HARRISON, N.J. – Daniel Royer tallied his first goal in MLS on Saturday night, the Austrian international putting the New York Red Bulls into the Audi 2016 MLS Cup Playoffs by virtue of a 1-0 home win over the Montreal Impact.
A summer signing from Danish club FC Midtjylland, Royer scored the game’s decisive goal in the 60th minute, knocking in a goal off a cross from teammate Chris Duvall. The effort provided a fitting final scoreline to what was a gritty game in which New York initially struggled to break down a compact Impact side, but ultimately dominated possession and scoring opportunities.
After the goal, Royer didn’t celebrate, uncertain if he had scored it or Impact defender Hassoun Camara had deflected it in.
“I wasn’t sure, everything went very fast. I know that I touched the ball, but I was quite sure that the guy next to me also touched the ball,” Royer said. “Everyone told me that if I touch the ball first then it’s my goal. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter.”
Royer has now made three straight starts for the Red Bulls in league play, growing in influence with each match.
But beyond the goal, Royer’s night was summed up in the 79th minute. Down the right flank, he battled Montreal left back and former Red Bull Ambroise Oyongo for the ball. Royer slipped, allowing Oyongo some space in a tight situation down the sideline.
Royer bounced back up and got a touch on the ball that bounced off Oyongo’s face for a New York throw-in. It was a relatively minor play, but it personified the type of engine that Royer brings to a Red Bulls team that grades work rate and high pressure among a winger’s skill set.
Following the match, Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch called Royer “a big addition.”
“Watching him slide around, make plays, cover ground, compete…he’s good with his feet, he’s a good soccer player,” Marsch said.
“He’s adjusted to the way we play almost immediately. It’s fun to watch him. I think he’s made our team better.”
That singular play to win a throw-in, perhaps as much as the goal, signified exactly why the Red Bulls made Royer a summer signing as his work in the high-press is proving to be an exact fit in this team’s scheme. He smirked when asked about that play, showing more pride in his effort than when asked about the game-winning goal.
“That’s right,” Royer said.
“I think if you look at all the other players on our team, it’s about going hard on them. It’s about making pressure and being there with full energy and I really like it. Like I said, it’s a new style and I really like it and it’s getting better day by day.”