting a bit and all they can do is regroup and move forward to make a road trip to Canada and head over to Montreal and face the Impact who will be without Didier Drogba due to Field Turf issues.