Harrison, NJ (March 10th, 2018) – The kids? Yeah, they’re alright.
The New York Red Bulls began their home schedule with a much different lineup than the one started vs. Club Tijuana. However, head coach Jesse Marsch’s faith in his kids paid off.
New York Red Bulls Earn 4-0 Victory Over Portland in Home Opener
In his Major League Soccer debut, teenager Ben Mines scored his first career goal and Alejandro Romero “Kaku” Gamarra earned his first MLS career assist in New York’s home opener against the Portland Timbers.
With the second leg of their CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal against Club Tijuana, Marsch chose to rest his starters in lieu of a lineup that featured his depth. The only regular starters featured in this match were reigning league ironman Luis Robles, midfielder Sean Davis, and centerback Aurelien Collin.
The choice of Ben Mines was especially surprising. The 17-year-old becomes the fifth youngest player to start in club history and the third youngest to score, behind only Eddie Gavin and Jozy Altidore. His goal came off an electrifying play from Derrick Etienne Jr. and Kaku. The young designated player’s vision on the play cannot be understated, and Mines showed wisdom beyond his years to make sure his run ended with the pass from Kaku on his foot.
Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, coming on as a sub, opened his 2018 account, putting home a Sean Davis flick from a Vincent Bezencourt corner. Carlos Rivas added a second-half brace to put the match completely out of the reach of Portland, spoiling local legend and Timbers manager Gio Savarese’s homecoming.
Goalkeeper Robles was not called upon often, only needing to make one single save. New York absorbed pressure extremely well in this match despite the largely untested backline.
New York continues their Champions League schedule on Tuesday, March 13th, at home where they face Club Tijuana in the return leg of their quarterfinal matchup at Red Bull Arena.