Derisive Chants Became the Story of Red Bulls First Leg Playoff Match with Toronto, but Where was the Outrage Last week?
In the first leg of their playoff tie with Toronto F.C., the New York Red Bulls showed it could go toe-to-toe with the tournament favorites. However, in the end, they find themselves down 2-1 needing at least a 2-0 win to advance thanks to Toronto’s two away goals.
Despite the relatively high level of soccer played at Red Bull Arena in this fixture, the story became the booing and the chanting in the supporter section.
Each time United States Men’s National Team members Jozy Altidore and Michael Bradley touched the ball for Toronto FC, they were loudly booed and during breaks in the action, were the focus of derisive chants.
Post game, Altidore stated that the chants were, “a bit classless”.
Bradley was victim of the vitriol as well. The boos cascaded every time he touched the ball and faced chants of, “Roma Reject” – in reference to his transfer away from Roma of the Italian Serie A, and faced several “[Expletive] you Bradley” chants during the course of the match.
Toronto FC coach Greg Vanney, called the chants “nonsense” and that it takes more than two players to miss a World Cup.
There’s no question that the anger toward the two stemmed not only from a USA squad that will not participate in World Cup 2018 in Russia, but en-route to missing qualification, the US’s last performance against Costa Rica at Red Bull Arena.
After that match, there was frustration from USMNT players and fans that Red Bull Arena didn’t provide enough of a “home field advantage” for the United States.
Although some of the chants may have been over the top, it is worth noting that similar chants and booing were directed at Altidore and Bradley when they played at Atlanta United in the last week of the season.
So why the outrage now? Simple: a more national audience and it’s New York.
As it stands from a soccer perspective, the Red Bulls have it all to do in the second leg. They find themselves down 2-1 on aggregate and in worse shape due to conceding two away goals. New York will need at least a 2-0 victory to advance.