Fresh off a first-round bye, the New York Red Bulls traveled to MAPFRE Stadium to face the Columbus Crew. The Crew had to battle through 120 minutes and a penalty shootout to eliminate DC United from the 2018 MLS Playoffs.
So, I have been a part of the #SaveTheCrew movement. And it seems to have worked. But now… it’s time to Save the Empire. (The initial name for the NY/NJ MLS team was Empire Soccer Club.)
DISCLAIMER: One of my favorite players (my 10-year-old) had a game about the same time as the playoff game. I had to listen to the Crew radio play-by-play to get any sense of what was happening in Columbus.
It wasn’t pretty.
WHAT’S WITH TODAY, TODAY?: The only goal of the game was scored for the Crew by striker Gyasi Zardes. While RBNY had a handle on the possession and attack throughout the match, they couldn’t finish their chances. Their set pieces didn’t yield any useful results, and a momentary lapse was all it took for the Crew to get behind the defense.
I feel as if I have said this before.
WE MUSTN’T DWELL: There are plenty of serviceable cliches that can be used now. “It’s only halftime.” “Down but not out.” The team has to focus on the things that have brought them this far. Supporter’s Shield winners. CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals. Open Cup runs. They’ve fallen short. There is no shortage of articles from any soccer outlet quick to point this out. This is the moment to flip the script. And if they can do it, nothing will stand in their way.
DAMN THE MAN, SAVE THE EMPIRE: The second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals will be back at Red Bull Arena, a fortress for the team. With the fans behind them, the team is ready to give it all they’ve got. They will have their Rex Manning Day.
This isn’t a day to just build momentum for the playoffs. Not a time to sit back and prepare for a couple of months off. No one is here to just contemplate his future with his club. The Supporter’s Shield is not absolutely decided yet.
There’s a party to be had. Or one to crash.
Orlando City SC sits in last place for the Eastern Conference. Former Red Bull New York captain Sacha Kljestan is ready to keep his former team from the prize that he once lifted for them.
Just north of the border, Toronto FC hosts Atlanta United. The reigning MLS Cup Champions and current Shield holders have been edged out of the playoffs. With a win by ATL, Atlanta could take both the Shield and the season points record at BMO Field.
Red Bulls rooting for Toronto? Atlanta rooting for Orlando?
This is one strange party.
SUPPORTER’S DAY: From the Fan-designed scarves to the supporter group bubble soccer match at halftime, today was for the fans. They are the reason the Shield is a thing. In other leagues around the world, today would be the final game of the season. They don’t “do” playoffs. And with the Shield within reach, the team was compelled to give it all they had.
NOT SO FAST: Scoreless on both sides in the first half, this wasn’t going to be easy. Toronto FC was nice enough to score two goals, which would do the job. But an actual win would be much more satisfying.
THAT’S THE STUFF: Derrick Etienne, Jr., RBNY’s “Haitian Messi,” who missed a penalty kick in the first half, made a beautiful goal in the 53rd minute. He’s had a rough season, unable to finish the chances he’s had. But he was able to sneak the ball under Orlando goalkeeper Adam Grinwis‘s arm and into the net.
Dom Dwyer found the back of the net ten minutes later, but…… (here we go again…)
The Assistant Referee called Dwyer offside, and VAR confirmed it. So while a scoreline of 1-0 isn’t incredibly sexy, it accomplished the mission. (Oh, and did I mention Toronto ended up winning 4-1? Because yeah they did.)
WHEN IN DOUBT, IMPROVISE: Who doesn’t love a good trophy raise? Only trouble was, the trophy won tonight was out of town. But the team had a banner. They had confetti cannons. They even plasticated the locker room for the champagne showers (plasticate is a word, don’t @ me). So what do they do?
Seriously, though: Congratulations to the New York Red Bulls. The most home points, the most home wins, a league record for points earned, and the third Supporter’s Shield in 6 seasons. A hell of a way to close the season. On to the playoffs!
How much of a bummer would it have been for me to have to report on a loss on my first article back from my hiatus? Thanks to the boys in white, I don’t have to worry about such things.
LONG TIME COMING: I don’t usually know factoids like this… The New York Red Bulls have not won an away game against the San Jose Earthquakes during the regular season since it was the Metrostars playing the Clash (2003). That’s a mighty long time. They did defeat the Earthquakes in a playoff match in 2010. That and two dollars gets them a ride on the subway. The Colorado Rapids won the Cup that year. But I digress.
It could have been a loss. Despite the strongest roster in recent history. Regardless of the resounding win against Atlanta the week before. MLS does… well… MLS things. A cross-country trek. An international break looming. Two usual starters not even along for the trip (Tyler Adams and Daniel Royer). So there was no foregone conclusion for the evening.
‘SICK’ IS A COMPLIMENT: RBNY used their signature High Press tactic to keep the possession and the threat close to the San Jose goal. Quakes goalkeeper James Marcinkowski, a 21-year-old Academy product, held up for the most part. But then Red Bull workhorse midfielder Alex Muyl recovered Marcinkowski’s deflection of Michael Amir Murillo’s shot and quite literally rode it into the net.
I want you to note that striker Bradley Wright-Phillips was quite close to the action. He could have gotten a foot on there as well. But he didn’t have to, and he knew it. Besides, his time was coming. About 200 seconds later.
Marc Rzatkowski took a free kick that Wright-Phillips got his head on. But it bounced off the far post. But it went right back to Wright-Phillips.
SO. HE. ASSISTED. HIMSELF.
If that isn’t the stuff of legend, I don’t know what to tell you.
THIRD TIME WAS A CHARM: It just kept getting better. Starting with a corner kick (courtesy of RZA), dynamic defender duo Tim Parker and Aaron Long joined forces to land the ball in the net a third time.
(If you didn’t see the play… you have to see the play. Seriously. On a loop.)
ON TO THE NEXT: I could talk about Chris Wondolowski’s goal (83′), but quite frankly I’d rather mention how he missed an open net a few minutes before and made me giggle uncontrollably. But that’s neither here nor there… let the Quakes get their own reporter.
It’s time for an international break. Six players are headed to national team call ups: Derrick Etienne Jr, Haiti; Kemar Lawrence, Jamaica; Amir Murillo and Fidel Escobar, Panama; Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra, Paraguay; and Aaron Long, United States.
Then comes one more away match against the Philadelphia Union and the final home match of the regular season against Orlando City. The Red Bulls have already secured a spot and a first-round bye in the playoffs.
Sorry, folks. I’ve actually been working 7 days a week for the past two months. I barely got to watch any of the games, let alone put together my thoughts on them.
FIVE, SIX SEVEN, EIGHT: The New York Red Bulls ended August with a 5-match run, including a double during MLS Heineken Rivalry Week. I have been critical of the Hudson River Derby as a legitimate rivalry… until I watched that 2nd half (I only got home in time for the second half… yay, my life).
It had spark. It had fight. It had technical ability and creativity on both sides. And it was a 1-1 draw. Scoring actually happened! Then they salvaged the match against Wayne Rooney and DC United 3-3. Draws during Rivalry Week actually make me giggle.
YOU’RE GONNA BE A STAR: There was an international break that RBNY actually honored, and several players were called to their national teams for friendlies. I personally went to the Ecuador v Jamaica match at Red Bull Arena with my dad, my son, and my Colorado Rapids counterpart. That was pretty great. Not getting to see Kemar Lawrence in action… less great. What can you do?
That same night, Tyler Adams, Tim Parker, and Aaron Long were about ten miles away representing the US. Huge congratulations to Aaron Long, who has taken the long way around (pun slightly intended) to his first call-up. He was never in a US Youth National team. He’s a kid from California (who had made questionable hairstyle choices in the past) who has proven himself as a strong defender and credible attacking threat, with two goals for the regular season.
NOW FOR THE BIG FINISH: With three matches left in the season, the New York Red Bulls are in 2nd place for the conference and the race for the Supporter’s Shield. Sophomore darlings Atlanta United are in the lead… but they couldn’t secure their position against RBNY. They were defeated (again) by the boys in red 2-0, even though Bradley Wright-Phillips was suspended due to yellow card accumulation and Tyler Adams was out with back issues.
Adams has also withdrawn from the US Men’s National Team roster for their October friendlies as a result. Aaron Long will be back with the USMNT.
The Red Bulls face the San Jose Earthquakes tonight at Avaya Stadium in California. I might just stay awake to get back in the swing of things.
In the book Soccernomics, one of the things the authors talk about is how a team will do better more often than not when a new head coach or manager is hired. It’s not because the manager is better than the last, it’s because the change creates a psychological shift in the players. We see it all the time in the English Premier League. Remember when Jose Mourinho left Chelsea a few years ago? They were near the relegation zone when he was fired and replaced with Guus Hiddink. The club immediately began playing better and managed to finish the season in 10th place.
The New York Red Bulls are no strangers to this phenomenon. Before Jesse Marsch, no head coach has lasted longer than two years. The changes usually happened in the off-season, though. When Marsch left for RB Leipzig in July, it was the first time in a long time that the Red Bulls had to adjust to a new manager in the middle of the season.
When Chris Armas was named as RBNY’s new head coach, I was ready to see the same performance bump. Instead, it feels like the team is in a holding pattern, not sure where to go.
The truth is, whoever Red Bull hired would be the Lon Hammond to Marsch’s Noah Calhoun. When Marsch came into the club, he leaped onto the ferris wheel of our hearts, making us give him a chance. Not only did we give him a chance, we fell in love and did stuff like ate ice cream and called each other birds.
And when Jesse made it to three years, it looked like we finally found someone who really wanted to be with us.
But here we are: an Allie Hamilton without a choice. It’s not as if Lon is a jerk. Lon’s a good guy and we love him. It’s just that there’s something about him right now that’s trying to prove he’s just as good as Noah. And it’s hard to tell if that feeling is coming from him or from us.
Last night’s match against LAFC was another example of the no-win situation for Armas right now. While the team won 2-1 with a brace from Daniel Royer, the team felt stuck between the playing styles of Marsch and Armas.
I think this comes from two things: (1) Armas wanting to put his own stamp on the Red Bull system and (2) unresolved playing issues from Marsch’s time.
Once again, Armas had the starting eleven slow down the press. When asked about it, he said it was to increase possession, which may have worked against DC United and Ben Olsen, but last night showed why you don’t slow down against Bob Bradley. LAFC had a higher possession rate and a slightly better passing accuracy. If not for every Red Bull swarming players to force a turnover, LAFC would have scored in the first half.
The second half saw a quicker pace from the Red Bulls, even though LAFC still managed more possession of the ball. The fast rate of play allowed RBNY to force more turnovers and stay mostly on the opposing team’s side of the field. Their passing rate in the attacking half and final third left LAFC in the rearview mirror.
There were still big signs of where the team needs to improve. The Red Bulls have a good backline, with a strong central back pairing, yet they are still the team’s weak link. The lone LAFC goal wasn’t some unavoidable wonder goal. Diego Rossi was being marked by Michael Murillo, who was doing everything he could to prevent the player from reaching the ball. The other three defenders, especially Tim Parker, did little to cover the gap between Carlos Vela and the 18-yard box. Instead of keeping Adama Diomande between himself and Aaron Long, Parker stayed on Dio’s left rather than switching to his right. The switch would have allowed Murillo to hang back behind Rossi with a potential offside call.
Now, I know I’m not a professional head coach of a Major League Soccer team — I’m not even a simple, country lawyer — it’s just that I can’t help feeling these defensive errors need to be addressed more than the rate of possession.
In the end, the team won because they’re so darn efficient when they have the ball. Royer’s first-half goal actually was one of those wonder goals that come out of nowhere. Kaku crossed the ball to an empty patch of field where Murillo hustled to meet and kick it at goal, only to have it deflect off the keeper and onto the right foot of Royer as he was laying on the grass. That was well-prepared timing and dumb luck.
Royer’s second goal was something a bit more rehearsed. A ball kicked from the back to Bradley Wright-Phillips in the attacking third found him onside. LAFC, thinking he would take the shot on goal, rushed to get themselves between him and the net. BWP instead arced the ball over the grass to Royer who was able to knock the ball in past a diving Tyler Miller.
Armas made good substitutions, keeping two of them like-for-like with the third, Connor Lade for Kaku, building the defense to keep the winning scoreline. Derrick Etienne, Jr., however, continued to struggle on the ball and seems to be having trouble finding a stable footing in the squad.
It’s not easy to go from employee to boss, but I think Chris Armas is starting to become comfortable in his new role. The team also seems to be responding well to his leadership. And the fans always expected and supported him as the new head coach. It’ll be interesting to see if it’s enough to bump the team into the playoffs.
Last time the New York Red Bulls faced Columbus Crew, they traveled to Ohio and came home with a goal and a point. This time, hometown hero Mike Grella and the Crew made their way to a steamy Red Bull Arena for the rematch. This time, sharing wasn’t an option.
NEW NOMS ON THE BLOCK: Don’t get me wrong, I am well-fed by the Red Bull organization when I get to the game. But the latest buzz is for something I cannot readily get my hands on:
Best part of the #RBNY game last night was finally trying the @BrisasNJ empanadas. The hype is true. And that avocado sauce, give me a gallon of it please it’s so good. Hands down best food at Red Bull Arena and it’s not even close!
