The New York Red Bulls achieved their objective in Guatemala City, booking a first-ever spot in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals after playing Antigua GFC to a scoreless draw at a rain-soaked Estadio Mateo Flores on Tuesday night.
The Red Bulls clinched the top spot in Group F with the draw, making the Antigua-Alianza match on the final day of the group stage on Oct. 18 meaningless.
Coming off a 1-0 win over Montreal that clinched their spot in the Audi 2016 MLS Cup playoffs and with a league fixture against the Philadelphia Union on the horizon, Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch went with an almost completely-changed lineup with goalkeeper Luis Robles, central defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Felipe the only holdovers from the Impact game.
Both teams struggled to create opportunities on a waterlogged pitch that had several patches of standing water.
Antigua’s Mauro Portillo came close to breaking the scoreless stalemate in the 69th minute, but his shot through traffic near the left post went wide of Robles’ goal.
Three minutes later, Felipe had an open shot from just outside the box, but his attempt sailed over the net.
- HISTORIC WEEK: Is it a stretch to say this was one of the best weeks in Red Bulls history? Just four days after clinching a seventh consecutive berth in the Audi MLS Cup playoffs, they booked their ticket into the CONCACAF Champions League knockout stages for the first time ever by finishing atop Group F with eight points.
- TWO IN, TWO TO GO?: The Red Bulls join the Vancouver Whitecaps as the two MLS squads to reach the final eight in the CCL, with the Whitecaps clinching Group C ahead of Wednesday's home game against Central FC. The Portland Timbers are still alive in Group B and the same is true of FC Dallas in Group H.
- THEY'RE STREAKING: With the 0-0 draw against Antigua, the Red Bulls stretched their unbeaten streak to 17 in all competitions. That's 6-0-7 in league play and 2-0-2 in CCL.
- NY: Saturday, Oct. 1 vs. Philadelphia Union (7 pm ET | MLS LIVE)