The New York Red Bulls hung on to beat Toronto F.C 1-0 on Saturday with Luis Robles stifling the MLS champions with a string of staggering stops.
It wasn’t pretty but on a hot summer’s day in Toronto, the New York Red Bulls picked up a win, moving into second place of the Eastern Conference and Supporters Shield standings.
With the three away points in the bag, the Red Bulls roll into the month of July continuing their unbeaten streak of five MLS games. Despite a less-than-impressive performance against Toronto FC, head coach Jesse Marsch was upbeat:
“Yeah not our best game by any means. The weather was a complete factor. Being so hot we made a lot of simple mistakes we don’t normally make. You have to really tip your hat to Luis for not only the penalty save but all the other saves he made today. You know you go through a season sometimes where you don’t play your best but to find a way to get a big result on the road, three points, right now puts us second in the league with games in hand and a chance to keep chasing the season so overall a really good result.”
The Red Bulls got off to an early lead in the 4th minute through Kemar Lawrence’s shot that bounced through the hands of Alex Bono. In just two weeks, Kemar Lawrence has scored twice, doubling his career total with New York.
From there on the Red Bulls struggled to create clear-cut chances and control possession, and instead, it was Luis Robles that saved the game.
Saving 3 points
Seven of Robles’ eight saves came in the second half, just when it mattered the most as the Red Bulls tried to hold onto a fragile one-goal lead. From the start of the second half to the 55th minute, Robles came off his line on three separate occasions and blanked efforts from Michael Bradley, Jordan Hamilton and Marco Delgado, all with different parts of his body.
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“In a way I appreciated that opportunity Hamilton had because it was so early on, you don’t really think about it, it was a bang-bang play but now all of a sudden I’m locked in and it turns out for the rest of the half I was pretty busy.”
With that said, the Red Bulls got off to a poor start in the second half and Robles’ efforts proved instrumental in allowing the team to momentarily get back into the game.
The game almost slipped away again in the 75th minute when Robles’ save on Jonathan Osorio landed in front of Tim Parker who fell on top of the ball and subsequently touched it with his hand. After VAR review, referee Chico Grajeda pointed to the spot awarding Toronto a penalty. Sebastian Giovinco stepped up but his shot was saved by Robles. Before the penalty kick, Robles said he already made up his mind.
“It’s not a thought in my mind. When the penalty is called you start to calculate in your mind how you’re going to go about this and before the game I had already decided that I was going to go this way and it turns out a penalty was called and my mind was already made up. I was fortunate that the ball was in a place that I could save it because even if I guess right, if the ball is blasted hard enough it still goes in.”
With that penalty save at the death, the Red Bulls walk out of BMO field unscathed and now look ahead to the third installment of the Hudson River Derby. And with Robles between the sticks, they will be confident of yet another stirring, and stifling, performance and victory.