Red Bulls celebration
Luquinhas had two goals for the Red Bulls against Toronto. (Photo by Sarah Middlesteadt - JSN)

Red Bulls Shut Down Toronto on Fan Appreciation Night

All fight, no quit. The New York Red Bulls remain a contender after taking down Toronto FC in a 3-0 win. Another three points earned kept their playoff hopes alive with just one match left.

It was Fan Appreciation Night for the last game of the season at Red Bull Arena and the fans sure enough appreciated the effort that was put forth. The Red Bulls had nine shots in the first half with one finding the back of the net just before the whistle was blown for halftime.

Forward Elias Manoel caused a turnover just outside of Toronto’s 18-yard box and found forward Tom Barlow for a quick tap-in to make it 1-0 heading into the locker room.
New York’s head coach Troy Lesesne spoke on Barlow’s performance.

“Tom’s a guy who’s a very selfless individual,” Lesesne said. “He works incredibly hard for the group… It doesn’t always materialize into goals and assists and that’s his primary job. At the same time, there’s other components to the game as well especially our game. Tom’s been a part of this club now for five seasons and he gives every single ounce that he has and when he’s able to score goals like that tonight in important moments, it’s very satisfying not only for our group but for Tom and his family and I’m very happy to see that.”

New York entered the second half knowing a one-goal lead wasn’t enough. Just three minutes into the second half, midfielder Luquinhas took the ball right outside the box and rifled it into the bottom right corner to give the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead. It was only another 20 minutes before Luquinhas found another opportunity inside the box this time and buried it in the bottom left.

Goalkeeper Carlos Coronel appeared in his 100th MLS appearance with the Red Bulls and earned his ninth clean sheet of the season. The Red Bulls' intense style of play and effectiveness, only allowing one shot on goal, showed that there’s still a lot more fight in them.

“The intensity, it’s the way that we train so we could apply it in the game, and then the first goal came, then the second, and the third,” Coronel said. “We were efficient tonight, this is something that this season we lacked, but today it happened. The next game, it needs to happen again for us to continue to the dream of the playoffs.”

It was a big night for New York and the fans showed up with high energy and consistent support for their Red Bulls. The arena never fell silent and erupted with every goal. The constant support the fans showed all season had not gone unnoticed by the Red Bulls and they couldn’t thank them enough for staying loyal through all the ups and downs.

“I'd really like to thank our supporters,” Lesesne said. “You know, tonight was our last regular season home match. And we want to recognize them and all the support that they've given us this year, through again, maybe the most difficult season in Red Bulls history in the last 10-12 years. But I also want to say that hopefully we're going to provide another home match for them ,and that could look like us potentially hosting a play-in match. It could look like if we progress in the first round, it's a home and away fixture. So, our goal is that we're not done yet. We want to provide another home match.”

With just one match left on Decision Day, the Red Bulls are still in a standoff with four other teams for a playoff spot. Not only is a win necessary, but New York will need the help of other clubs in hopes of making it.

“It’s a good thing to have that in our hands, and we’re going to a tough place in Nashville, but we’re up for it,” Barlow said. “I think we’ve shown obviously it’s been a crazy year, but we’ve shown we can compete with any team in this league. When we’re doing our job, we’re together, and the pressure is good, we can beat anybody, so that’s our mentality. We’ll get ready these next couple of weeks for that big game. They have to be ready too. Cheer us on and we’ll get the three points.”

The Red Bulls will head to Nashville to face Nashville SC on Saturday, October 21 in hopes of earning their final three points of the season and clinching a playoff spot for the 14th consecutive year.