A late second-half fightback at Portland kicked off New York’s 13 day, four-game road trip on the right foot with a well-earned 3-3 draw.
“We definitely showed a little backbone today, a little resiliency,” said midfielder Austin da Luz, who had a goal and an assist on the night. “Fortunately we were able to fight back.”
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A fifth-minute da Luz goal ignited a New York first half where they ran through the Portland midfield like a buzzsaw, and it seemed like all positives for the visitors.
After halftime, the Red Bulls heard the noise they didn’t want to have echo through JELD-WEN Field on Sunday night: the sound of Timber Joey’s chainsaw cutting through wood. Three second-half goals meant that three times the woodsman fired up his saw to celebrate in front of the Timbers Army. The offensive outburst put the Red Bulls down 3-1 by the 67th-minute mark and they seemed set for an ugly result.
It could have been even worse as wave after wave of Portland attackers converged on the New York penalty area. A Teemu Tainio bicycle-kick clearance on the goal line and a missed penalty kick by Portland’s Jack Jewsbury kept it from getting out of hand and left the door open for the Red Bulls.
They responded by scoring twice in the last 20 minutes to extend their streak to six matches without a loss.
The response was kicked off by a well-worked one-two between da Luz and Thierry, who finished well with his left foot to get the Red Bulls back to a one-goal deficit.
“That was the goal I think that snapped us out of it, where we said, ‘Screw this, we’re not losing this game,'” da Luz told MLSsoccer.com. “We responded.”
First was Henry’s goal, then came the late drama. Three minutes into stoppage time, Henry was red carded for a scuffle with Portland’s Adam Moffat. Moments after that, Portland defender Rodney Wallace was called for handling a De Rosario cross.
The Canadian stepped up and nailed the penalty kick to give his club the road point, just days after rejoining the team on his return from Canada's Gold Cup campaign.
The midfielder played up top in place of injured forward Luke Rodgers and went the full 90 minutes in an effort that was absolutely gutsy as he overcame the fatigue of the last few weeks to be the team’s most consistent offensive spark. It was just another example of a New York player stepping up on a night where the Red Bulls, despite missing five regulars, did enough for a draw.
“That’s why he is who he is,” da Luz said of De Rosario. “He’s a top-class player. It’s what we expect of him.”
And now with Seattle and Chicago plus San Jose still left on the Red Bulls’ odyssey, RBNY are hoping that the grit they showed on Sunday night will help them get more results on the road over the next two weeks.
“I think it’s a good result for us in a tough place to play,” da Luz said. “A decent start to the trip.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer