Red Bull’s clinch CCL quarterfinals with Antigua draw

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

For the first time in club history, the New York Red Bulls advance to the knockout round of the CONCACAF Champions League with a scoreless draw against Antigua GFC.

The draw also extends the team’s unbeaten streak to a record 17 straight games in all competitions.

The game was played under less than perfect conditions with heavy rain creating massive puddles on the field. Both teams found it to be problematic with the ball coming to a near complete stop along the end lines. The game was also tremendously physical with injuries to Justin Bilyeu and Alex Muyl. The 19-year-old in showed the battle scars following an elbow which left him bloody while Bilyeu suffered an apparent concussion, making for an early night.

New York had trouble finding their legs offensively in the first half with their fast-paced style falling victim to the conditions. They were able to press the Antigua goalkeeper into errors but found the ball less than cooperative in the final third. Gonzalo Veron in particular was best suited to the conditions but even he had trouble with dead balls. Antigua mounted several counter attacking opportunities but put the ball wide of the net.

The second half was more of the same. New York was able to put together some strong efforts, nearly scoring in the 47th minute when Veron put the ball wide of the net. They also nearly broke open the scoring in the 90th minute when Bradley Wright-Phillips made a strong run forcing a save. Ultimately, they were unable to find the breakthrough.

The point pushes New York through to the knockout stages in 2017 and adds to the team’s tremendous unbeaten record. The team has not lost a game since July 3. They will play the next CCL round this February.

Next up for New York is an MLS regular season clash with the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night.


STARTING XI:

New York Red Bulls: Robles; Bilyeu (’45 Lawrence), Collin, Long, Zizzo; Davis, Adams; Grella, S. Wright-Phillips (’62 Muyl), Felipe, Veron (’76 B. Wright-Phillips)

DISCIPLINE:

’34 (RBNY) YELLOW CARD Justin Bilyeu
’68 (RBNY) YELLOW CARD Kemar Lawrence

 

  • Truth be Told

    CCCL is more of a punishment than a reward. There is no prestige, no money, the travel sucks and all it does is add to fixture congestion. CONCACAF wants it to emulate the UEFA CL but it’s not even the Europa League at this point.

    • slowleftarm

      Have to start somewhere. Sounds like someone is upset his team didn’t qualify.

      • James E.

        Uninspired effort in my opinion. But ok. Marsch is not the most adaptable match day coach I have seen.