Toronto FC earn crucial first leg win in New York

TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 30: Sebastian Giovinco
TORONTO, ON - NOVEMBER 30: Sebastian Giovinco /

Toronto FC needed to get off to a good start in the tie at Red Bull Arena. They earned the win, and now head back to BMO Field with momentum.

A goal from Victor Vasquez and then an absolute peach of a free-kick from Sebastian Giovinco gave the Reds two crucial away goals. As a result, Toronto FC started the tie perfectly with a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls.

TFC starting XI

Match recap

The Red Bulls tried to push Toronto FC back into their own half to start of this contest, and it was working for a period of time. New York won a free-kick on the edge of the TFC box, but the attempt by Felipe sailed wide.

Just when you thought it was going the Red Bulls’ way, the Reds found a way to get an early away goal. A terrible throw in from Damien Perrinelle gave Toronto possession in the New York half. Jozy Altidore used a lovely piece of skill to get around his defender, and eventually sent in a cross that got deflected by Luis Robles, only for Victor Vasquez to fire home.

Altidore would work his way in again in the 15th minute. This time, he sent another cross towards Justin Morrow, but the shot was blocked away by Red Bulls’ defender Michael Murillo.

Great build up play from Toronto FC led to a nice cross being sent in towards Marky Delgado. His header hit the bar before it was cleared away by New York.

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Bradley Wright-Phillips would eventually cycle his way into the box and tripped up over Delgado. The referee decided to award New York a penalty kick that would be buried by Daniel Royer to end the first half.

Drew Moor suffered an injury to start off the next half of play. Moor appeared to have rolled over on his ankle. Bad news for the Reds, and they can only hope he is okay.

New York really came at Toronto for the next 15 minutes of play. Perrinelle ripped a shot from the midfield that had to be turned away by Alex Bono.

Bono also had to come off his line to deny Wright-Phillips of a chance at goal. Just a few moments later, Gonzalo Veron would get into the box and hit a ball with power that had to be turned away by Bono.

Vasquez came off in the 66th minute to be replaced by Jonathan Osorio. Vasquez was holding an ice pack over his groin area when he was on the bench. TFC can’t afford to lose key players like him at this time of the season.

In the 72nd minute, a free-kick opportunity was set up for Toronto FC, which was well within Giovinco’s range. The 30-year-old, of course, buried it to give the Reds a clutch 2-1 advantage. He has to be the MVP this season, no doubt about it.

The final minutes involved desperation from the Red Bulls, who pushed their whole team forward in an effort to tie it up.

Wright-Phillips sprinted into the box in the 88th minute to turn and take a shot, but his attempt got deflected just wide. Another Red Bulls cross was sent in with time running out, but the attempt was saved well by Bono. Toronto FC eventually survived the endless attack, and came away with the victory.

Importance of the win/next match

Need we say more on the importance of the away goals? Tow goals to bring back to an energetic home crowd should be enough to see TFC through to the next round.

A win is a win, even though it wasn’t the best performance from the Reds. Everybody within the lineup contributed in some way to the contest, which is exactly what the team needs to head back to the MLS Cup Final.

November 5th at 3:00 p.m. (ET) will mark the second leg of the tie between the Red Bulls and TFC. Get complete coverage for that match right here on Tip of the Tower.

Next: 4 reasons TFC will beat the Red Bulls

Thoughts on the performance on Monday night? What does Toronto FC need to do in the second leg, to come away with victory? Let us know in the comments below!