Toronto FC hadn't lost a home MLS match in more than a year, a span of 17 matches, but the New York Red Bulls put an end to that dominance with their best performance of the year.
Bolstered by Rafa Marquez's first MLS goal, and some costly errors by Toronto, the Red Bulls captured a 4-1 victory against TFC on Saturday afternoon.
The Red Bulls opened the scoring on a 30-year blast from Marquez, who also helped set up New York's second goal when he sent a dangerous free kick at the TFC goal that Toronto midfielder Joseph Nane accidentally re-directed into his own net.
Toronto had some hope early in the second half on a Dwayne DeRosario goal, but when Juan Pablo Angel converted a penalty kick earned on an intentional handball in the penalty area by Nana Attakora (who was red-carded in the process), the Red Bulls were in completely control.
The victory, the Red Bulls' tenth of the season, pushed New York eight points clear of Toronto for second place in the East, and also helped the team double its win total in 2009 (a franchise-worst five).
Here are the match highlights:
Former TFC standout Carl Robinson came on as a second-half substitute for New York, receiving an impressive round of applause from the Toronto faithful. Robinson wound up scoring New York's fourth goal, heading home a Dane Richards cross, but the Welsh midfielder refused to celebrate out of respect for his former fans.
While Marquez did score his first MLS goal, Thierry Henry once again failed to find the net. Henry had a few good looks, but couldn't put any past Stefan Frei before coming off for Salou Ibrahim with the Red Bulls leading 3-1.
One player who did impress was rookie Tony Tchani, a commanding presence in central midfield all day long. Dane Richards also caused problems for the TFC defense, while Marquez improved considerably on his flat performance against Los Angeles last week.
For Toronto, the loss was a painful one, not only because of the playoff implications, but because it cooled some of the momentum the club was feeling following last week's CONCACAF Champions League victory against Cruz Azul. Now TFC will have an even tougher time in the race for the playoffs, with San Jose winning on Saturday and Chicago lingering with several games in hand.
New York doesn't look to have such concerns. The Red Bulls have an eight-point cushion on an automatic playoff berth and have yet to see their newly-acquired Designated Players play their best yet.