Being of South American descent, I have a mighty need for these empanadas. But alas, I have yet to try them. Don’t worry- when I get them, you’ll know.
WHO WHAT WHERE: For the third game in eight days, it makes sense to give some of the hardest-working players a rest. Bradley Wright-Phillips, who has become the fastest MLS player to reach 100 goals, began the night on the bench. Alejandro Romero Gamarra, who is currently leading the league in assists, was also seated at the opening whistle. Defender Kemar Lawrence, who has emerged as a decisive force in the defense, never saw the field against Columbus.
So who got the start instead? Aurelien Collin and Connor Lade in the back line, and Derrick Etienne, Jr. up top. I’ve spoken of “Haitian Messi” before. Nice guy. Amazing skills on the ball. But the finishing wasn’t there. Does he lack confidence? That would be disappointing since he does so well with RBII. How will he know what he’s capable of if he doesn’t get more of an opportunity?
NOT ACCORDING TO PLAN:Head coach Chris Armas came into the match prepared. At their last encounter, the Crew got frazzled with a 5-1-3-1 formation that RBNY ran in the second half, which earned them the draw. But while the Red Bulls made the tactical adjustment, so did Columbus. “[N]o matter what formation that we’re playing in, if we’re late to plays, a step late, if we’re not up for that part of it, they can just pick you apart,” Armas said of the decision following the match. And that is the overall theme of the first 45 minutes.
First came the foul that yielded a free kick. Jonathan Mensah scored the opening goal (7′). Then Patrick Mullins angled a shot past Luis Robles in the run of play (24′). But the nail in the coffin was the own-goal from Sean Davis (31′).
DO SOMETHING: BWP and Kaku came on at halftime. And the tide began to turn. Daniel Royer crossed the ball to BWP. Mensah tried to keep the ball away but committed an own-goal instead (50′). Then Royer made a goal of his own (69′).
With the team back in a 4-3-2-1 formation, the possession settled back in RBNY’s favor. Tim Parker nearly nailed a header. Aaron Long almost got a bicycle kick past Crew GK Zack Steffen. A later attempt from Royer went over the crossbar. And Alex Muyl, who made the equalizer in the previous meeting, nearly socked Steffen in the gut trying to do it again. But the Crew saved themselves and took all three points back to Columbus. (And I’ll say it again: SAVE THE CREW. That sentiment transcends competition.)
The MLS All-Star Game is next, with BWP, Aaron Long, and Michael Amir Murillo slated to take the field against Juventus(‘s reserve squad) in Atlanta. Sadly, I won’t be part of the festivities. But I hold out hope for next year.
Featured image: Bill Twomey Photography. Used with permission.
Finally! The Atlantic Cup. The OG rivalry. DC United. Recently opened Audi Field the venue, this was a night for history.
Okay… a *late* night for history. After an extended winter, the Northeast has decided to try on monsoon season. While I would have loved to have made the trip down to DC, it wasn’t in the cards for me. And looking at the scenes at Audi Field, I’m okay with that.
WE’LL GO DOWN IN HISTORY: Just two minutes into the first half, striker Bradley Wright-Phillips found the ball from “Kaku” Romero and made his shot. It wasn’t a bicycle from midfield, but a nutmeg that blasted past goalkeeper David Ousted. His 100th MLS goal. And his celebration was worth the yellow card given for it: BWP yanked off his ’99’ jersey to reveal a ‘100’ jersey. Shout out to Sean Ruiz, RBNY’s kitman.
JUST ONE MISTAKE: DC responded with a goal of their own (Paul Arriola 28′). But guess what, folks?
Goal was overturned due to Arriola being offside. It wasn’t a difficult call to make.
HEAVY METAL ROCK MY HEART: Have to take some time to appreciate the massive efforts of defender Tim Parker in this game. While the high press causes reporters to feature attacking midfielders and strikers, the back line is crucial is starting off plays and keeping the ball out of the net when the counterattack is on. While goalkeeper and captain Luis Robles was credited with two saves on the night, he would have had to make at least four more if not for Parker’s efforts in the box.
SOME TURN TO DUST OR TO GOLD: This is the most I’ve gotten to see Everton and England legend Wayne Rooney this season. And he still, more or less, has the sharpness and power that DC was hoping for from him. I can’t help but think he’d be more effective as a starter to give him a chance to really get into the game. Hopefully, he can do some great things to salvage DCU’s season.
