By DAN KARELL
With a chance to take sole possession of first place in the Eastern Conference on Sunday, the New York Red Bulls instead looked more like a team that was struggling to even make the playoffs.
On-loan forward Erick Torres scored a brace for Chivas USA while fellow youngster Julio Morales added another to defeat the Red Bulls, 3-2, at the StubHub Center. The win is just the second for Chivas USA since the start of June. For the Red Bulls, it’s yet another road game where they failed to play up to expectations, and their second defeat in three games.
Despite the scoreline, the Red Bulls had more than enough chances to score goals throughout the game. Within the first 22 minutes, Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy stoned Red Bulls forward Fabian Espindola twice, the second save from point-blank range. In addition, midfielder Tim Cahill had a header that was cleared off the line by Chivas USA.
Against the run of play, it was Chivas USA who scored the first goal of the match.
Mexico U-20 forward Julio Morales showed up at the top of the box in the 30th minute, got himself a yard or space, and fired a low strike past Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles to give the hosts the lead. However, the lead only lasted mere seconds, when at the other end of the field, the Australian international Cahill rose up to head a trademark header just across the line to tie the scoreline.
The good feelings from the goal didn’t last very long for the visitors, as Roy Miller was forced off due to injury and centerback Ibrahim Sekagya, in the lineup for the injured Jamison Olave, bundled over Torres in the box to concede a penalty kick.Torres stepped up to the spot and confidently slotted home to give his side the lead once more as the team’s headed to the halftime break.
Playing with new life since the goal, Chivas USA were the better team in the second half, keeping the Red Bulls from establishing any rhythm and creating chances for themselves. Torres nearly added his second from close range in the 69th minute, but a great save from Robles sent the shot off the post and away.
Torres did finally get his second goal due to some poor defending from the Red Bulls. A loose ball ended up at the Mexican youth international’s feet, and without much pressure, finished into the far post to put his side up two goals in the 81st minute.
Though the Red Bulls would eke a goal back thanks to a Dax McCarty header in the 86th minute, their final push towards goal and new sense of urgency came too late, and the Red Bulls fell for the ninth time this season.
Here are the game highlights: