HARRISON, NEW JERSEY (February 27, 2019) — Up by two goals coming into the second leg, the New York Red Bulls greeted Atletico Pantoja at Red Bull Arena. With a 3-0 win, the Red Bulls advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals. They will face Santos Laguna.
Just three minutes in, Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra attempted the first shot of the match. The Red Bulls kept the ball in the attacking third. Midfielder Alex Muyl was a step behind a potential goal in the thirteenth minute. Michael Amir Murillo’s cross a minute later sailed over the goal. Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips sent the ball wide of the near post.
Davis, Royer Double Aggregate in First Half
After nearly a half hour on the pitch, the Red Bulls’ efforts yielded results. Sean Davis opened the scoring with a header in the 27th minute. Defender Connor Lade drew a penalty in the box soon after. Daniel Royer converted the kick from the spot to double the lead (32′).
Debuts and Comebacks
Murillo was booked in the 50th minute, his second in as many tournament matches. He will have to miss the next game. Defender Sean Nealis, drafted this year, came in for Aaron Long in the 53rd minute. This marks his debut with the first team in any competition. In the 59th minute, Murillo made way for Kyle Duncan. Following an injury last season, this was Duncan’s return to the squad. Relative newcomer Adreas Ivan was the final substitution (67′). He sent a ball from outside the box to the back of the next in the 75th minute, his first as a Red Bull.
In a week’s time, the Red Bulls will host Santos Laguna. They defeated Marathon with an impressive 9-2 aggregate score. While RBNY got the job done against Pantoja, there is still more work to be done. The scoring chances were there for the team throughout the game. More of those need to find their home. In particular, Bradley Wright-Phillips needs to open his account for 2019. But the team appears geared up for the challenge.
PHOTO: Daniel Royer celebrates his goal in the 32nd minute against Club Atlético Pantoja on Feb. 27, 2019, at Red Bull Arena. Photo courtesy of Bill Twomey/Last Word on Soccer.