TFC flops in bid for playoff spot

STEVEN SANDOR, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 1:32 PM ET

On a miserable night in New Jersey, Toronto FC came out with the most miserable performance, most miserable result, in the club's history.

Hey, on a night that the Maple Leafs lost their eighth in row, they were only the second-worst team in the MLSEL empire.

In a game that the Reds needed to win in order to have a realistic shot at one of the two remaining MLS playoff spots going into the final week of the regular season, they allowed the New York Red Bulls to score before the game was two minutes old, and never recovered, swamped 5-0 in the Swamp.

"We've come here looking for three points and we did not perform at all," Toronto FC director of soccer Mo Johnston said to a media scrum after the game.

He added he was "shocked" by the team's performance.

A half-hour after TFC's flop came confirmation that the Reds were officially were eliminated from the post-season scramble, as D.C. United's draw with Kansas City was enough to ensure that there would be no playoffs in Toronto for the third season in a row.

Last night's match, the final one to be played at Giants Stadium, was delayed 23 minutes because of thunderstorms and torrential rain. Still, the game kicked off in driving rain, with standing water in spots throughout the artificial pitch. It wasn't a festive send-off; the few thousands of home fans who still bother to regularly go to Red Bulls matches stayed home or were driven inside to the concourses.

But, despite the brutal conditions, Red Bulls striker Macoumba Kandji ran on to a flick from fellow forward Juan Pablo Angel, split TFC defenders Nana Attakora and Emmanuel Gomez, the latter who elected not to try a last-ditch tackle, and slipped the ball past a helpless Brian Edwards in the Toronto goal.

Angel doubled the advantage at the half-hour mark, stepping around defender Adrian Serioux and striking a well-placed shot into the corner of the TFC goal.

TFC had two decent first-half chances, strikes from Amado Guevara and Serioux, but both were handled by Red Bulls keeper Bouna Coundoul. And things went from bad to worse when striker Chad Barrett, struggling after colliding with Condoul earlier in the match, had to leave at the half-hour mark.

Angel added another goal in a second half. Kandji scored his second goal before Matthew Mbuta added a penalty-kick goal in time added on.

New York had only four wins and 22 goals going into their 30th and final match of the regular season but TFC's spotty defence allowed the Red Bulls to bid a happy farewell to Giants Stadium. The Red Bulls needed to score four times in order to avoid posting the lowest goals-for total in MLS history.

STEVEN.SANDOR@SUNMEDIA.CA


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