MATCH PREVIEW: Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC

Red Bulls return to league play tonight vs. Toronto

New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC

RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.

June 27, 2014 (WEEK 16, MLS Game #139) 8 p.m. ET (MSG+; SNet One)

The New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC meet for the second time this season when the Eastern Conference foes resume action after the World Cup break in a key Eastern Conference clash Friday evening at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls put an end to a four-game winless run in their last game, a rare 2-0 win at New England. TFC come into the game undefeated in their last four matches, following a 1-0 home victory vs. San Jose in their last contest.

REFEREE: Hilario Grajeda. SAR (bench): Brian Dunn; JAR (opposite): Eric Weisbrod; 4th: Jorge Gonzalez
MLS Career: 107 games; FC/gm: 24.3; Y/gm: 3.4; R: 18; pens: 18

SUSPENDED: none
WARNINGS:
SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Armando, Lloyd Sam, Jamison Olave
SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Thierry Henry … TOR: Jackson, Jermain Defoe, Doneil Henry
DISABLED LIST: none
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: NY: Tim Cahill (AUS); Roy Miller (CRC) … TOR: Michael Bradley (USA); Julio Cesar (BRA)

HEAD-TO-HEAD
ALL-TIME (19 meetings): Red Bulls 10 wins, 36 goals … Toronto FC 5 wins, 18 goals …Ties 4
AT NEW YORK (8 meetings): Red Bulls 7 wins, 23 goals … Toronto FC 1 win, 4 goals … Ties 0
FUTURE MATCH: 10/11: New York Red Bulls vs. Toronto FC, 7 p.m. ET

  • The teams are meeting for the second time this season. Jermain Defoe and Luke Moore netted goals early and late as Toronto FC claimed a 2-0 win May 17 at BMO Field.
  • The TFC victory snapped a 10-game winless streak against the Red Bulls. It was the club’s first win since June 24, 2009, a 2-0 TFC win at BMO Field. New York was unbeaten in its last five visits to Toronto.
  • The Red Bulls have won their last five home games vs. TFC, and have won all four meetings lifetime at Red Bull Arena (with a 12-1 goal differential). TFC’s only away win vs. New York came in 2008, a 3-1 win at Giants Stadium.
  • Coaches record: Ryan Nelsen vs. NY: P4 W1 L2 D1 … Mike Petke vs. TOR: P4 W2 L1 D1

LAST MEETING (MLS):
5/17: TOR 2, NY 0 (Defoe 12; Moore 91+)

  • TFC took the lead in the 12th minute. From a lightning-quick counter, Bradley Orr slid a perfectly-weighted through ball into the path of Jermain Defoe, and he cracked a rocket of a shot into the top corner of the net, beating Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles.
  • Well into second-half stoppage time Toronto FC finished off the match thanks to a fortuitous bounce. A long clearance from Joe Bendik from his own penalty area was not claimed by Robles as he collided with a teammate at the top of the Red Bulls box, and Luke Moore walked the ball into the open goal to open his TFC account.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Mark Bloom, Nick Hagglund, Steven Caldwell, Justin Morrow - Alvaro Rey (Daniel Lovitz 68), Bradley Orr, Kyle Bekker, Jonathan Osorio - Jermain Defoe, Gilberto (Luke Moore 56).
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-2): Luis Robles - Kosuke Kimura (Chris Duvall 48), Armando, Jamison Olave, Bobby Convey (Ruben Bover 81) - Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander, Jonny Steele - Bradley Wright-Phillips, Thierry Henry.

NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls put an end to a four-game winless run in their last league match, an historic 2-0 win at the New England Revolution on June 8. The Red Bulls are in a tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with 18 points from 15 matches on the season.

LAST MATCH

  • The Red Bulls took the lead in the 17th minute. Lloyd Sam drove in a long free kick from the left wing toward the back post, and New York midfielder Eric Alexander was able to redirect an open header past goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth for the opener.
  • The second goal came in the 76th minute when a ball was headed down at the top of the box and Peguy Luyindula hit it on the volley into the lower right corner of the net, giving the Red Bulls their first win at New England since 2002.
  • Red Bulls boss Mike Petke made four changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City at Sporting Park. Armando, Matt Miazga, Kosuke Kimura and Peguy Luyindula all came into the side, in place of Jamison Olave, Dax McCarty, Ruben Bover and Thierry Henry.
  • NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-4-1-1): Luis Robles - Chris Duvall, Armando, Matt Miazga, Kosuke Kimura - Lloyd Sam, Ibrahim Sekagya, Eric Alexander, Bobby Convey (Jonny Steele 60) - Bradley Wright-Phillips (Andre Akpan 87) - Peguy Luyindula (Connor Lade 90).

