The New York Red Bulls made the most of their match against a depleted Minnesota United squad, as they earned a comfortable 3-0 win on Saturday.
The Red Bulls looked good for about a dozen on the night, but settled for a clinical win with goals from Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Muyl looked particularly impressive on the night, notching a goal and an assist in his return to the starting lineup.
The Loons looked like a team lacking critical pieces despite keeping the Red Bulls mostly at bay during the first half.
While defensively competent, the lack of cohesion when moving into the attack made the job more difficult for the Loons, letting catastrophic failure loom over a team that started 2018 with a promising 2-1-0 record.
In the 15th minute, Muyl opened the scoring with a low shot to the far post, beating a diving Matt Lampson. The midfielder slalomed around defenders, finishing with his left foot and opening his account for the season. Also joining the scoresheet for the first time this season, was right back Kyle Duncan who fed Muyl for his first-career assist.
Wright-Phillips doubled the lead in the 42nd minute on a well-worked free kick from Sean Davis. Davis found Tim Parker on the free kick, and the center back nodded his header toward the goal where it found Wright-Phillips who beat Lampson to the ball.
The Loons showed more grit in the second half to at least test Luis Robles, but the Red Bulls goalkeeper was up to the task, making a big save on Ethan Finlay to keep the home side’s 2-0 advantage.
The Red Bulls continued to bully the depleted Loons, outshooting the visitors 21 to 10.
Wright-Phillips scored again in the 79th minute, as Muyl found him on the run with a picture perfect through ball. Wright-Phillips deftly flicked the ball over Lampson’s right shoulder and finished inside the far post.
Next up for the Red Bulls is a matchup with former captain Sacha Kljestan, while Minnesota faces Atlanta United in a battle of second-year teams.
Man of the Match
Alex Muyl opened the scoring for the Red Bulls and remained dangerous throughout the match. Long drawing the ire of most Red Bull fans, the youngster turned in an inspired performance to stake a claim to the wing role he has occupied for much of the last two seasons.
Moment of the match
Muyl’s opener was a statement by the winger and the home side. His celebration after the goal told the story of the frustrated winger and the release he felt upon opening his 2018 account.
Match to forget
Christian Ramirez had a largely forgettable shift for the Loons when they needed him most. Yes they played with a depleted squad, but the vanishing act of Ramirez was too much for the Loons to cope with.