HARRISON, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls were down a man and a goal at halftime, but two exquisite goals saw them pull off an impressive rally that pushed them back into a playoff spot.
The 10-man Red Bulls came from behind and defeated the New England Revolution, 2-1, at Red Bull Arena on Saturday night through two splendid second-half strikes from Dax McCarty and Bradley Wright-Phillips. McCarty inspired the comeback with a magnificent chip in the 47th minute, and Wright-Phillips netted his latest on a sublime effort shortly after the hour mark.
New England had initially taken a 1-0 lead through a Charlie Davies strike, but could not stop a Red Bulls side that looked determined for three points that have proven quite elusive this season.
New York moved to 6-6-10 on the year with the victory and into fourth place in the Eastern Conference after sitting in sixth following Wednesday’s 1-1 draw at Real Salt Lake. The fifth-placed Revolution fell to 8-12-2 with the result and have now lost nine of their last 10 games.
There was an early moment of controversy in the match, as Davies was given a yellow card in the penalty area for simulation. Ibrahim Sekagya made contact on the play in the second minute, but match official Allen Chapman did not see enough in the challenge to call it a foul and instead issued Davies a yellow card.
Davies punished the Red Bulls 18 minutes later, scoring his first Revolution goal with a headed effort from close range. Teal Bunbury beat Roy Miller on the dribble to start the scoring sequence and hit a cross that was deflected by Sekagya into the path of Davies, who celebrated his first goal since Sept. 10 2011 by doing his patented "Stanky Leg" celebration.
If the match was a physical one before the goal, it turned into a near cage match after it. Chris Duvall cleaned out Kelyn Rowe on a shoulder-to-shoulder barge inside the 18-yard box in the 33rd minute that Chapman deemed fair, and Bunbury got away with an apparent elbow to the face of Ambroise Oyongo early in the second half.
The Red Bulls were penalized just before halftime, however. Center back Matt Miazga – starting in place of suspended Jamison Olave – went in late on Lee Nguyen just past the midfield stripe and the two collided hard before Chapman issued a straight red to the young defender.
New York were further handicapped at halftime as Tim Cahill had to be replaced by Eric Alexander because of a groin injury, but the hosts did not look like a team playing with 10 men in the second half and struck immediately.
McCarty received a pass from Alexander about 20 yards away from goal, and proceeded to chip a gorgeous shot just inside the far post past a helpless Bobby Shuttleworth. It was McCarty’s second goal of the season and first since March.
Continuing to play with a three-man back line even after scoring the equalizer, the Red Bulls looked good throwing numbers in the attack and found the go-ahead goal in the 63rd minute. Lloyd Sam drew two defenders and played a ball into space for Wright-Phillips, who pulled off a quick cutback on an unsuspecting A.J. Soares and proceeded to curl a sublime left-footed effort off the post and in.
The goal was Wright-Phillips’ league-leading 18th of the season, his seventh in as many games, and put him one behind legendary striker Juan Pablo Angel for the Red Bulls’ all-time season scoring record set in 2007.
Substitute forward Peguy Luyindula nearly iced the game in the 86th minute, but his low shot caromed off the far post after rolling by a frozen Shuttleworth.
The Revolution had one late look to tie when Kevin Alston got on the end of a corner kick from the left. Unfortunately for the Revolution, his close-range header went over the crossbar.
The Red Bulls will now send three players to the MLS All-Star Game in Portland, Oregon before visiting the Chicago Fire next Sunday. The Revolution, meanwhile, are off until a home game against the Portland Timbers on Aug. 16.
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.
MLSsoccer.com Men of the Match
|Rank||Player||What We Saw|
|1||Dax McCarty||Shielded inexperienced defense in first half, then turned on the skill in the 2nd half. All in all, a complete performance|
|2||Bradley Wright-Phillips||He may benefit from playing with Thierry Henry, but BWP showed why he's leading the league in scoring with well-taken goal|
|3||Charlie Davies||Scored his first MLS goal in nearly three years, and provided a good spark for Revs in 1st half before team fell apart after break|