by ANTHONY J. MERCED
The New York Red Bulls’ regular-season unbeaten streak was stopped at 18 games on Sunday night at CenturyLink Field in a 3-1 loss to the reigning MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders.
Goals by Clint Dempsey, Jordan Morris and Harry Shipp shredded a fragile Red Bulls defense, while New York was rarely dangerous on offense.
New York started the first half with solid passing and forceful play in the midfield. It controlled possession and was quick to plug the gaps on turnovers in the midfield. Despite this pressure, the Red Bulls were unable to put meaningful shots on target. Even with less possession, Seattle had the better opportunities. The Sounders took the lead in the 28th minute when Jordan Morris was fouled in the box by Luis Robles. Clint Dempsey converted the penalty kick.
From that point the Sounders played a more dangerous counter-attacking game. It would carry over early in the second half when Morris came close to doubling the lead with chip that sailed over Robles. New York showed some life when Bradley Wright-Phillips scored on a glancing header from a Sal Zizzo cross. But the momentum wouldn’t last long.
New York was undone in the 66th minute. Joevin Jones slipped the ball through Zizzo’s legs and found Nicolas Lodeiro, who crossed to Morris for the header that proved to be the eventual game-winner. Then Harry Shipp doubled the lead in the 79th minute when he deflected Jones’ shot.
New York lost for the first time in league play since July 3 of last year at Yankee stadium. It is also the second time Coach Jesse Marsch has suffered a loss to the Sounders at CenturyLink Field — that one a 2-1 loss in 2015. New York will be one of few teams to play during the international break, hosting Real Salt Lake at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
New York Red Bulls: Robles; Bilyeu, Long, Perrinelle, Zizzo; Kljestan, Davis (’74 Etienne Jr.), Felipe, Royer (’81 Muyl); Wright-Phillips, Gulbrandsen (’57 Grella)
Seattle Sounders FC: Frei; Jones, Marshall, Svensson, Fisher (’65 Fernandez); Roldan, Alonso; Shipp, Dempsey (’90 Wingo), Lodeiro; Morris (’81 Bruin)
28′ (Seattle): Clint Dempsey (1) penalty kick
57′ (RBNY) Bradley Wright-Phillips (1) assisted by Sal Zizzo
66′ (Seattle) Jordan Morris (1) assisted by Nicholas Lodeiro and Joevin Jones
25′ (RBNY): Yellow Felipe Martins
27′ (RBNY): Yellow Luis Robles
30′ (RBNY):Yellow Fredrik Gulbrandsen
62′ (RBNY): Yellow Bradley Wright-Phillips
78′ (Seattle): Yellow Clint Dempsey
90′ (Seattle): Yellow Alvaro Fernandez