Many thought there would be a torrent of goals Sunday evening as two high-powered offenses faced off at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey.
While there weren’t quite as many goals as predicted, the New York Red Bulls’s 2-1 win over LAFC certainly provided it’s share of entertaining soccer.
The game got off to a quick start as the Red Bulls’ high press caused problems for LAFC just seconds into the game. The Red Bulls’ defense stole the ball deep in LAFC territory, and Bradley Wright-Phillips found the ball at his feet near the penalty spot. He couldn’t put the ball on frame, but the quick start set the pace for the rest of the game.
Both RBNY and LAFC traded attacking jabs, as an end-to-end game gave both teams plenty of opportunities to score first. Neither team was able to put the final piece together until the Red Bulls struck first in the 39th minute.
Kaku stood deep outside the LAFC box and switched the field to Red Bulls defender Michael Murillo, who was able to get a shot off but sent it right at LAFC keeper Tyler Miller. Unfortunately for LAFC, Miller was unable to gather the ball, which bounced to the foot of Daniel Royer, who, despite being on the ground after a collision with LAFC defender Steven Beitashour, was able to kick the ball past two LAFC defenders to give RBNY a 1-0 lead.
The Red Bulls took their 1-0 lead into halftime, but just eight minutes after restart Diego Rossi made a brilliant move to find a pocket of space between Murillo and Tim Parker. Carlos Vela picked out Rossi with a pinpoint pass, and Rossi’s lovely first touch saw him square up to keeper Luis Robles and send the equalizer straight into the back of the net.
Both teams began to slow as it looked like LAFC may get out of Red Bull Arena with a road point, but Bradley Wright-Phillips made a perfectly timed run to get behind LAFC’s back line. He brought down a gorgeous long ball from Aaron Long and slowly sent a cross to a wide open Royer, who tapped in his second of the night that for the go-ahead goal.
LAFC had a late corner that gave them one last chance to equalize, but the Red Bulls’ defense cleared the ball away right as referee Allen Chapman blew the whistle, giving RBNY the full three points.
Man of the Match
Daniel Royer’s brace ultimately proved to be the difference in the match. His first goal may not have been the prettiest of his career, but he found a way to score when needed.
Moment of the Match
After LAFC looked poised to steal a road point, Bradley Wright-Phillips’ perfectly timed run gave him a gorgeous look on goal, but he unselfishly dropped the ball off to Royer who easily put the ball away to give RBNY the victory.
Match to Forget
Tyler Miller has been solid for most of the year for LAFC, but his inability to gather in what should have been a routine save in the 39th minute let the ball slip away to Royer. While Miller wasn’t solely responsible for the loss, his costly mistake certainly played a large part in keeping the black and gold from earning a crucial road point.