Toronto FC's misery on the road continues, blanked 3-0 by the New York Red Bulls
Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio, right, vies for the ball against New York Red Bulls defender Kyle Duncan during an MLS soccer match Saturday, Oct. 7, 2023, in Harrison, N.J. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Eduardo Munoz Alvarez
The Canadian Press
Published Saturday, October 7, 2023 10:08PM EDT
HARRISON, N.J. - Two goals by Brazil's Luquinhas helped the New York Red Bulls to a 3-0 victory over Toronto on Saturday as TFC finished the away half of its dismal MLS season without a single win.
Tom Barlow also scored for the Red Bulls, who needed a victory to keep their post-season hunt alive going into the Oct. 21 final round of the regular season. New York has made the playoffs the last 13 campaigns.
Toronto (4-19-10) has picked up just four out of a possible 51 points away from home (0-13-4) this season. While it represents the franchise's worst-ever road showing, it also marks the ninth time TFC has won two or fewer games away from home in a season.
The game at Red Bull Arena marked the 15th and last in charge for interim coach Terry Dunfield. Former Canada coach John Herdman, who was on hand to watch the game, plans to take charge of the team in training next week during the international break and will run the sidelines at the season finale against Orlando City at BMO Field.
Toronto went 1-14-0 in all competitions under Dunfield with the lone win coming Aug. 30, a 3-1 decision over the visiting Philadelphia Union.
The Red Bulls spent most of the early going trying to find way to unlock a stacked Toronto defence. TFC looked to defend in numbers and then strike on the counterattack, with Italian Federico Bernardeschi usually leading the way.
But Toronto's good work was undone in the 45th minute when captain Michael Bradley, playing at the heart of the TFC backline, was caught in possession by Brazilian forward Elias Manoel in the Toronto penalty box. Manoel fed Barlow in front of goal and the Red Bulls forward beat exposed goalkeeper Luka Gavran for his third of the season.
TFC is now 0-17-1 when it concedes first this season.
Luquinhas made it 2-0 three minutes after the break as the Toronto defence was carved open on a rapid-fire counterattack. The Brazilian midfielder surged forward attracting three defenders, but his low shot found the corner of the goal before he was closed down.
Luquinhas added to Toronto's misery in the 65th minute as the TFC defence was found wanting yet again. The Brazilian, positioned in front of fullback Kobe Franklin, took a fine pass from Kyle Duncan and beat Gavran for his third of the season.
At the other end, Red Bulls goalkeeper Carlos Coronel had a quiet night.
Anchored to the bottom of the 29-team league, Toronto has lost six straight and 16 of its last 17 (1-16-0) in all competitions. Excluding the era of breakaway shootout losses, the only MLS team to experience a worse stretch is Cincinnati, which lost 17 of 18 in 2021-22.
Toronto has been outscored 25-0 in its last eight road outings, with its last away goal coming courtesy of Deandre Kerr in the 11th minute of a 2-1 loss at New England on June 24. TFC's road goalless drought now stands at 799 minutes.
TFC's last road victory was Aug. 27, 2022, a 2-0 decision in Charlotte.
The Red Bulls (10-13-10) were a motivated opponent. Going into weekend play, they sat three places and one point below the playoff line with two games remaining.
The Red Bulls were coming off a 2-1 mid-week victory at league-leading Cincinnati and had lost just once in their previous five matches (2-1-2). But they were winless (0-2-1) in their last three home games.
The New Yorkers are now unbeaten in nine straight meetings (6-0-3) with TFC and have won six straight at home against Toronto dating back to 2018.
Gavran, a rookie who started the season as TFC's No. 4 goalkeeper, made his fourth straight start for Toronto. German forward Prince Owusu made his second career MLS start.
The six-foot-six Gavran had little chance on the goals and did his bit to minimize the damage.
An accurate Duncan through ball set up Omir Fernandez in the 23rd minute but Gavran made a fine save. The Red Bulls continued the attack only to see Frankie Amaya's header off-target. Gavran made another key save to deny Fernandez in the 26th.
Owusu impressed, able to hold the ball up and find a teammate.
New York outshot Toronto 10-1 (3-2) in shots on target in the first half.
Toronto was without the injured Lorenzo Insigne, Themi Atonoglou, Latif Blessing, Adama Diomande, Sean Johnson, Kerr, Greg Ranjitsingh, Sigurd Rosted and Brandon Servania.
Toronto signed 18-year-old defender Adam Pearlman to a short-term agreement from TFC II to make up the numbers.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published Oct. 7, 2023.