HARRISON, N.J. (AP) -- Joel Lindpere was faced with a tough
decision this week, deciding whether to travel to his native
Estonia and play for his national team in a Euro Championship
qualifying match against the Faeroe Islands or remain in the
United States and play for the New York Red Bulls in a key MLS
game against Toronto FC.
Lindpere chose the latter - and it worked out well, as he scored
his first goal since March 27, giving the Red Bulls a crucial
1-0 victory Wednesday night.
"I made this decision on my own," Lindpere said. "I spoke with
both coaches and I think this was the smart decision. I could
have gone home to play and see my family. I haven't seen my
family in a long time. I thought about all of those things, but
I thought of spending a lot of time on the plane."
The win enabled the Red Bulls, playing in their first MLS home
game in over a month, to snap a five-game winless streak and
improve their mark to 9-6-4 overall, remaining in second place
in the Eastern Conference standings with 31 points. Toronto FC
fell to 7-7-5 overall and 26 points.
It was the Red Bulls' first home win since defeating Chivas USA
on June 5. Their last home match was July 10 against D.C.
United, a game that ended in a scoreless draw. It was Lindpere's
first goal since the season opener March 27 against Chicago.
The two teams took very few chances in the first 20 minutes of
the game, trying to feel each other out. The Red Bulls had the
better of the action in the midfield, but had very few scoring
In the 23rd minute, Thierry Henry set up the match's first goal
by holding the ball for a few seconds, drawing three Toronto
defenders to him. Henry then passed it back to Seth Stammler,
who put the ball in front for the streaking Lindpere, who
knocked it in off a brief scramble for the ball. Toronto
goalkeeper Stefan Frei had no chance to stop the shot and New
York had a 1-0 lead that held up for the remainder of the match.
It was Lindpere's first goal since the season opener March 27
"It was okay, but I'm not the kind of guy who worries about
scoring goals," Lindpere said. "We needed the win and the three
points. That was more important."
Red Bulls goalkeeper Greg Sutton, appearing in his first regular
season MLS match, made two saves to record his first shutout for
the Red Bulls. Sutton was once the starting goalkeeper for
Toronto FC. Sutton was once the starting goalkeeper for Toronto
FC, where he collected seven shutouts over three seasons.
"I think the defense did a good job of limiting their scoring
opportunities," Sutton said. "You have to prepare yourself when
you get a shot to play. I think it's fairly ironic that I get my
first start against Toronto. That gave me a little added
Toronto had a good chance to tie the score 7 minutes later, when
defender Nick Garcia unleashed a shot from 40 yards out that
sailed over the crossbar.
Henry was replaced at halftime by Sinisa Ubiparipovic. He said
he was nursing a sore hamstring that limited his playing time to
just 20 minutes against Chicago last Sunday.
"I knew I wasn't going to be able to play the whole game," Henry
said. "I just tried to go out there with the opportunity to help
us out. I played 45 minutes. I wasn't expecting anything bad."
The second half featured very few scoring chances for either
team. Red Bulls captain Juan Pablo Angel, playing in the second
half as the lone forward after Henry departed, had a wide open
header in the 75th minute that just trickled wide of the goal.
Toronto FC's best chance at scoring took place in the 83rd
minute, when O'Brian White's shot from inside the penalty area
sailed over the crossbar.
The Red Bulls have another regular season home match Saturday
night against Landon Donovan and the Los Angeles Galaxy.