Late Wright-Phillips goal downs DC; Red Bulls advance to Eastern Finals

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by DAVE MARTINEZ

HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls are on to the Eastern Conference Finals — and they nearly did it without scoring a single goal.

Carrying a 1-0 aggregate lead into the second leg of their series against DC United, New York held their opponents to a pair of inconsequential shots on goal before adding an extra time score from Bradley Wright-Phillips to oust their rivals from playoff contention.

With the 1-0 victory, New York now awaits the winner of Columbus Crew SC vs. Montreal Impact to learn their opponent in the Eastern Conference Finals.

New York’s high-press led to a chance just two minutes into the match. Mike Grella sent a blast on net off of a Sal Zizzo feed that kissed the crossbar before being cleared by DC. Sacha Kljestan added a scare in the 30th, sending a skipping shot just wide of Bill Hamid’s net. While a Fabian Espindola attempt near net forced Robles into a diving stop, New York officially held United to zero shots through three half of  payoff soccer.

Ben Olsen pushed his players up in attack to start the second half, but their short-lived pressure quickly dissipated, allowing New York to go back on the attacking foot. The Red Bulls nearly broke the scoreless deadlock on a 35-yard dead ball that just missed the mark. Sacha Kljestan delivered his attempt into the box finding Ronald Zubar in space, but the French defender booted the attempt well into the South Ward. Kljestan continued his impressive play, taking a pass from Dax McCarty in the 63rd minute, forcing Bill Hamid to stretch for the save. Bradley Wright-Phillips managed the only other noteworthy shot on goal in added time, but his attempt was pawed away by Hamid.

Alvaro Saborio made way for Jairo Arrieta in the 68th minute, breathing some life into DC’s attack. However, United failed to find a way to penetrate a stout Red Bulls defense. New York’s attack continued on into added time, where Wright-Phillips finally broke through, taking a Gonzalo Veron feed and blasting it past Hamid for the lone goal of the match.

New York now await the winner of Columbus Crew vs. Montreal Impact to decide their Eastern Conference Final opponent. New York will be on the road come November 22nd for the start of the final playoff round before MLS Cup.

  • Cosmo

    boring game, dc united has nothing and red.bull might get surprised how much better crew and Montreal are and the west.
    In 3 years the east should ne better

    • BleedingRed

      Why would the RedBulls be surprised what those teams have to offer?

      • slowleftarm

        Yeah, it’ll be a tough series but you may recall that just last month they beat each of those teams within a four day span.

        • Ali

          I just don’t see how they will win do u ?

          • slowleftarm

            How they will beat Columbus? Well, they beat them home and away this year (also lost to them away) so it’s not exactly far-fetched. It’ll be a more competitive series than DC, and RBNY could certainly lose it. Guess we’ll see…

            • Larry is a moron

              picking the Crew regular season is regular season Rb’s just playing ok not great.

              • slowleftarm

                Fair enough although Columbus was about 15 minutes from going out yesterday while DC didn’t muster a good chance in two games despite RBNY not playing great. Certainly, Columbus could win this series though.

                • slowleftarm

                  hopefully for your sake they will finally win it all or it could lead u to talking to yourself a lot u know ?

                  • slowleftarm

                    Not bad but if I was taking the time to pose as someone else, I’d say something more interesting.

                    • slowleftarm

                      dude u are loco !!!!!!!

                • larry is a dummy

                  I changed my mind I think Columbus is the more quality side. Looks like another failure of a season.

  • Nick Chavez

    Good turnout and atmosphere in #RBA today. Still not quite at the atmosphere of a regular season #HudsonDerby though.

    NY area fans outside of Yankee Stadium just don’t know what it’s like to support a big cluc. I do. I have been a Madridista for 13 years after all.

    I am Nick Chavez; the most interesting man in the world.

    I don’t often watch American Soccer, but when I do it’s NYCFC.

    Stay thirsty, my friends.

    • Nicky

      atmosphere was just ok kinda lame really.

      where are the RB fans ?

  • Cosmo

    The east is so weak,which makes red bull look good.
    DC sucks, Montreal looked tired and crew look lost against Montreal.
    Montreal could have won but played too relax.
    So far I see a red bull versus A tired west team.