Despite a sluggish start, the New York Red Bulls emerged with a 2-0 home win over Toronto FC on Saturday night in Harrison, New Jersey.
A 55th-minute own goal by Toronto center-back Chris Mavinga -- a mistake that was created by Red Bulls midfielder Alejandro "Kaku" Romero Gamarra -- helped key the Red Bulls' win.
The opening 45 minutes were not kind to the Red Bulls, who conceded the vast majority of possession and scoring chances to the visitors. The second half saw a different side of New York, which pushed the ball forward and with more purpose before the go-ahead goal.
After some skillful work got him free on the right side of the penalty area, Kaku's attempted cross was deflected off Mavinga inside the back post.
The Red Bulls had multiple chances to add to the lead in the second half, including a missed penalty kick and a shot off the post. They would double their lead in second-half stoppage when left back Kemar Lawrence one-timed a shot with his left foot from a sharp angle.
With the win, the Red Bulls rebounded from a lackluster performance a week ago in a 3-2 home loss to the Columbus Crew. New York is now 12-2-2 all-time against Toronto at Red Bull Arena.
While it was Kaku who set up the winning goal, it was Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles who was the difference maker in the match.
Several times in the first half, Robles was forced into big saves. In the 42nd minute, Alejandro Pozuelo created space with a series of intrepid moves, with his shot from 16 yards hitting off the post and then rebounding off the back of Robles for a Toronto corner kick.
Two minutes later, Robles again rose to the occasion, this time sprawling to clear the ball off the line following a point-blank shot from midfielder Jacob Shaffelburg at the back post. Robles finished with three saves in his sixth shutout of the season.
Much of Toronto's spark came down the left flank, where they went after Rece Buckmaster. The Red Bulls' right-back, signed Saturday morning from their reserve team, was making his first MLS start and was hesitant at times in his defending.
In the 88th minute, Toronto's Justin Morrow was shown a red card for his foul on Bradley Wright-Phillips. The defender dragged down the New York forward, who was in behind the Toronto backline and bearing down on goal.