The New York Red Bulls collapsed late in a game again in a 3-3 draw with Toronto FC (13-8-8) at BMO Field.
Leading 3-1 after Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his second goal of the game early in the second half, Toronto FC's Jozy Altidore scored twice over the final 22 minutes.
Altidore scored on a free kick in the 68th minute, and scored the equalizer in the 86th minute.
The Red Bulls (12-9-9) scored first via an own goal in the 12th minute. Toronto FC defender Steven Beitashour redirected Felipe's cross into his own net.
Wright-Phillips doubled the lead in the 31st minute. Daniel Royer forced a turnover deep in the attacking third, and Wright-Phillips converted his chip shot.
Toronto FC pulled one back in the 41st minute when Michael Bradley finished a centering pass from Justin Morrow.
Wright-Phillips scored his second goal of the match -- and league-leading 20th of the season, in the 48th minute.
The Red Bulls' next match is on Saturday when they take on the Montreal Impact at Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls did it again. Holding a two-goal lead in the second half, they managed to let an opponent back into a match and give away what should have been a sure three points. It's no longer a trend, but a pattern, and a potentially dangerous one.
The Red Bulls have now settled for a draw after having a two-goal lead in the second half in 5 of their past 10 matches. #TORvNY- Thomas Floyd (@thomasfloyd10) September 18, 2016
The Red Bulls can continue to fritter away leads during the regular season with a spot in the playoffs all but assured. In a month, it won't be excusable and will likely result in elimination.
Similar to last weekend's collapse against D.C. United, the Red Bulls could have put the match away and rolled to a five- or six-goal margin of victory. However, their shooting was off-target, which is an odd complaint to make of a team that scored three goals. The match was a wide-open affair, with both teams having their share of scoring opportunities, but it really was the Red Bulls' to win.
Jesse Marsch's substitutions and late-game strategy continue to be worthy of examination. Despite Gonzalo Veron having an excellent run of form, he was left on the bench. Not starting the Argentine makes sense (he played 90 minutes on Thursday), but the wide-open match was calling out for his counter attacking ability. Marsch opted to substitute in Mike Grella, undoubtedly for his hard work on defense. Perhaps the Red Bulls should consider continuing to attack when holding a lead, instead of collapsing into a shell and hanging on for dear life.
There are four matches left in the regular season, which isn't a lot of time to fix the team's current issues. The Red Bulls can still reach first place in the Eastern Conference, but the Montreal Impact will provide a strong test next weekend. The next week of training should be filled with soul searching and a long hard look at how to hold onto a lead. If the Red Bulls' issues cannot be fixed, then they won't go very far in the playoffs.