Bradley Wright-Phillips can’t believe he missed a late goal for the Red Bulls. (Dan Hamilton/USA TODAY Sports)
TORONTO — It has become a traditional as the leaves turning color in autumn: the Red Bulls’ getting eliminated from the playoffs.
Despite recording a 1-0 win over Toronto FC in the second leg of their MLS Eastern Conference semifinal playoff series, the Red Bulls still were booted from the postseason — again.
Toronto booked a spot in the conference final on the strength of two away goals tallied in the first leg at Red Bull Arena last Monday. The aggregate goal total was 2-2.
Besides the elimination, the game will be remembered for Toronto striker Jozy Altidore and Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan sent off after a tunnel melee at halftime.
The Supporters Shield winners will be without star striker Sebastian Giovinco for the next game after he accrued his second yellow in two games. TFC will play the Columbus Crew SC in the conference final.
Toronto FC took only three shots on goal over 180 minutes.
“They should be feeling like they escaped because they did,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said.
One of the few bright sides for Red Bulls, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 100th career goal in all competitions for the sixth-seeded Red Bulls. A long-range shot deflected in off him in the 53rd minute.
Daniel Royer’s shot is redirected in by BWP and we need one more in Toronto!!! ⚽️
Posted by New York Red Bulls on Sunday, 5 November 2017
Video courtesy of Red Bulls’ Facebook page
“We should have won the [series]. We were the better team,” he said. “The chance that fell to me at the end, I’ve got to score that and we’re in the next round.”
That occurred in the 62nd minute, when BWP was denied by goalkeeper Alex Bono.
A Toronto goal by Jonathan Osorio in the 78th was called off due to a foul, apparently for what was considered a shove. Things got even uglier minutes later when a drink was thrown from the stands at referee Chris Penso after he booked Giovinco.
“Any other team finds a way to lose this series,” Toronto captain Michael Bradley said. “They did nothing. They score a deflected goal, which makes the last 30, 35 minutes tight. But we kept our nerve, made big plays when we needed to.