Red Bulls down Chicago, take MLS Supporters’ Shield

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

CHICAGO, Ill. – For the second time in three years, the New York Red Bulls are MLS Supporters’ Shield champions.

An early Bradley Wright-Phillips strike and a Sacha Kljestan penalty were all New York (16-10-7, 60 pts.) needed to push them past Chicago, earning them home field advantage throughout the playoffs.

It is the second time New York has downed Chicago to win the Supporters’ Shield, with the first time coming in 2013. It is also the first time New York has beaten Chicago at Toyota Park.

“These guys deserve it,” head coach Jesse Marsch said after the match. “They have taken ownership of this team from the start. They have been the best team in the league in many ways, and rightfully so, they have earned the Supporters’ Shield.”

The Red Bulls opened the scoring eight minutes in on the back of Bradley Wright-Phillips’ 17th goal of the season. Sacha Kljestan took the corner, finding Sal Zizzo in the area. The converted defender took a glancing header towards Wright-Phillips who tapped in on goal to put New York up early.

Gilberto nearly tied the match in the 18th minute, beating Damien Perrinelle to a cross in the box, but Luis Robles stopped the one-on-one attempt. However, Chicago were unable to build on the threat. An ugly foul by Patrick Nyarko on Mike Grella in the 33rd minute earned New York a penalty call. Kljestan lined up the opportunity, doubling the Red Bulls lead.

New York took an uncharacteristic defensive footing through most of the second half; a clear move to preserve their two goal lead. Chicago took the invitation to play offense, challenging New York with key substitutions in the speedy David Accam and later, Kennedy Igboananike. Eventually, the home side broke through on a Gilberto blast, beating Robles with 12 minutes to go. Nevertheless, New York endured, closing out the match by the slimmest of margins and earning their second trophy in three years.

The Red Bulls’s first place finish in the East earns them a well-deserved bye-week. They will face the lowest seed from Montreal vs. Toronto or DC United vs. New England. They have also earned home field advantage throughout the postseason.

  • slowleftarm

    Awesome result, great season, now on to the Cup!

  • Ny empire fc

    Congrats to red bull and fc Dallas winning half a shield and their conference.
    Hopefully in the coming seasons, MLS will award the conference championship to the team with most points at the end of the season, like for example Dallas and red bull.
    Why make them go through more games when they have the most points in their conference and have made the playoffs.
    By doing that, you can make the playoffs more simple and easier, and maybe have less playoff games.
    As for MLS cup prediction I say, Seattle vs Montreal.

    • Andrew Bissonette

      Can’t even begin to understand what you’re babbling about, but they do award both conference winners with a birth in CCL.

    • slowleftarm

      Even by El Paso’s standards, that post was confusing as hell.

    • Anonymous

      ??? Um, what?

  • The Real insider

    As long as MLS has playoffs system, the supporter shield is irrelevant.

    The only thing that matter is the MLS Cup.

    Just like all other sports in the US.

    • slowleftarm

      As long as the Red Bulls keep winning Supporters Shields, haters will continue to invent reasons that it doesn’t matter and point to other sports as a reason. However, baseball, american football and basketball don’t have trophies for having the best record in the regular season while MLS does. This trophy also means a spot in the CCL, which haters will also pretend is irrelevant. What these trolls don’t realize is that to RBNY fans the tears of other fans taste like sweet sweet candy so we actually enjoy these posts.

      • The Real insider

        Sorry not hating, but it is meaningless in American sports, the St louis Cardinals had the best record in baseball and no one cares. The Mets and Royals won their respective leagues and they got a nice trophy but no one will care about the team that loses the world series.

        The only trophy that matters in US soccer is the one that goes to the winner of the last game which is the MLS Cup,that is the only trophy that matters everything else is window dressing.

        • slowleftarm

          Not sure what relevance baseball has to this discussion. In MLS having the best record in the regular season gets you a trophy and a spot in the Champions League.

          • The Real insider

            The significance is that as long as you have a playoff system best record during the regular season are meaningless.

            Winning the final game is all that matters just like in all American sports the NFL, NLB, NBA, NHL that is how sports are set up in the USA and the MLS is set up in the same manner.

            • slowleftarm

              Except it isn’t meaningless because you get a trophy and a spot in the champions league. Comparisons with sports that don’t have that don’t mean much.

              • The Real insider

                Like I said the Mets get a trophy for winning the National league championship if the Mets don’t win the world series no one will care and the comparison to the supporters shield does make sense since MLS follows the way sports are run in the USA. We are not in europe where they have a single table and the best record really matters.

                We are in the USA where we have playoffs.

                • slowleftarm

                  In soccer, we have multiple trophies awarded each year and winning one is a big deal. I also don’t agree that the Mets winning the NL is worthless and no one will care if they don’t win the WS. Sure, it’s better to win the WS but it’s not worthless to be there. That’s silly.

                  • The Real insider

                    Sports are about winning championships that’s it. No moral victory , no participation trophy’s, second place is the first loser.

                    The team that wins the MLS cup will be the champion nothing else matters.

                    • slowleftarm

                      Well you’re wrong but I don’t see any further reason to go on with this. I’ll just enjoy my team winning another trophy.

  • Mike

    Congrats, Red Bulls!

  • Fastrightleg

    So why have the playoffs? Am I missing something? Where’s the trophy? Or does MLS not have one?