HARRISON, N.J. – They left it late, but the New York Red Bulls were able to re-open their schedule with a point on Friday night after a 93rd-minute goal by striker Bradley Wright-Phillips gave the Red Bulls a 2-2 draw against visiting Toronto FC.
Wright-Phillips’ point-blank shot from a header by late-game substitute Tim Cahill erased a deficit courtesy of TFC’s DP strikers Jermain Defoe and Gilberto, who scored in the 55th and 72nd minutes, respectively, to overcome a first-half goal by Peguy Luyindula.
Defoe scored the equalizer in the 55th minute with a beautiful one-touch finish past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles off a feed from Dominic Oduro, and Gilberto gave the visitors the lead 17 minutes later by lashing home a freekick for his first MLS goal after joining TFC as a Designated Player prior to the start of the season.
The Red Bulls drew first blood in the 36th minute off a header by Luyindula, who met a floated cross from left-back Ambroise Oyongo Bitolo to finish from six yards out past a diving Joe Bendik. Oyongo took a pass from Thierry Henry before juking past Oduro and serving the ball in to Luyindula for his first career MLS assist.
Oduro made amends in the second half by driving a cross low to the near post for Defoe, but Gilberto needed no assist to smash home his 20-yard freekick, though he did need to win an argument with Defoe over who would take it.
The Reds looked to press throughout, and Robles was forced into action less than two minutes from the opening whistle when striker Luke Moore tried his luck from just outside the 18. Robles dropped down well to push away the low drive, but just nine minutes later TFC were unlucky not to score when a header by Collen Warner was blocked before Warner himself inadvertently blocked the follow-up shot.
In the end, the Reds' bid for all three points on the road would be quashed in stoppage time by Wright-Phillips.
The Red Bulls’s next match will see them travel to Houston for a July 4 showdown with the Dynamo, while Toronto FC will look to bounce back with a July 2 match in Chicago against the Fire.