Red Bulls Record Second Road Win Over Whitecaps
(HARRISON, NJ) The New York Red Bulls were on the road once again searching for a win. NY had managed just a single win away from the comfortable confines of Red Bull Arena this year. While most teams struggle on the road in MLS, the Red Bulls slow start made road points far more precious. While the road had been unkind to NY, they remained unbeaten in their last nine games.
Vancouver Whitecaps struggles in 2016 are well documented. The Whitecaps lead the western conference in the dubious category of worst goal differential. If there was a team to poach points of on the road, Vancouver was ripe for the picking. The Red Bulls had to find the result on the road without their star playmaker, Sascha Kljestan, and they did.
The first half was a sloppy affair from both sides. The Red Bulls turned the ball over on numerous occasions leading to counter attack opportunities. NY was exposed on a number of occasions, yet Eric Hurtado’s finishing on the night was quite poor. Hurtado accounted for seven of the Whitecaps 12 shots on the game. All of which were of target.
“First half we were a little lucky to get out of that half nil-nil because we turned the ball over in bad spots and it turned into some really good chances for Vancouver and we were a little bit lucky on the day that they weren’t sharper to finish some plays off,” said NY head coach Jesse Marsch after the game.
“But then I thought collectively we, in the second half, that our will and our concentration to make sure that we could find a way to put that game on our terms, and at halftime we said this was a game that we were going to have to win ugly. It was just that kind of day. It was a lot of fouls, very physical, not a real rhythm to the game and that’s the way it’s going to look sometimes. We just had to grind one out and find a way to get a goal. We talked at half that it was going to be a 1-0 victory that we needed, so it was big for us to get a big win on the road and win in that fashion.”
The second half produced the game’s only goal. Bradley Wright-Phillips scrapped for a long ball headed forward by Aurelien Collin and with just a bit of controversial luck (There may have been a handball, although it did not look like he attempted to control the ball.) he finished for his 17th goal of the season.
Wright-Phillips reflected on the goal after the game. “I think I remember a long ball, not sure if it came from Aurélien …and to be quite honest I got very lucky – I think there was a few ricochets. And when it broke free I just thought hit the target, try to hit the target. I kind of blacked out, I don’t remember too much, just happy to get a goal and three points on the road.”
The game featured the return of Red Bulls’ captain Dax McCarty after an extended stay on the injury report. McCarty missed a month’s worth of games thanks to a fractured leg suffered in a 2-2 draw against Chicago Fire. “Coming off a fracture in my leg, it was a little bit of rust and a little bit of apprehension going into fifty-fifty tackles and doing things that I need to do that make me a good player and help the team, but it was just good to be back on the field.”
The Red Bulls will come back home next weekend. D.C. United comes to town for the first time since Lloyd Sam was traded to DC on July 7th. The Red Bulls will look to maintain their current home form against eastern conference opponents (Currently at 2.63 points per game.). D.C. lost on Friday to New York City FC 3-2.