Gonzalo Veron

Photo credit: Toronto FC / @torontofc

MLS Snapshot: TFC outlast RBNY, claim first Supporters’ Shield

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The game in 100 words (or less): At long last — after eight years without ever qualifying for the playoffs, and 10 without a major MLS trophy to show for all their heartache — Toronto FC are 2017 Supporters’ Shield winners.

Greg Vanney’s side limped to the finish line this week and last, but they got there in the end, with two games to spare. The Reds completed one of the best regular seasons in league history on Saturday, narrowly outlasting the New York Red Bulls, 3-2, to win — and lift — the Shield in front of their home fans. They did so without the service of Sebastian Giovinco, who’s now missed four straight games with what the club has called “lower-body tightness.” Justin Morrow wound up the unlikeliest scorer of a hat trick to clinch a trophy, bagging goals five minutes apart not long before halftime, setting up MLS assist king (16) Victor Vazquez to score the game- and Shield-winning goal from the penalty spot just 10 minutes before full-time.

[ MORE: SKC, VAN face off for West supremacy; HOU still chasing playoffs ]

Three Four Five moments that mattered

32′ — Morrow cleans up a mess in front of goal for 1-0 — Victor Vazquez played the long diagonal to Jozy Altidore, who headed the ball back across the face of goal and into the danger zone. No one in blue dealt with it, and Morrow was the quickest to react.

37′ — Morrow pokes another one home, and it’s 2-0 — Michael Bradley’s shot was blocked and deflected t0 — you guessed it — Morrow, with nothing in between him and goalkeeper Luis Robles. Decent composure in front of goal for a full back.

39′ — Veron hits right back, brings RBNY to 2-1 — slots past Bono after Tyler Adams’ inch-perfect ball plays him behind the backline.

77′ — Royer converts from the spot after Veron gets taken down — Drew Moor slid clear through Veron inside the penalty area to give away a largely needless penalty. Royer sent Bono one way and dinked the ball the other.

80′ — Vazquez converts one of his own after Altidore goes down — Aaron Long was all over Jozy Altidore who, big as he might be, had to go down under that much contact — penalty rightly given. Vazquez made it look easy.

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Man of the match: Justin Morrow

Goalscorers: Morrow (32′, 37′, 90+1′), Veron (39′), Royer (77′ – PK), Vazquez (80′ – PK)

Red Bulls storm back against FC Cincinnati to reach Open Cup final

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FC Cincinnati looked to be on the verge of another historic victory at Nippert Stadium, but that was before Bradley Wright-Phillips had his say in the matter.

[ MORE: Rapids fire Pablo Mastroeni in fourth MLS coach dismissal in 2017 ]

The New York Red Bulls notched an impressive comeback on Tuesday night to knock off Cincinnati, 3-2, in the U.S. Open Cup semifinals.

The Red Bulls will now move on to face Sporting KC in the Open Cup final on September 20 at Children’s Mercy Park in Kansas City.

The 33,250 supporters in the crowd on Tuesday marked the second-highest attended match in the Open Cup’s history, according to TheCup.us.

Wright-Phillips grew his legend with the Red Bulls after recording a brace for the MLS club (his 93rd and 94th goals). Alan Koch’s side managed to stifle the veteran Englishman for most of the night, but Wright-Phillips kept on doing what he does best when it matters most.

The 32-year-old goalscorer tallied his second goal of the night in the 101st minute to help the Red Bulls complete their comeback, after having previously trailed by two goals inside the final 20 minutes.

Cincinnati was certainly on the back foot in terms of chances created throughout the night, but Austen Berry made no mistake with his opportunity in the 62nd minute, which gave the home side a 2-0 advantage.

The 28-year-old defender broke free on a corner kick from Kenney Walker, and Berry’s aerial effort left Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara with absolutely no chance.

This came after Corben Bone had sent Cincy out in front near the half-hour mark.

Just as the team looked dead in the water, goals from Gonzalo Veron and Wright-Phillips broke the hearts of Cincinnati inside the final 15 minutes of regulation.

For Cincinnati, Veron’s finish marked the first time the club has conceded in this year’s competition.

MLS Snapshot: New England 2-3 New York Red Bulls (video)

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The game in 100 words (or less)Jay Heaps and the New England Revolution threw away two wonderful plays from Diego Fagundez, and perhaps their playoffs hopes in the process. New England is now eight points back of the sixth spot in the East, while New York stays within shouting distance of the Top Six. Coach Jesse Marsch is now the winningest coach in RBNY history, while Heaps days of adding to his total as Revs boss may be dwindling down to zero.

(Some of) The goals

21′ — Pretty build-up, gutsy finish — The first example of Fagundez’s fantastic playmaking was met by Teal Bunbury’s fearless finish. It’s a shame few fans will be thinking about it following the match.

23′ — BWP’s vicious equalizer — Sometime it’s more power than placement.

26′ — Fagundez wins the ball back, finds Nguyen — Look at this mazey dribble from the 22-year-old Uruguayan.

90′ — Veron gets on the board — Not a banner moment for keeper positioning, but the Argentine from San Lorenzo has his first of the season to just drive a sledgehammer into New England’s collective gut.

Man of the Match: Fagundez.

Reports: RBNY adds young Argentine DP as MLS transfer surge continues

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There are 1,000 reasons we shouldn’t make any Spring MLS predictions regarding who will be left standing in December, and the August transfer window coming with two months left in the Major League Soccer season is one of them.

The New York Red Bulls strengthened again on Tuesday, picking up 25-year-old Argentine midfielder Gonzalo Veron. The move comes one week after New York signed Shaun Wright-Phillips, now No. 98 to his brother’s 99 on RBNY.

[ MORE: Cascadia Cup toilet humor ]

A winger, Veron scored eight times in 52 appearances for Argentine power San Lorenzo, and will bring his attacking prowess to a unit with Sacha Kljestan and Dax McCarty.

Full marks to Jesse Marsch for keeping this basically brand-new unit near the top of the East despite roster tumult that saw Thierry Henry, Eric Alexander, Ambroise Oyongo and Tim Cahill skip town along with coach Mike Petke this offseason.

But, again, considering the league is on a non-traditional schedule that sees loads of transfers in August, those of us who predicted that RBNY would finish near the bottom of the East shouldn’t feel too bad.

Look at the pickups this month alone: RBNY, Montreal and Seattle have all added unexpected pieces. Go back a month with Steven Gerrard, Frank Lampard, Andrea Pirlo, et. al. This is one of the unexpected boons of the unorthodox window, but also disappointing to teams that plan a bit better.

The transfer windows fall before and midway through the European calendar. They fall well before and near the end of the MLS season. That’s not going to change any time soon, but it continues to make the MLS regular season feel a bit unsteady (even given the parity of the league).