The New York Red Bulls cemented their second-place standing in the Eastern Conference by blanking a direct competitor with a 3-0 shutout of Toronto FC on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.
RBNY extended their unbeaten run to six games behind goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips, Anthony Wallace and Gonzalo Veron, while Toronto's leading-MVP candidate Sebastian Giovinco was completely shut down in his first visit to Red Bull Arena.
There were few chances for either side in the first half, but the Red Bulls used a moment of inspiration from Mike Grella to open the scoring in the 27th minute. Grella threaded a perfect ball from just outside the box to Wright-Phillips, who took a touch onto his left foot and got it by onrushing Toronto goalkeeper Joe Bendik.
The Red Bulls managed their lead comfortably into the second half when Wallace doubled it with a sensational strike in the 67th minute. After failing to score in his first seven seasons in MLS, Wallace added his second of the 2015 season with a searing, long-distance rocket past the diving Bendik.
Toronto FC enjoyed their best moments when Herculez Gomez came into the match as a substitute in the 71st minute, making his return to MLS after six years spent in Mexico. The former US international provided energy for the visitors, including a laser in the 74th minute that forced goalkeeper Luis Robles to make a nice save.
Red Bulls new signing Veron added his first goal in MLS in the closing moments, putting home a rebound after a Bendik save.
On the defensive end, Robles kept the clean sheet for his 26th shutout in a Red Bulls uniform, passing Tony Meola for the most in club history.
The Red Bulls have a weekend bye coming up, but will return to MLS action on August 26 when they travel to Chicago to take on the Fire. Toronto FC will play Orlando City SC at BMO Field next Saturday.