WE ALL POISONED YOU: The second half was slightly ruined for me as an at-home TV watcher. The ‘gremlins,’ as MSG’s Steve Cangialosi called them, kept messing with the video feed. I was slightly thankful that there weren’t any more goals that I could have missed. But when the final whistle blew, the Red Bulls moved into second place, and still have two games in hand on Atlanta United.
They return home to face former teammate Mike Grella and the Columbus Crew for their second matchup of the season.
Like most game days, I woke up with sunshine and optimism. So I had to spend my day at work. no big deal. I just had to book it toRed Bull Arena (no easy task, as I’m still in an ankle brace). But I had to outdrive the rain.
I’ve been at the arena in rain –and snow– before. But the overhang at RBA (that makes it look like an energy drink spaceship from the outside) means that very few spectators have to worry about looking a mess.
SOMETHING NEW: The day before the match, the New York Red Bulls announced their signing of Andreas Ivan, a 23-year-old Romanian midfielder who has been playing in lower divisions in Germany. While coach Chris Armas has indicated that Ivan will be integrated as soon as possible, it wasn’t quite as fast as Tim Parker‘s entry at the beginning of the season. I happened to see him after the game as Ben Mines brought him into the locker room.
TAKE TWO: The last meeting between these teams ended with the New England Revolution taking all three points. RBNY weren’t about to let that happen again, especially not at home. The Red Bulls’ home record is impressive, now 8-1-1. It wasn’t going to be easy.
Some people may have written off the Revolution at the beginning of the season, but new head coach Brad Friedel has done some impressive work with the team. Armas made a point of saying that both teams play a similar style, which was going to make things difficult.
IN THE CARDS: Did you know soccer is a contact sport? It may not be like gridiron football or ice hockey, but there’s no doubt that physicality is key. And there was plenty of physicality to go around. Thirty fouls total from both teams. Four yellow cards:Aaron Long and “Kaku” Romero in the first half, Antonio Delamea and Luis Caicedo in the second. The wet conditions on the field didn’t help either, as pushes became shoves and clean slides devolved into brutal tackles.
SCORE, AND SCORE AGAIN: If you watched the World Cup, you ought to know that set pieces are a wonderful thing. Breakout difference maker Marc Rzatkowski, fresh off his two-goal performance, tallied an assist with his free kick that found its way to Daniel Royer‘s foot. In the hubbub in the box, Royer tucked the ball away (70’).
Then came number 99 for Number 99. Bradley Wright-Phillips nailed a header into the goal from Kaku’s cross (80′). History could have been made when a call for a handball in the box was about to put BWP at the spot.
Say it with me now: ENTER VAR. The handball call was overturned.
After the game, Wright-Phillips said he was rather relieved that his 100th goal didn’t come from the spot. He doesn’t usually attempt PKs anyway. How would he prefer to score his 100th goal? “A bicycle kick from midfield,” he quipped after the game. That should work. Wayne Rooney and DC United should be worried.
The Red Bulls’ next game is at brand new Audi Field. RBNY fans call these next few days #DCHateWeek, a nod to the MLS 1.0 Atlantic Cuprivalry. Will we see history then? Nobody, no nobody is gonna rain on my parade!
After what seems like entirely too long, the New York Red Bulls (11-5-2, 35 points) returned to Red Bull Arena. They welcomed Sporting Kansas City (9-5-6, 33 points) for a rematch of the 2017 Open Cup final. The Red Bulls haven’t defeated SKC since 2014.
THE REAL VIKING ARMY: I had promised the members of the Red Bulls Supporter Group the Viking Army that I would stop by and crash their tailgate at some point. So I made my way to the back end of the vacant warehouse on the gentrification chopping block to where their tailgate party is held.
I snapped some pictures and learned some stories. They talked about jerseys of players traded and gone. They spoke of the moment they fell in love with the team and the passion of a supporter’s group that stands and sings for ninety minutes plus. They shared the sense of family that makes their gatherings on and between game days so special.
LOVE WINS: Does anyone know why the Red Bulls’ Pride Night is in July? Just kidding– I don’t care. They do it right. The rainbow lasers are straight fire. The scarves and running sleeves they gave away are great. And it’s never a bad time to remind everyone that anyone can play. There was a discussion panel about supporting all athletes prior to the game, and in a time where it is still difficult for people to be themselves, we do need the reminder.
