Toronto FC Falls Short of Supporters' Shield after 2-1 Defeat to Red Bulls
BarnBurner Sports Writer
Sunday, November 8, 2020
Toronto FC came up short in their Supporters' Shield aspirations after a 2-1 defeat to the New York Red Bulls on Decision Day.
Decision Day is important day for the MLS as it signifies the end of the regular season and provides a better idea of what the playoff picture will look like as teams turn their attention to winning MLS Cup.
Toronto coach Greg Vanney went with a 4-2-3-1 formation: Quentin Westberg starting in-goal; Auro Jr., Chris Mavinga, Omar Gonzalez, and Richie Laryea on the backline; Tsubasa Endoh, Nick DeLeon, the returning Jonathan Osorio, Alejandro Pozuelo, and captain Michael Bradley in the midfield; and Ayo Akinola as the striker up top.
Vanney had some additional reinforcements as Jozy Altidore also made his return to the lineup after an injury kept him out for a month. During his media availability on Friday, Vanney said that both Altidore and Osorio “might” be available for today’s match, so Osorio starting and Altidore, who subbed on in the 57th minute, is a great sign for the club as it helps ensure they both receive meaningful minutes to get back on track and ready for the playoffs now that they have gotten back into the mix of things.
Although Toronto had most of the possession the first half; 63% - 37%, they did not get off to a great start in the defensive end. Bradley’s failed clearing attempt in the 22nd minute left his defenders exposed and allowed the Red Bulls to take advantage and score off a corner kick, when Tom Barlow beat Mavinga to the ball and headed it in the net, to put his team up 1-0.
It would then go from bad to worse for Toronto as it took three minutes for the Red Bulls to increase their lead to two after another cross led to the their attackers finding an opening, which saw Brian White capitalize on the opportunity and striking it past Westberg to make it 2-0 in favour of New York.
Unfortunately for Toronto, Laryea left the match due to injury, so Liverpool loanee Tony Gallacher subbed on to help provide stability on the backline. After failing to cut the lead heading into halftime, Vanney made some adjustments and subbed on Ralph Priso, who had impressed with his performance last week, for Osorio and it paid off immediately as the 18-year old provided a much-needed spark off the bench.
Toronto were much more aggressive offensively in the second half; their ball movement and pace had noticeably improved and it translated to plenty of scoring opportunities. This was evident in the 50th minute, when DeLeon’s shot was stopped by Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara, resulting in a rebound to a wide-open Endoh, who struck the ball in the back of the net.
Toronto came close to scoring on a few occasions but were unable to tie the match up before the whistle sounded to end both the match and the 2020 MLS regular season. As it pertains to the Supporters’ Shield, the Philadelphia Union were victorious against the New England Revolution with a final score of 2-0, which clinched their first Supporters’ Shield in club history after a hard fought season saw them and Toronto needing a result in the final game to decide the winner.
Even if Toronto had been victorious today, the Union still would have clinched the trophy because of their goal differential.
Photo Credit: Toronto FC