Harrison, New Jersey (March 5, 2019) — On a frozen night in Harrison, the New York Red Bulls hosted Santos Laguna of Liga MX. The quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League will finish in Mexico on March 12.
Here’s what happened in the first quarterfinal match.
New York Red Bulls face two-goal deficit in Champions League quarterfinals
From the opening whistle, both teams went full force. Less than four minutes into the match, striker Bradley Wright-Phillips had his first opportunity. He went one-on-one to Santos goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco, who deflected the ball.
Meanwhile, captain Luis Robles made his first save at the 10 minute mark. Midfielder Alex Muyl supplied crosses near the goal, but in the first 15 minutes, Orozco protected the goal. Santos forward Julio Furch made the first real threat on the Red Bulls goal in the 26th minute, but the shot went wide.
As both teams progressed through the first half, they settled into a groove. There was a lot of movement up and down the pitch. The first yellow card of the match went to Santos midfielder Marlos Moreno in the 34th minute. A minute later, Wright-Phillips saw another chance go wide.
Late Strike, Early Double
In the 43rd minute, Santos midfielder Diego Valdes opened the scoring. The Red Bulls went to the locker room down a goal at the half. However, moments into the second half, Furch doubled the lead for Santos. Following some confusion in the box, Furch was able to settle and make the shot.
Meanwhile, Muyl was booked in the 56th minute. Tensions mounted, resulting in a yellow card for both sides, given to Jose Vazquez and Alejandro Romero Gamarra in the 60th minute. Muyl made way for Andreas Ivan, who has scored two goals in the past week for the Red Bulls.
A chance for the Red Bulls fizzled in the 70th minute as Connor Lade sent the ball over the crossbar. Haitian international Derrick Etienne Jr. came on for Daniel Royer, providing fresh legs for the final 15 minutes of the match. However, there was no change to the scoreline.
A two-goal deficit is possible to overcome. The Red Bulls have to overcome their frustrations and work on connecting in the final third. The chances were there for the Red Bulls throughout the match, right down to the waning minutes. If New York can capitalize on those chances going forward, they can pull through.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) March 6, 2019
PHOTO: Derrick Etienne Jr. of the New York Red Bulls fights off defenders from Santos Laguna. Photo courtesy of Bill Twomey/Last Word on Soccer.