Felipe Brace Helps Red Bulls Rally Past Houston For First Win

by RUSS McKENZIE

Harrison, NJ – Three injured starters and a sputtering start to the match could not contain the New York Red Bulls, who exploded for four goals en route to their first victory of the year.

Down 2-1 at the half, the Red Bulls regained their composure in the second, riding a Felipe brace towards victory over the Houston Dynamo. This, despite losing Gonzalo Veron, Gideon Baah and Ronald Zubar to hamstring injuries.

“Well, I mean, that’s not how you would draw it up,” Red Bulls boss Jesse Marsch said after the match. “I think, again, the fact that there were no subs left in the second half and that we clawed our way back in the game and gave a goal back right away, I felt strongly that if we could step — at halftime I told them I felt strongly that if they could go on the field and believe and play and not be scared that we were going to win the game. It didn’t matter what happened in the game.

“We got ourselves back in and went down again, but the fact that we kept going after the game, they believed it as well. So that part was good. Again, without any subs, then they all know it’s up to those 11 guys to make it happen.”

Coming into Saturday’s match, Jesse Marsch’s club had played 180 minutes of soccer without scoring a goal. They’ve looked sloppy and lazy at times, and finishing was an issue. With Argentine DP Gonzalo Veron back in the starting XI, the Red Bulls looked to change that trend and stop the early season slump.

That didn’t go fully according to plan.

In the opening minutes, New York’s new formation, the 4-2-2-2, seemed to click on all cylanders, overwhelming the Houston defenders with the speed and craftiness of Veron, and the work rate of Bradley Wright-Phillips. That creativity and eloquence put the Red Bulls up 1-0 in the 21′. Midfielder Sacha Kljestan finished a beautifully set up cross by Veron, scoring his first goal of the season — and the team’s first goal of 2016.

Then the narrative changed. Veron left the match with a hamstring injury in 31st; the same injury which forced him out of the first two weeks of the season. Houston tied it five minutes later as Kemar Lawrence misplayed a ball at the top of the 18. Will Bruin took advantage of the gaffe and put his first of two goals on the night passed Luis Robles.

Moments later, Ronald Zubar leaves a ball in the 18 for Bruin to put the Dynamo ahead.

The story would change, yet again. After losing centerback starters Gideon Baah and Zubar, Marsch’s troops showed tremendous fight. Second half sub Mike Grella got the Red Bulls started with a gritty goal in the 63rd minute to put the Red Bulls on top.  Two magnificent strikes by Felipe — including a dead ball winner in the 83rd — completed the rally. The Red Bulls earned a hard fought three points, and head into the Easter break with momentum.

“This can be an interesting business, and it’s not for the weak of heart,” Marsch said. “It rewards people and players that are brave and have courage and want to be in the toughest moments. It’s one of the things I like about this business is that when things get tough, that’s for me when it gets to be the most fun. So, I guess I had fun tonight.”

The Red Bulls resume their MLS schedule, travelling to Foxboro to face the New England Revolution on Friday, April 2nd.


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  • troy

    In one startling moment, Felipe said to himself “Wait, I’m Brazilian!” and then scored 2 amazing goals.

  • BleekerStreet

    Marsch at half time: “I made every mistake a middle age man could make, I pissed away all my money, chased away anyone who ever loved me… Inch by inch” *puts away Any Given Sunday script

  • EPL fan

    this league is hurting

  • slowleftarm

    The EPL you mean? True, at least on the field.

  • John

    what about the RedBulls so far ? very unimpressive


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