EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — Teenager Caden Clark continued the torrid start to his MLS career, scoring his second goal in as many games to lift the New York Red Bulls into a 1-1 tie with Toronto FC on Wednesday night.
Clark, who turned 17 in May, marked his debut on the weekend with a spectacular volley off a corner against Atlanta. He did it again in the 77th minute Wednesday, finding the top corner with his a left-footed rocket from outside the penalty box.
The late goal ended Toronto’s win streak at five games, one short of matching the club record.
Introduced in the 59th minute, Clark added immediate punch to the New York offence. The Minnesota native was riding a high after becoming the fifth-youngest MLS player to score on debut.
Toronto (11-2-5) is still undefeated in eight games (6-0-2), a run that also included victories over Montreal, New York City FC, Columbus Crew SC, the Philadelphia Union, New England Revolution and FC Cincinnati.
The Red Bulls (7-8-3) were coming off a 1-0 win Saturday in Atlanta that snapped a two-game losing streak.
Toronto’s Alejandro Pozuelo opened the scoring from the penalty spot in the 23rd minute after Ayo Akinola’s rising shot off a corner hit Dru Yearwood’s arm. It was the eighth goal of the season for Pozuelo.
Goalkeeper Ryan Meara stood rooted to the spot as Pozuelo, who upped his career MLS penalty success rate to 10-of-11, rolled the ball into the corner of goal.
The Spaniard missed one-of-two spot kicks in a 1-1 tie against NYCFC at Yankee Stadium last September. A failed attempt to pass the ball from the penalty spot to teammate Pablo Piatti in a 1-0 loss to Montreal earlier this season apparently is not considered an attempt.
Yearwood appeared to have redeemed himself in the 32nd minute with a shot through traffic that went in from a corner. But a Red Bull player was ruled to be offside and interfering with goalkeeper Quentin Westberg.
Pozuelo had chances for more goals at Pratt and Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field but his shots hit bodies, went wide or were saved.
TFC has lost just two of 28 regular-season games (16-2-10) since a 2-0 defeat at the Red Bulls on Aug. 3, 2019. A 3-1 loss to NYCFC on July 26 in round-of-16 play at the MLS is Back Tournament doesn’t count because the knockout rounds of the competition did not factor into the standings.
Wednesday’s game was the fourth in 12 days for Toronto, which faces Atlanta on Sunday.
Greg Vanney made four changes from his weekend lineup in Cincinnati, bringing back Chris Mavinga, Nick DeLeon, Piatti and Akinola.
Newly signed homegrown player Ralph Priso made the bench. The 18-year-old midfielder from Toronto, a Canada under-17 youth international who joined the Toronto academy in January 2017, wore No. 97. He is the 25th player to sign for the first team from the academy.
Pozuelo had a pair of early chances for Toronto. Meara made the save to deny the Spaniard in the eighth minute off a nice give-and-go with DeLeon. Pozuelo then shot wide off the ensuing corner.
Jonathan Osorio split the defence and found Akinola in the 17th minute but the striker could not get the shot away. Three minutes later, Meara parried Piatti’s swerving shot from just outside the penalty box.
Westberg made a diving one-handed save to deflect a Florian Valot shot in the 29th minute of a first half that saw 63 per cent possession for Toronto despite the Red Bulls’ trademark high press.
Pozuelo had another chance in the 53rd minute but his weak shot was easily saved. Westberg then stopped Tom Barlow from close range after defender Omar Gonzalez’s header didn’t reach his goalkeeper.
Pozuelo found Akinola with a through ball but his shot deflected off a defender. Another Pozuelo chance bounced off a Red Bulls body in front of goal in the 74rd.
Former Whitecap defender Tim Parker captained the Red Bulls with skipper Sean Davis, who returned to action on the weekend from a knee injury, starting on the bench. Austrian attacking midfielder Daniel Royer, who leads the team with four goals, came off the bench in the second half.
The two teams will meet again in the regular-season finale Nov. 8 at Red Bull Arena.