HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls' mastery of international teams in recent years continued on Wednesday night, a 2-0 friendly win over Club America perhaps a springboard for the team following a rough stretch in league play.
Shaun Wright-Phillips' goal in the third minute, a bicycle kick off an Anatole Abang header (watch it here or below), started the scoring for the Red Bulls. Despite Club America having the run of play, the Red Bulls did a good job of neutralizing one of the best attacks in the hemisphere.
Then Dan Metzger, one of several second half substitutes from the Red Bulls' USL squad, scored a looping goal from 20 yards out in the 53rd minute (watch it here or below).
The win comes following a tough spell for the club. They have one point from their last three league matches and last week were knocked out of the US Open Cup by the Philadelphia Union. With the defending MLS Cup champion Portland Timbers visiting Red Bull Arena on Sunday night (6 pm ET, ESPN2), perhaps this result gives a lift to the team.
“I think it will be a catalyst but from a point of view, we’ve had a tricky spell. But that’s football, you go through them in the season. The main thing is that you bounce back from it,” Wright-Phillips said after the match.
“We have another important game on Sunday, the main thing for tonight is we had a lot of USL products…they’ve come through and looked fantastic and didn’t look out of place.”
Club America, the reigning CONCACAF champions and Mexican powerhouse, very nearly got on the scoreboard several times in the second half, squandering several chances. In the 80th minute goalkeeper Kyle Reynish pulled off a pair of big saves, the second one denying midfielder Osvaldo Martinez from distance as he pushed his effort over the crossbar.
The win over Club America comes in light of other strong results in international friendly matches in recent years such as impressive wins over Chelsea and Benfica last year and Arsenal in 2014.
But the match also carries undertones for the Red Bulls who are set to embark on CONCACAF Champions League play in August. The team has twice before participated in the international tournament, and have never made it out of the group stage.
“I think we used this game in the absolute right way,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “It will bolster some confidence. And I think it also will help guys with sharpness and fitness for the stretch coming up.”
RBNY Lineup: Kyle Reynish -- Justin Bilyeu, Gideon Baah (Zach Carroll), Damien Perrinelle (Zoumana Simpara), Chris Duvall (Konrad Plewa) -- Tyler Adams (Dan Metzger), Shaun Wright-Phillips (Florian Valot, Stefano Bonomo), Sean Davis (Speedy Williams) -- Gonzalo Veron (Vincent Bezecourt), Anatole Abang (Brandon Allen), Derrick Etienne Jr. (Junior Flemmings)