Red Bulls Win Third Straight in MLS

By JACK BELL

Red Bulls logoThe New York Red Bulls won their third straight game in Major League Soccer, and fourth in their last five, defeating Minnesota United, 3-0, on the broiling artificial turf at TCF Bank Stadium on the campus of the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis on a toasty (88 degrees at kickoff) Saturday afternoon.

The Red Bulls (10-8-2, 32 points) got goals from Daniel Royer, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Alex Muyl in their first meeting against the expansion Loons (5-12-4, 19), who have failed to score a goal for more than 350 minutes of play.

“It’s clear that we’re in a good way,” Red Bulls Coach Jesse Marsch said. “We’ve been playing quite well. We’ve been getting good performances from a lot of different guys. So yeah, I feel like the team has come together. The other thing is that we went through some tough early season struggles and it really built character into our group. I think resiliency and in those moments, we always challenge ourselves and each other to grow and to commit to things and know that through the work we’re going to get ourselves into a better place. So, we’ve done that. But like I always say, it’s a broken record, the works not done. We’ve got a long way to go, but right now we’re in a good way.”

Royer opened the scoring in the 16th minute, his third goal in the last 17 minutes of game time (he scored twice in second-half added time against San Jose on Wednesday). He took a pass from Felipe Martins about 40 yards from goal and went unchallenged as he dribbled closer to goal and let fly from about 30 yards. It was his eighth goal of the season.

“Today to be honest I didn’t feel good,” Royer said. “I think none of us did physically, we went through it as a whole team, it was really hot today. I think everybody could see that. It wasn’t the highest quality game, that’s how I would describe it, very hot. Two or three days ago we had a game with a really high humidity, so really hard this week, but we went through the week as a whole team. That was amazing to get six points out of two hard games and that’s a win because of a good team commitment.”

The Red Bulls endured a heart-stopping moment in the 21st minute. A short cross by Minnesota’s Jerome Thiesson was headed on his own goal by Felipe, forcing goalkeeper Luis Robles to make a desperate, reflex save to avoid the own goal.

The Loons wasted a golden opportunity to equalizer near the end of the first half when a curling cross from Kevin Molino found the head of an open Miguel Ibarra. But Ibarra’s header sailed wide of the far post.

The Red Bulls broke right back on the counterattack, with Sean Davis taking a pass from Sacha Kljestan and blasting a shot that was palmed away by goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. The Red Bulls weren’t done. Royer had a chance to double the lead when he walked in on Shuttleworth. But he seemed to flub his shot right into the midsection of a diving Shuttleworth.

Twenty minutes into the second half, Ibarra went down in the Red Bulls penalty area amid appeals for a penalty kick. The Red Bulls countered as Royer sent a searching ball over the defense and into the path of Wright-Phillips. His shot from the top of the penalty area was tipped by Shuttleworth but rolled into the goal for his 10th of the season.

New York sealed the victory in the 90th minute when Alex Muyl scored to make it 3-0 at the end of a five-pass sequence. Sacha Kljestan earned the assist, his 43rd for the club, which made him the club’s career leader ahead of Thierry Henry.


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