Emotional. Frantic. Tactical. Physical.
The second leg of the Eastern Conference semi-final between Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls was everything you could ask for in a knockout match.
In the end, the Red Bulls won the battle, but lost the war with a 1-0 victory at BMO field Sunday afternoon following a 2-1 loss on home turf in the opening leg.
The first half went about according to plan for TFC. Coming into the match, the objective for TFC was to limit the Red Bulls opportunities and look for a quick strike on the counter. Despite not being able to find the back of the net, TFC held the Red Bulls to zero shots in the half.
While offensively the game left a lot to be desired, it was not without it’s own brand of fireworks. Three players earned yellow cards in the final 11 minutes of the first half.
First, Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan each got a yellow following a dust up after a foul on Giovinco. Altidore fell to the ground theatrically after Kljestan put his hands on the striker. Both players were sent off before the start of the second half for additional behavioral issues in the tunnel.
Michael Bradley earned a yellow card for dissent at the halftime whistle.
Emotions ran high on the sidelines as well. Jesse Marsch and Greg Vanney needed to be separated by security guards while walking into the locker room at halftime.
Daniel Royer forced the issue and opened the scoring for the Red Bulls. The first shot the Red Bulls took in the match came from 40 yards out from the center of the field. Royer sent the ball forward, and it deflected off of Bradley Wright-Phillips and found the back of the net in the 53rd minute, tying the game on aggregate with TFC leading on away goals. The goal was Wright-Phillips 100th in all competitions for the Red Bulls.
TFC will now take on the winner of Columbus Crew and New York City FC. They will head into the first leg missing Sebastian Giovinco and Altidore due to suspension.
Man of the Match
Aaron Long did a masterful job defending Giovinco on the afternoon keeping the diminutive dynamo at bay.
Moment of the Match
The dust-up between Jozy Altidore and Sacha Kljestan will have major ramifications heading into the next round.
Match to Forget
Jozy Altidore did very little to endear himself on the afternoon, and his dismissal could very well cost the team in the next round.