KANSAS CITY, Kan. – The New York Red Bulls found an unlikely hero in Brian White during Sunday night’s 2-2 draw at Sporting Kansas City.
After a miserable first half for the Red Bulls, they pulled together and produced a second-half performance that looked more like what you’d expect out of last year’s Supporters’ Shield winners.
Daniel Royer’s goal at the 52nd minute mark got them level, and then a surprise move by Chris Armas brought White into the match in the 72nd minute for decorated striker Bradley Wright-Phillips.
White only had one goal to his MLS tally, as the Duke product has been in MLS for under a year. But Armas trusted him to enter and provide what the Red Bulls needed, ultimately a diving header in the 75th minute that evaded Tim Melia.
“We get to see day in and day out the work that Brian does,” Armas said. “We know the demand from Bradley Wright-Phillips is high against the ball, and with the ball we ask him to run behind and to be connected always defensively, and it’s a big ask. So to come in and provide energy up the field, just to be a spark, and again to meet the demands of the game is why we brought Brian in.”
White was selected by the Red Bulls in the 2018 MLS Super Draft, going 16th overall. He started 2018 with Red Bulls II, tallying eight goals and five assists, eventually earning a contract with the first team in August of 2018.
So how’d the goal come together?
“Kaku got the ball out wide,” White said. “Chris had told me to split the center backs, so I took up that position and made eye contact. He played the ball in and I just tried to get my head on it.”
Simple as you’d like, it seems. The header was massively important, though, giving RBNY their first points in MLS since a March 16 win over the San Jose Earthquakes.
In breaking this uncharacteristic slump, White was just happy to make a contribution while filling BWP’s shoes.
“It feels good to help the team, contribute to the team, and it put us in a position to win the game,” White said. “Unfortunately we couldn’t hold the scoreline, but it’s a good result away from home and hopefully we can continue this and get a win next weekend."