The New York Red Bulls finished out the 2016 MLS regular season with a 2-0 victory over the Philadelphia Union. The result gives New York the top seed in the Eastern Conference for the postseason playoffs and clinches a berth in the 2017-18 CONCACAF Champions League.
New York Red Bulls vs Philadelphia Union Player Ratings
Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring in the 26th minute for his 24th goal of the season, capturing the 2016 Golden Boot award just ahead of NYCFC striker David Villa (23).
New York now awaits the outcome of wild-card round matches on Wednesday and Thursday to learn their opponent in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The club will travel to either the Montreal Impact, D.C. United or back to the Philadelphia Union for the first leg of a home-and-home series on Sunday.
GK – LUIS ROBLES – (8/10)
Luis Robles and his incredible consecutive-match streak completes its fourth full MLS season, as the Arizona native earned his 11th clean sheet of the 2016 MLS campaign.
The backline did well to clear out many scoring opportunities but Robles was sensational when called upon, especially in the second half.
RB – CHRIS DUVALL – (6/10)
Perhaps with past games against the Union in mind, Chris Duvall was focused on the defensive formation and helped to preserve the clean sheet. Pressure came in the second half, but Duvall’s positioning was positive throughout most of the match.
Head coach Jesse Marsch will be pleased to have the right-back healthy for the postseason.
CB – AURELIEN COLLIN – (8/10)
Aurelien Collin contributed greatly on both sides of the field Sunday. The Frenchman cleared out several Union scoring opportunities and his perfectly timed pass to Wright-Phillips set up the first goal.
CB – DAMIEN PERRINELLE – (6/10)
Damien Perrinelle had a good touch on the ball and communicated well with Collin in the back. A second half yellow card was avoidable, but the defender comes into the playoffs in good form and in good health.
LB – KEMAR LAWRENCE – (7/10)
Kemar Lawrence showed toughness to shake off what seemed like a serious injury in the first half and controlled the ball sharply. His excellent throw-in began a wonderful sequence for the Red Bulls’ second goal of the game.
MF – ALEX MUYL – (8/10)
Another afternoon of strong work on the right side of the field for Alex Muyl ended with a second-half goal. The young midfielder had hit the crossbar on an earlier chance and his relief was evident when he eventually found the back of the net in the 57th minute.
MF – FELIPE MARTINS – (7/10)
Felipe and Dax McCarty performed well in their defensive midfield roles and were key in stopping several Union scoring chances. The Brazilian got forward effectively on occasion when needed also.
MF – DAX MCCARTY – (7/10)
Red Bulls captain Dax McCarty covered quite a bit space throughout most of the match and was a part of the excellent team effort involved in the second goal.
MF – SACHA KLJESTAN – (7/10)
Helped to keep possession often and pressed the Philadelphia midfield throughout, Sacha Kljestan will feel a bit unlucky not to be credited with an assist on Muyl’s strike in the second half.
The 31-year old’s 19 assists were the most in MLS this season.
MF – MIKE GRELLA – (5/10)
Mike Grella had difficulty establishing himself in the first half, especially after a dustup with Union midfielder Ilsinho resulted in an early yellow card. Grella was substituted for Omer Damari in the 62nd minute.
FW – BRADLEY WRIGHT-PHILLIPS – (9/10)
Earning his second Golden Boot in the past three seasons, Wright-Phillips was again in top form. The English forward continued to cause trouble for the Union backline deep into the match.
FW – OMER DAMARI – (5/10)
Entering for Grella in the 62nd minute, Damari showed good signs of recovery from a recent injury with sharp runs at the Philadelphia defense.
FW – GONZALO VERON – (INC)
Coming on for Wright-Phillips in the 79th minute, Gonzalo Veron will be hoping for the chance to make a greater impact in the playoffs. His pace and skill on the ball could be a dangerous weapon in crucial moments.
MF – SAL ZIZZO – (INC)
Subbed on for Alex Muyl in the 88th minute, Sal Zizzo helped to see off a Red Bulls victory. Jesse Marsch may look to Zizzo in similar situations in the postseason.