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Grella’s record-breaking goal spurs Red Bulls rout of Union

MLS: Philadelphia Union at New York Red Bulls
Photo by Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports

History was made at Red Bull Arena Sunday, and not the kind many were expecting.

The New York Red Bulls easily defeating the Philadelphia Union, 4-1, to claim the Eastern Conference crown came as no shock, but Mike Grella’s seven-second goal was, as his quick left-footed finish past goalkeeper Andre Blake set the record for the league’s fastest goal ever scored in a competitive game.

The goal spurred the Red Bulls on to score three more on the afternoon, and with the result, the Eastern Conference winners regain the Supporters’ Shield lead even though they share 57 points with FC Dallas.

Cristian Maidana was the Union player who made the fatal error, sending a poor pass into his own half, where Grella took control and ran into the box before putting an effort on frame. A deflection helped the ball fly by Blake.

Three minutes later, Bradley Wright-Phillips doubled the hosts advantage. Damien Perrinelle headed a Sacha Kljestan corner kick toward the direction of Wright-Phillips, who coolly volleyed in the opportunity on the doorstep.

While Grella’s record-setting goal was not the prettiest, he made up for it by blasting in his second of the day from around the same area in the 17th minute. Gella was fed a pass by Dax McCarty, and the record-breaker beat a man with a fake before sending a low, left-footed effort past Blake for the team’s third goal of the day.

More history was made towards the end of the first half, as Kemar Lawrence scored his first-ever MLS goal after McCarty picked him out with a inch-perfect cross across the six-yard box at the end of the 44th minute.

Sebastien Le Toux would eventually find a response for the visiting Union, but his tally in the 55th minute was too little, too late, and the Red Bulls held on for the important win.

The Red Bulls will end their 2015 campaign and look to secure the Supporters’ Shield next Sunday against the Chicago Fire, while the Union will play Orlando City SC the same day.


  1. I wouldn’t say that Grella is especially skillful, but what he does that very few players on MLS do consistently well, is he doesn’t waste touches. He does something positive and meaningful every time he touches the ball. He doesn’t make poor passes into traffic and put his teammates into bad spots. Much stronger tactical understanding of what is required in that particular moment when he receives the ball than the vast majority of MLS players

  2. Grella is without question the most skilled player on the squad. He makes every other player on the team better: like Dax McCarty, he can receive the bailout pass from any place on the pitch and wriggle out of a tight spot. Unlike Dax, he can actually run at the defense. His first step is pretty quick, and even at the end of the game he was running past defenders and getting into the box. Granted, these were Union defenders at the end of a game and at the end of a LONG season. Not sure he’s fast enough for international duty, but it’s amazing to me that Sacha is in the conversation and Grella isn’t.
    Actually, what’s truly amazing: that Robles isn’t in the conversation. Did he sleep with Klinsmann’s wife or something?

    • Robles has been outstanding. I think he deserves a look for the USMNT but GK is one spot where do have some excellent incumbents. Still, I think Robles is as good as anyone GK in MLS.

  3. Grella, McCarthy, Klesjan, BWP, Sam wow…..the tight one touch passes, the way they understand each other, the runs into the box…..the way they link up with the forwards is just brilliant

    • Remember when Jesse Marsh took over for Mike Petke, just a short while ago and everyone lost their minds and said he better deliver? Damn

  4. I like Grella. Played in lower divisions in England for a long time before securing move back to MLS. Could be exception but there are several other players playing in lower English leagues that might be interested in an MLS move as well, like Jon Paul Pitman. I bet he’d do fine in MLS. Also, Whitbread would be a shut down central defender, and some of the you g guys like Gooch would probably kill in MLS

  5. I cannot think of a US player better on the ball than Grella. Am I wrong? I have no idea if his game would translate to the international game, but it sure seems like he deserves a look.


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