Tonight was the second match of three within a week for the Red Bulls as they haven’t seen a league win in the last five. A strong Toronto FC side was coming to Red Bull Arena and looking to steal three points on the road, as a draw wouldn’t be enough to take over second place. But after a sloppy start from both sides, the action got interesting. But in this match it would be the home side that got the lone goal and stayed in second place of the Eastern table.
In the 23rd minute Thierry Henry got a nice ball and attacked the Toronto area. He got blocked by the defender and Henry was expecting a foul from Referee Ricardo Salazar, yet none was coming. After a little confusion Henry made a quick pass to Seth Stammler and then Stammler found Joel Lindpere on the left side. Got around his defender and slotted the ball past Stefan Frei for the goal as he tucked a tight angle inside the far post for his second of the season. That goal is the first one he has scored since the home opener against the Chicago Fire on March 27th
This match was missing four regulars as today is an official FIFA date for friendly matches. Bouna Coundoul played for Senegal, Rafael Marquez played for Mexico, Dane Richards for Jamaica & Roy Miller for Costa Rica. That means the depth of the squad would be tested again and this time it worked very well. Greg Sutton was in goal for his first league match of the season after four US Open Cup Matches (Three qualifiers and the Third Round away match at Harrisburg) He wasn’t tested that much tonight, but when he had to Sutton made a key save.
After coming out of the match in Chicago at the 45th Minute with a tight groin strain Thierry Henry was only going to play the first 45 minutes tonight. He made some exciting moves and a good run, but before the goal Henry was on a breakaway and all he had to do was side step Stefan Frei to put it away. But it looked like Frei’s right hand got Henry’s foot and tripped him down in the area, no call from Salazar for a penalty. Some replays showed there wasn’t enough to call it, but from the angle I had it looked close enough.
But the best of the night came from Toronto FC Head Coach Preki. The Hall of Famer was upset about everything that wasn’t going to plan with his players and he wasn’t happy with the way Ricardo Salazar was officiating the match. “I was so frustrated” said Preki. “I really don’t want to sound like a crybaby, but we couldn’t really get a call. Honestly, after Julian DeGuzman gets fouled five times on the touchline, and then he calls a foul against him. He tells me we haven’t deserved a foul all game.” Then Preki turns his attention to the Red Bulls Bench and barks at Assistant Coach Richie Williams and that continues on for a good five minutes.
Thankfully there wasn’t a brawl in the area of the fourth official, but still these matches must be called evenly. But for the Red Bulls they are a good five points ahead of Toronto FC for second place in the east and now their next encounter is this Saturday night as Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Omar Gonzalez and the league leading Los Angeles Galaxy come to town on Saturday.
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