Alejandro Romero “Kaku” Gamarra and Derrick Etienne scored in the second half as the host New York Red Bulls defeated Toronto FC 2-0 Saturday afternoon, dealing a blow to the defending MLS Cup champions’ playoff hopes.
Gamarra opened the scoring in the 70th minute on an unassisted goal off a scramble with several Toronto defenders in front of the net and Etienne notched his goal in second-half stoppage time off a pass from Bradley Wright-Phillips as the Red Bulls (18-7-5, 59 points) kept pressure on Atlanta United FC in the race for the Supporters’ Shield that goes to the team with the best regular-season record.
New York goalkeeper Luis Robles made four saves for the shutout.
Toronto (8-15-6, 30 points) entered the day in ninth place, nine points out of a playoff spot.
The Red Bulls nearly opened the scoring on a corner kick in the 50th minute, as a header by Tim Parker glanced off the leg of Toronto defender Victor Vazquez and then off the left post before goalkeeper Alexander Bono corralled the ball.
New York dominated play early in a scoreless first half, forcing Bono into two saves in the opening 10 minutes.
Bono stopped a shot by Wright-Phillips that was headed for the upper left corner in the sixth minute and a Gamarra attempt that was headed for the lower right corner in the 10th.
Bono also thwarted Wright-Phillips in the 43rd minute on a shot from the left side of the 18-yard box.
New York’s Robles was forced to make just one save in the first half, on a 12-yard shot from the center of the box by Lucas Janson in the 25th minute.
Toronto forward Jozy Altidore had to come off early in the second half after suffering an apparent lower right leg injury.
Toronto also had to play without leading scorer Sebastian Giovinco, who suffered calf cramps Wednesday in a 3-1 loss to Tigres UANL in the inaugural Campeones Cup. Giovinco leads the team with 11 goals and is tied with Gamarra for second in MLS with 14 assists.
—Field Level Media