The New York Red Bulls knew what was in store for them when they traveled to BMO Field in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. A side that has been struggling to get themselves on the positive side of the ledger and has fallen from grace.
Since winning their treble last season with the Amway Canadian Championship, the Supporters Shield and their first ever MLS Cup Championship, Toronto FC has stuggled with poor play, injuries and bad luck.
But the Red Bulls continued that woe on Toronto FC as they escaped with a one goal victory at BMO Field to leap frog back to second place in the Eastern Conference as they get a clean sheet victory by a goal to nil.
The Red Bulls opened the scoring very early in the 4th minute when Kemar Lawrence from distance shot a long rebound on frame and it beat Alex Bono. The Red Bulls earned a corner and it was delivered from the near side by Sean Davis.
After the ball was crossed Aaron Long some how headed it back towards the outside of the Toronto area, where Lawrence received it. From twenty-three yards out Kemar Lawrence ran up to the ball and drilled it low that hit the hands of Bono and into the back of the net.
“A great ball came out, I tried to relax and keep calm and tried to get a good shot on it, keeper made a mistake on it.” said Kemar Lawrence, “But they say if you don’t shoot, you don’t score so I had to take the shot.”
But in the second half it was all Luis Robles who made a grand total of eight saves on all eight shots on goal. A few point blank saves, a few long distance saves, but the biggest save of the game was in the 78th minute against the most dangerous player in the league.
It began in the 77th minute where Toronto FC attacked the Red Bulls area and a shot from Jonathan Osorio was stopped by Robles who had no idea the ball was under him. Robles got up and tried to push it away and center back Tim Parker was within his 6yd box.
The ball was pushed aside over the end line for a corner, but TFC demanded a penalty. Video Assistant Referee Jon Freemon contacted Hilario Grejeada to look at the monitor and on replay we saw the evidence.
Robles touched the ball first, then Parker fell down and his right hand touched the ball second to roll it over the end line. The call was changed to a spot kick and that meant Sebastian Giovinco will take the chance.
After the whistle blew, Giovinco jogged up to the ball and hit it hard to the far post, but Robles guessed correctly and made a huge two handed fist save to punch the ball away from the net and prevents TFC from equalizing the match.
“Once the penalty is given you just start to calculate in your mind how your are going to do this.” said Robles, “Before the game I was going to go one way and once the penalty was called I already had my mind made up. I just got a good jump on it and made the save.”
The weather outside was frightful as temperatures were either near, or just over 100 degrees, so thankfully there were water breaks in both halves. Yet the Red Bulls who had a few moments to get that second goal, never came through.
This is the type of game where the game plan offensively was thrown out the window. Jesse Marsch wasn’t happy with some of the defensive positioning and the energy out on the field after Kemar Lawrence scored, but they did enough to earn the full three points on the road.
“Not our best game by any means the weather was a big factor it was so hot and we made a lot of simple mistakes that we don’t normally make. Then you have to really tip your hat to Luis (Robles) to talk about the kind of game he really had.” said Marsch
The penalty save, but all the other saves he made and the play that led to the save he made that led to the penalty, that was huge by Luis. You’ll go thru a season sometimes where you don’t play your best and collectively it’s not great but to find a way to get a big result on the road and three points it puts us in second place in the East.”
The Red Bulls are now going to game plan for another Hudson River Derby with a new manager on the other side of the technical area as Patrick Vieria is no longer in the Bronx. There is a new man running the bench and we shall see what Jesse Marsch will do when the Red Bulls face NYCFC the following week.