On Nov. 5, Toronto Football Club (FC) beat New York Red Bulls on away goals after a emotional and tense match that ended 2-2 on aggregate to advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Toronto FC are looking for redemption after last year’s failure to win the Major League Soccer (MLS) Cup despite reaching the finals.
On the other hand, New York crashed out of the playoffs, proving once again that the team still has a long way to go if the MLS Cup wants to be lifted in New York.
Despite the New York Red Bulls being down 2-1 on aggregate after the first leg, from kickoff the team looked very strong.
The team put pressure on Toronto very early on, and it looked like they wanted to win this game.
Red Bulls manager Jesse Marsch even put in 18-year-old Tyler Adams into the starting lineup to bring a little spark into the midfield.
Jamaican Defender Kemar Lawrence had a great game, making several vital tackles, keeping pressure on Toronto and helping the Red Bulls obtain a clean sheet on the road.
But unfortunately, that was not enough for the Red Bulls.
This match had high stakes and even higher emotions.
Tackles and yellow cards were abundant, as both teams had a lot to fight for.
The Red Bulls did not want to crash out of the playoffs, and Toronto wants to redeem their 2016 MLS Cup final loss.
During the first half, Red Bull’s mid-fielder and captain Sacha Kljestan pushed Toronto FC striker Jozy Altidore, which increased the tension between both teams even more and a brawl between both teams ensued.
This tension carried on through the rest of the match.
Even after half-time began, a brawl ensued again in the tunnels which included managers and players from both teams.
After the second-half began, news was broken that both Kljestan and Altidore had received red cards, meaning both teams were playing with ten men.
The Red Bulls scored an awkward goal in the 53rd minute, deflecting off a Toronto defender, making the score 1-0 and 2-2 on aggregate, giving the Red Bulls a little break and confidence.
Even though the Red Bulls kept the pressure up, and newcomer Adams dominated the mid-field, it wasn’t enough.
The game ended 1-0 after 90 minutes but 2-2 on aggregate, meaning Toronto FC advanced to the Eastern Conference Final on away goals.
The Red Bulls once again crashed out of the playoffs.
Toronto FC play Columbus Crew in the Eastern Conference Finals, and the team is still looking to redeem themselves from last year.
Despite not having star player Sebastian Giovinco, as he is suspended due to a yellow card, Toronto FC are in good form to bring the MLS Cup to Toronto for the first time in club history.
Luke Stergiou can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org