10-man Red Bulls beat all odds in victory over Revolution

HARRISON, NJ — Down a man, down a goal, and with recent history going against them, the New York Red Bulls defied the odds with an unexpected comeback victory over the New England Revolution.

A Charlie Davies header and a Matt Miazga red card in extra time capped off a blasé first half from the Red Bulls, putting the team in a 1-0 hole with ten-men to counter the momentum.

And counter they did.

Dax McCarty opened up the scoring minutes into the second half with a gorgeous chip and Bradley Wright-Phillips nailed his MLS-leading 18th goal of the season to cap off a dramatic Red Bulls comeback.

It is the first time this season that New York have given up the first goal and rallied for a win.

“The second half tonight was perhaps — and this is saying a lot, because of our success last year — perhaps the best half in my time as a head coach, and we were a man down,” Head Coach Mike Petke said after the match. “It followed what I cannot remember a worse performance of a first half that I’ve ever seen … aside from my six-year-old’s team to be quite honest, to be very blunt.

“I’m being blunt because I’m proud of them and in awe almost, in a small way, of being a man down and bossing them in the second half like that,” he continued. “That’s the type of thing that you go home and you scratch your head. There have been many times this year I’ve scratched my head. Having a good performance followed key performances that were very lethargic and no creativity, and you scratch your head. But tonight, I mean, I’ll be going home scratching my head; the tale of two halves has never been more of an accurate statement in the history of sports than us tonight.”

New York improves to 6-6-10 with the victory, good enough for fourth place in the Eastern Conference after sitting sixth midweek. The fifth-placed Revolution fall to 8-12-2, losing nine of their last ten games.

Former USMNT standout Davies put New England ahead early. Teal Bunbury beat Roy Miller on the left hand side, whipping a cross that deflected off of Ibrahim Sekagya and right to the head of Davies for the 1-0 lead just 20 minutes in.

Neither team could muster much in a chippy first half, but it was the Red Bulls’ frustrations that bubbled over first. Young centerback Matt Miazga let the pressure get the best of him, taking an ill-advised run past the center circle and throwing an ugly tackle on Lee Nguyen, upending the playmaking midfielder. That was enough to earn a red card.

To make matters worse, midfielder Tim Cahill was substituted at halftime for Eric Alexander due to a groin injury.

Alexander made an immediate impact. A poor Revolution clearance put the ball at Alexander’s feet. The midfielder settled the chance and dished to an onrushing Dax McCarty who chipped keeper Bobby Shuttleworth from distance for the tying goal in the 47th minute.

The Red Bulls went with a three-man backline, with McCarty shielding the middle. That formation quelled the Revolution attackers, opening up space for New York to strike. Lloyd Sam found an opportunity in the 63rd minute, chipping his defender and putting Wright-Phillips into space. The league’s leading scorer cut back on his defender, found space and nailed a surgical strike towards the far corner to put New York ahead.

Besides padding his league-leading scoring total, Wright-Phillips is now all of one goal away from matching the single-season franchise scoring record set by Juan Pablo Angel in 2007 (19).

With this week’s All-Star game, New York will be represented well by the trio of Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill and Bradley Wright-Phillips. The season continues on Sunday as the team travels out to Chicago to face the Fire.

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