for this game

Red Bulls, Toronto FC settle for draw

May 2, 2008 - 2:21 AM By Bart van Veghel PA SportsTicker Contributing Writer

TORONTO (Ticker) -- In a cloudy, rain-filled night Toronto FC and the New York Red Bulls fought to a 1-1 tie on Thursday in a game rife with fouls and reckless play.

Toronto FC's new defenseman Marco Velez opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with his first career goal, scoring on a header from six yards out past Red Bulls goalkeeper Jon Conway.

The crossing pass came from Laurent Robert courtesy of a Hunter Freeman foul just outside the 18-yard box. It was TFC's third free-kick goal in as many games, with Robert involved in two of them.

Toronto's coach John Carver was impressed with his team's set play and its ability to deliver timely crosses into the box.

"It was a great header. Great ball in by Laurent," Carver said. "It took a bit of his frustration out because he's been under great pressure. If you give people time, they adjust to things and if you're prepared to work at it, good things will come."

Velez echoed those sentiments.

"I made eye contact with Laurent and he took the kick early, confusing the other team," Velez said. "I ended up being wide open and he delivered a great ball. I didn't have to do much."

New York nearly answered shortly thereafter when striker Juan Pablo Angel glanced a header just over the bar in the 28th minute.

Toronto had not conceded a goal in over four hours until Red Bulls midfielder Dave van den Bergh smoked a left-footed strike from 22 yards out on a free kick, curling the ball under the TFC wall and inside the left post for his second goal of the year just seconds shy of the 39th minute.

Acknowledging the weather, Van den Bergh choose to take the set piece and it paid off.

"With the wind it wasn't right for a right-footed player so I decided to take a crack," van den Bergh said. "I felt I had a good chance hitting it into the bottom corner, and with Claudio (Reyna) in the wall I tried to drill it under the wall."

New York was dealt a blow at halftime when their captain, Reyna, left the contest with an undisclosed lower left leg injury.

"I felt the leg tighten up on the turf." Reyna said. "My calf just tightened up and towards the end of the half I decided to take the precaution and sit out. I didn't want to risk it. We play in 10 days and I'm sure it will loosen up and I'll be fine."

The second half started with a flurry of fouls and rough play, climaxing in the 49th minute, where a scuffle led to a yellow card being given out to TFC's Robert for pushing the Red Bulls' Jozy Altidore after a foul was committed.

Toronto's Amado Guevara followed suit one minute later and received a yellow card for a questionable foul on New York's Mike Magee. The Red Bulls' Sinisa Ubiparipovic received a yellow card for a slide from behind in the 70th minute.

Ex-Red Bull Guevara nearly snatched the game away in the 90th minute with a late volley from outside the 18-yard box, only to be caught by Conway to preserve the 1-1 tie.

Toronto is now 4-0-1 when scoring the first goal. The Red Bulls are 1-1-0 when coming from behind and lead the all-time series at 2-1-1.

Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio was impressed with the atmosphere at BMO field but disappointed with the results.

"Our players are excited to play in this sort of environment week in and week out," Osorio said. "Most of the players thrive on the challenge of playing in front of 20,000 people. However, we were the better team with the better options, we controlled the play and we could have had the three points."

With the tight, rough play, Toronto and New York each managed only three shot attempts, with only one shot on goal. Neither goalie was credited with a save.

Despite the rain and cold temperatures, attendance was 19,816.