EVENLY MATCHED: Of course Bradley Wright-Phillips scores the opening goal (5′). He’ll hit 100 goals as a Red Bull very soon. But he was called offside. (Drink every time you read ‘Enter VAR’ in my article… or better yet, don’t.) The Red Bulls’ signature High Press tactic often catches an attacker offside, but that wasn’t actually the case here, and the Video Assistant Referee corrected the call. “Goals after VAR, it’s annoying, you don’t get to celebrate,” BWP lamented after the game.
And celebrate, the team could not. Johnny Russell (8′) leveled the match and both sides held each other at bay the rest of the first half. Then Roger Espinoza practically started off the second half getting SKC the lead (51′). Something had to change for the Red Bulls to not let history repeat.
RBNY IS FOR THE CHILDREN: Battling back from injury and fighting for minutes, RB Salzburg exchange student Marc Rzatkowski was subbed in for “Kaku” Romero-Gamarra in the 60th minute. Fans, knowing what Kaku is capable of, were surprised by the move from newly promoted head coach Chris Armas. After the match, Armas explained:
“Marc, he had a great week of training. In every session, he brought energy… Going into the game we thought that he would be a guy we’d rely on in some capacity.”
And boy, did he seize the day! He tallied a brace that leveled and then put RBNY ahead (72′ & 79′). He was named man of the match, and took home the game ball. And yet…
I was part of the huddle of reporters who went to RZA (so nicknamed by fans as a reference to a member of NY hip-hop group Wu Tang Clan) in the locker room after the game. Usually, Rzatkowski ducks out of the locker room as soon as he’s changed while we speak with captain Luis Robles or BWP. He had turned towards his locker to get something and looked genuinely shocked when he turned back around and saw us all there. A real team player, he shared credit with Tyler Adams and Sean Davis, the midfielders who assisted his goals.
(If you don’t catch the reference in the heading, click here)
So: same time, same place, same chance for revenge when the New England Revolution come to Harrison and face RBNY for the second time this season.
Is there such a thing as too much soccer? For ten days now, we’ve been fed three square matches a day thanks to the World Cup. And while the rest of the world’s clubs rest and prepare for transfers and tournaments of their own, Major League Soccer got back to it with ten games this weekend.
So is there such a thing as too much soccer? Um… no. Let’s get this party started.
ROCKET’S RED GLARE: The fireworks began right at the beginning. Literally. There are those who say “no pyro, no party,” and the flashpots and sparklers during the walkout and the National Anthem were proof of that. And while I didn’t get to see the post-game fireworks myself, fans were quite pleased.
BABY, YOU’RE A FIREWORK: The game started a little messy. There were a number of scrappy battles for the ball. But then Tyler Adams won a ball from Kellyn Acosta and crossed the ball to Bradley Wright-Phillips for a tap-in (23′). This was his eleventh goal of the season, one step closer to 100 career goals.
“Aaron is always a threat. He’s so good in the air. He’s very athletic and so he’s always good on set pieces. We run a lot of things to try to free him up and try to get him opportunities, so great for him to get a goal.” —Coach Jesse Marsch
CHERRY BOMB: Well, this was a little awkward… Danny Royer, who we know is a very passionate player, appeared to stomp his opponent. He was given a yellow card in the 25th minute. Enter the Video Assisted Referee, and the yellow becomes a red. Royer is sent off for the first time ever. Here- I’ll do the math for you: that’s SIXTY-FIVE minutes (before stoppage) down one player. Yikes.
BOOM BOOM BOOM: The team seemed to take Royer’s absence and let it fuel their attack. A corner kick from Sean Davis (40′) connected with Aaron Long for a goal. Enter VAR once again. There was a question that FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez was fouled upon. But after review, Long was indeed awarded the goal, his second of the season.
SHOOT ACROSS THE SKY: When the second half began, the 9 field players remaining lined up in two rows of four and put one up top. Since they were up by two goals, it wouldn’t have been much of a shock if they just did what they could to hold on.
Nobody told Kemar Lawrence that. In the 48th minute, a pass from Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra found Lawrence, who popped the ball into the net to effectively sew up the match.
“You know, I’m not one that is all about the goals, I’m more about clean sheets, my team getting three points but getting the goal was fun. The guys created a great play, snuck me in, I got a good touch and nobody was in the box for me to pass to so I decided to shoot.” —Kemar Lawrence, describing his goal
The Red Bulls head to the Great White North and BMO Field to face a faltering Toronto FC, who just lost to NYCFC in Yankee Stadium this weekend. There were different fireworks last time they met there…