HARRISON, N.J. (AP) Bradley Wright-Phillips is on a run and so are the New York Red Bulls.
Wright-Phillips scored his fifth goal in six games to give New York a first-half lead and the Red Bulls extended their unbeaten streak to six games with a 3-0 victory over Toronto FC on Saturday night.
”I feel confident, I always have,” said Wright-Phillips, who led the MLS with 27 goals last season. ”Things are working out a little bit more toward the middle of the season. I have always had chances, it was just a matter of me putting them away.”
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Wright-Phillips had three good scoring chances early in the second half and easily could have had a hat trick.
”I was getting in some decent areas and people were finding me, and I was getting some shots off,” the London native said. ”I was happy, that’s what I want in a game, and today I was lucky enough to put one in.”
The game winner came in the 27th minute with Wright-Phillips beating Joe Bendik in close after the Toronto goaltender made an outstanding save on a shot from the top of the box by Lloyd Sam a minute earlier.
Red Bulls forward Mike Grella got the ball back and slid a pass to Wright-Phillips after getting past a double team by Toronto defenders Josh Williams and Ahmed Kantari at the top of the box.
”We were playing a new system with new players all around him,” Grella said about Wright-Phillips. ”Everyone had to get used to one another. It just takes time and we are getting better and better every game.”
Anthony Wallace and Argentine newcomer Gonzalo Veron added second-half goals, and goalkeeper Luis Robles made three saves in setting a franchise record with 26 shutouts, breaking the old mark of Tony Meola.
”At the end of the day our objective is to win, not break records,’ Robles said. ”The one record we do want to break is we want a championship. We want to get an MLS Cup. We are well on the way working to that, but it’s a work in progress and we have some things to clean up. If we can make those weaknesses our strengths, we’ll have as good a shot as any team in the league.”
New York (11-6-6) is 5-0-1 in its current run, pulling to within five points of first-place DC United in the Eastern Conference with three games in hand. Toronto (9-10-4) is 1-3-1 in its last five.
Wallace scored on a cracking shot in the 66th minute. Veron scored on a rebound.
Toronto did not generate much offense. Marky Delgado missed the net early on counterattack and Sebastian Giovinco had a shot in stoppage time in the first half. Michael Bradley had a couple of nice passes into the box on set plays but no one was able to convert.
”They made some plays in front of the goal tonight and over the course of 90 minutes we were no quite able to do enough to put the game on our terms,” Bradley said. ”We’ll take a look at it and move on. We look forward to getting back home and playing our next two games at home.”
Bradley refused to blame international commitments, injuries and suspensions for Toronto’s inconsistency this season.
”Over the last 2 1/2 months of the season we have a lot of games at home, so still in our minds we have everything to play for,” he said. ”That is an exciting challenge.”