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Lewis Morgan Hat Trick Sinks TFC

photo by New York Red Bulls

Lewis Morgan with a hat trick, Aaron Long added one from a set-piece, Patryk Klimala with three assists, Frankie Amaya with two as the New York Red Bulls put on a clinical performance as they routed Toronto FC, 4-1.

The schedule makers were not very kind to Gerhard Struber and his crew, starting with two consecutive road matches for the 2022 campaign. Still, after getting a win out in San Jose, the team was more than confident of keeping it rolling at the capital city of Ontario in front of a raucous crowd at BMO Field.

With the Red Bulls without Cristian Casseres due to a hip flexor injury, coach Struber switched to a standard 4-4-2 formation. Defender Dylan Nealis was moved to a midfield position, and Tom Barlow scored a goal against San Jose last weekend, starting opposite Patryk Klimala. 

The match began with a blistering pace as both teams sought out dictate terms. But in the 17th minute, the Red Bulls would be the ones on the scoreboard first thanks to a team goal built up by Frankie Amaya, who got the ball over to Patryk Klimala and dished it to a charging Lewis Morgan with the great-looking finish.

Then the 24th minute, Lewis Morgan was again involved in the scoring. Patryk Klimala found a wide-open Morgan 30 yards from goal, mis-hits the ball, but his shot was strong enough to get it past Bono for a two-goal lead, stunning the home supporters into relative silence after the goal stood after a brief check with VAR.

Just and the Red Bulls were about to assert control of the match, the home supporters were awoken with a brilliant goal by Jesùs Jiménez. After taking a great pass from Luca Petrasso, he danced around the Red Bulls' defense, splitting through three players in the process to slice the lead in half in the 35th minute.

Still, the Red Bulls, or should I say Lewis Morgan, was not done in the 40th minute. Once again, he managed to find his way on the scoresheet as Patryk Klimala dished off a brilliant pass to Morgan on a break and slotted last Bono for his third of the match. The previous Red Bulls player that scored a hat trick on the road was Bradley Wright-Phillips during a 3-3 draw in 2018 against D.C. United.

Then just a scant two minutes later, defender Aaron Long got loose and scored on a set piece delivered beautifully by Frankie Amaya, and just like that, the visitors were in complete control of the match in the first half, 4-1. When the whistle was blown by referee Rubiel Vasquez ending the first half, the Red Bulls looked confident yet jubilant, and TFC was left looking for answers.

Even New York forward Tom Barlow, who scored a late goal against San Jose last weekend, tried to get in on the goal-fest in the 69th minute, but his shot wound up hitting the right post from the right side of the six-yard box as the ball was delivered by Patryk Klimala from a corner-kick. 

Lewis Morgan thought he bagged his 4th goal of the afternoon in the 87th minute but was denied by the linesman for an offside call. Practically, he was just about the only person that could keep him out of the net that afternoon. Patryk Klimala didn't wind up on the scoresheet this time, but his three assists did tie a long-standing record by the team. Homegrown player Zach Ryan made his first-team debut in the 90th minute.

"I think Lewis Morgan, today, he played very successful," head coach Gerhard Struber said postgame. "We can see, and everyone can see his technical abilities, and it's very good to see that he has a big impact in our game … I think Lewis sent me a big signal to play in the [No. 10 role] more like today."

When the final whistle was blown, the Red Bulls were the ones enjoying a pleased flight back to Harrison with two consecutive wins and 6 points in the bag, resulting in a very successful road trip early in the season before the home opener next weekend at Red Bull Arena on Sunday night. 


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