TEAM NEWS

  • The Red Bulls won for the first time in more than a month, since a 1-0 win at FC Dallas on May 4. They had lost three games and drawn one before the win at New England.
  • “I’m extremely proud of my guys,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said. “I told them before the game that there were going to be periods tonight that were not going to be pretty and that I’m absolutely fine with that as long as they put the work in and play for each other. That’s all I wanted, to be honest with you, at the end of the day. I was here the last time we won 10 years ago. I played in that game, so I am extremely proud of them.”
  • The Red Bulls also kept a clean sheet for the first time since that win vs. FC Dallas, and Luis Robles recorded a third shutout on the season.
  • “Luis, like he has all year, has made some key saves for us, 100 percent,” said Petke. “Obviously I am a little concerned with how we gave up some of the opportunities we did, but it’s a great feeling to know you have someone back there who, nine out of 10 times, feels like he is going to make those saves.”
  • Peguy Luyindula made his first start since April 26 and scored his first goal since April 5, when he netted his second of the season vs. Montréal. He had been battling a calf injury in recent weeks.
  • "It’s a group mentality," said Luyindula. “When [regulars] are not there, the guys who have to play have to step up on the field, and that’s what we did.”
  • Dax McCarty missed his first match of the season after suffering a knee injury in the Sporting Kansas City contest. Thierry Henry and Jamisón Olave were also held out of the team as Gillette Stadium reverted to its usual artificial playing surface.
  • After missing the Sporting KC match while on international duty with Northern Ireland, Jonny Steele returned to the team and played the final half-hour.
  • Matt Miazga made his first career MLS start, coming into central defense alongside Armando. Miazga’s only other league appearance had been April 5, as a substitute.
  • Following the win against the Revolution, the Red Bulls were dumped out of the U.S. Open Cup at the first hurdle in a 3-0 loss to the New York Cosmos at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.
  • Here’s the Red Bulls team: Ryan Meara, Chris Duvall, Matt Miazga, Armando, Ambroise Oyongo, Lloyd Sam, Ibrahim Sekagya (Bobby Convey 74’), Eric Alexander (Michael Bustamante 89’), Jonny Steele (Andre Akpan 46’), Bradley Wright-Phillips, Peguy Luyindula

TORONTO FC
Toronto FC stretched their undefeated streak to four matches with their second victory in a row, claiming a 1-0 win vs. the San Jose Earthquakes on June 7 at BMO Field. TFC sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, with 19 points from 11 matches.

LAST MATCH

  • The game's only goal came in the 25th minute. TFC's Nick Hagglund was pushed down in the box by Quakes striker Alan Gordon, and referee Fotis Bazakos pointed to the spot. Jermain Defoe stepped up to the spot and drove his shot into the left side of the goal, beating goalkeeper Jon Busch, who dove the other way.
  • TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen made two changes to the team that took a 3-2 come-from-behind win against the Columbus Crew at BMO Field. Steven Caldwell and Collen Warner came into the team, in place of Justin Morrow and Bradley Orr.
  • TORONTO FC (4-4-2): Joseph Bendik - Nick Hagglund, Doneil Henry, Steven Caldwell, Mark Bloom - Jackson (Dominic Oduro 65), Collen Warner, Kyle Bekker (Daniel Lovitz 78 / Justin Morrow 81), Jonathan Osorio - Luke Moore, Jermain Defoe.

TEAM NEWS

  • Toronto FC extended their undefeated run to four games (3-0-1), their longest unbeaten run since going four games without loss last March 30-April 20.
  • “I don’t think we are, as a team, playing as well as we can but we’re getting more points than I probably thought we’d get after 11 games,” TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen said. “It sounds like a big contradiction, but we’re showing a lot character and spirit, which I love. We have to get better, evolve as a team. What I wanted this Toronto FC team to be is, at least when teams play against us, [one where other teams] have to earn it to win it, they have to play really well to beat us.”
  • Jermain Defoe scored his third goal in the last two games, his second penalty kick in that time. Defoe has four goals over the last four games, after going five games without a goal following three goals in his first two MLS matches.
  • “That’s why we brought him in. That’s the reason why we signed the man. Last year we had a shape that always made us competitive in games, but when we got the opportunity we wouldn’t score,” said Nelsen. “We know if we keep a shape and organization we will get opportunities and that’s why I went for Jermain Defoe, because he generally takes them.”
  • Said Defoe: “As a forward I haven’t set myself targets for goals, I am just trying to get off to a good start and after that I can just relax and enjoy my football and then the goals will come.”
  • For the first time since coming to the club, Gilberto did not feature in the first team in a league match, held out with injury. Gilberto had made eight consecutive league starts before coming off the substitutes’ bench in the Columbus game.
  • Rookie Nick Hagglund made his fourth consecutive start, shifting to right back after featuring in central defense in the previous three.
  • “He is just a lovely guy that is not afraid of any occasion," Nelsen said of Hagglund. "He puffs his chest out and just goes for it. Whether you put him at striker or you put him in goal he is just that type of personality, and those types of personalities go a long way, not just in soccer but in life.”
  • Collen Warner made his second start in the last three matches, playing the full 90 minutes in a central midfield role. Dominic Oduro also made his TFC debut, coming on for the final 25 minutes after he was acquired from the Columbus Crew.
  • “I think you saw why we brought the man in. he was very good again, and he will only get better and better. Once he understands the system that we play, we still haven’t had time to embed Luke [Moore] in and Dominic, and Collen in with the system. But now we … can really work them in, and work on the combinations and get everything going,” Nelsen said. “… (W)e will probably have Michael [Bradley] back soon, then we can start really feeling like kind of a team, a complete team.”
  • During their league break, TFC played a friendly against USL PRO side Wilmington Hammerheads, Dwayne De Rosario and academy player Janeil Hoilett scoring in a 2-1 TFC win on June 18.
  • Here’s the TFC team: Chris Konopka; Jackson (Kyle Bekker 67’), Nick Hagglund, Ryan Richter, Ashtone Morgan; Janeil Hoilett, Jeremy Hall, Jonathan Osorio (Manuel Aparicio 60’), Dwayne De Rosario; Andrew Wiedeman, Jordan Hamilton