MLS Preview from The Sports Network|
Saturday, July 20, 2013
(All times Eastern)
New York (9-7-4) at Toronto (2-10-7), 4 p.m.
Toronto, ON (Sports Network) - Red Bull New York made a statement win over the
Montreal Impact last time out, running out to a 4-0 victory at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls will be out for a similar result against another Canadian club
this weekend when they head to BMO Field to take on Toronto FC on Saturday.
The defeat of Montreal helped New York close the gap at the top of the table,
knocking the Impact out of first place to see the two sides go level on 31
points apiece, two points back of first-place Sporting Kansas City.
Perhaps the greatest contributor to the vital win was Eric Alexander. The
first-year Red Bull came under some criticism since his arrival to the club
for failing to make a lasting impact, but the 25-year-old produced the opening
goal of the match with a brilliant solo effort and nearly grabbed a second
when his shot from distance was denied by the woodwork.
It was the type of "coming-out" performance that Red Bulls fans have been
waiting for, but head coach Mike Petke revealed that the club has been
satisfied with Alexander's output thus far.
"I know for some reason Eric has been getting some stick from whether it be
the media and the fans about not playing good or whatever," Petke said after
the match. "To us, he does very well. We're very happy with Eric's play.
"Tonight was a great example of what he's capable of and I hope people don't
forget that he's not an outside player. He's someone that we converted to it
and I think he's adapted very well, and tonight he showed what he can do."
The Red Bulls will meet a Toronto side that is coming off of a disappointing
performance. The Reds faced Chivas USA at the StubHub Center on Wednesday and
played with an extra man for much of the match after Eric Avila was sent off
in the 24th minute, but the visitors still tasted defeat as Erick Torres
provided the lone goal in a 1-0 victory for the Goats.
It was Toronto's second consecutive defeat, extending the club's winless run
to five games. It also left TFC head coach Ryan Nelsen lamenting his side's
inability to adapt to the mismatch.
"When it was 11-v-11 we were by far the better team," Nelsen told
MLSsoccer.com after the match. "We looked very comfortable and we were
controlling the game. The sending off was one of those ones that made Chivas
go into a shell and become very defensive while putting numbers behind the
"It kind of gave them an opportunity to sit in and we didn't really find that
one opportunity where could get the goal we needed. Sometimes it can make it
even harder to break them down and then you are vulnerable to the sucker
punch. Unfortunately, that's what happened."
07/19 16:46:18 ET