The Red Bulls made the trip to Toronto, Ontario to take on a Toronto FC side that has found another gear in recent weeks, and the home side was able to defeat the Red Bulls at BMO Field by a final of three goals to one.
The truth is that this result doesn’t match the performance the Red Bulls played. The team created chances throughout the match, making Quentin Westberg earn his stripes.
The Red Bulls’ runs were thought out well, they were able to steal balls in lackadaisical moments, but Westberg was in great position to make those huge saves his team needed, as he made six saves on seven shots on goal.
Give Toronto credit for putting their chances away. Jozy Altidore created a fantastic chance in the sixth minute that he flicked in early off his right heel; a shot that hit the inside of the near post past Luis Robles. The cross from Tsubasa Endoh on the far side to find Altidore was great, as he was defended closely by Tim Parker.
Then, the individuals errors started to pile up. It came from the fullbacks. Kemar Lawrence, who so rarely makes a critical error inside his own area, made a glaring blunder in the 25th minute as he tackled Richie Laryea inside his area, who was dribbling away from goal.
Alejandro Pozuelo ripped the ball past Luis Robles inside the near post on the 26th minute spot kick and made the score two goals to nil. And while Tom Barlow converted his second goal of the season in the 63rd minute, off a great pass from Derrick Etienne Jr., the Red Bulls conceded a third goal through another error.
Ashtone Morgan was on the attack in the 72nd minute and had Michael Murillo defending him, but something strange happened, a moment of indecision and once again poor decision-making from all parties.
Murillo won the ball from Morgan and was guiding it toward the end line when Robles, admittedly, caught himself in no man’s land. Before Robles could get to the ball, Murillo allowed Morgan to pounce, pick the ball off him and slot it home.
It was, at times, a brilliant performance with a poor result, and the culprit was poor decision-making that doomed the Red Bulls from earning at least a point. This was a match where the Red Bulls took a punch from TFC and kept on fighting, but they couldn’t stop from hurting themselves.
“It’s really disappointing,” Chris Armas said. “Because I told the guys, like my dad told me, if you are going to do something, you do it right, which means you do it all the way. Which means you have do it for 90 minutes, and you have to have a good start on the road. You can’t take plays off, so when that happens; part of it is decision making, part of it is alertness, it’s about not being ready.
“It wasn’t the whole team. A few plays we take off and now you’re on the road against a good team, which means we have to chase it, which we are more than happy to do, but what else can you do?
“We talk about, if you want to win games, what’s necessary? So, you do most of the things most of the time. You can win some Derby matches, but to be the last ones standing, it’s an all-the-time thing. We will learn from it, the best thing is that we are a good team.”
While this Red Bulls team is good, their fullbacks – both well-regarded – need to tighten up defensively and not allow silly mistakes. Next up is a trip to the Purple Palace on Church Street in downtown Orlando on Sunday, where the Red Bulls will look to bounce back.