HARRISON, N.J. – Returning home for the first time in nearly a month, the New York Red Bulls kicked off their home stand with a convincing 2-0 win over the San Jose Earthquakes on Friday night at Red Bull Arena, courtesy of goals from Sacha Kljestan and Mike Grella.
Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch opted to field the same lineup seen in New York’s 2-2 draw last weekend against D.C. United, while Dominic Kinnear started star striker Chris Wondolowski on the bench after his stint with the US national team earlier in the week.
After a slow start from both sides, Kljestan opened his Red Bulls account in 29th minute. Midfielder Felipe looked to find Bradley Wright-Phillips at the top of the six-yard box, but last year’s Golden Boot winner couldn’t redirect the effort on target. Instead, Kljestan popped up at the far post to give New York a lead they wouldn’t relinquish.
Long Island native Grella netted his second MLS goal just six minutes later to give the Red Bulls some breathing room. Some lackadaisical defending from San Jose allowed Lloyd Sam to pick out an unmarked Grella at the far post, as his first-time effort beat a helpless David Bingham to double the Red Bulls advantage.
The Earthquakes rarely threatened Luis Robles and the New York defense in the first half, but had one of their best opportunities in the 4th minute. A Matias Perez Garcia corner kick flashed across the goalmouth, but the danger was cleared before San Jose could pounce.
Looking to shake things up, Kinnear turned to his bench in the second half, bringing on both Wondolowski and Homegrown youngster Tommy Thompson. Their introductions gave the Quakes an instant spark of life, as the two nearly combined with Innocent to cut the New York lead in half in the 71st minute, but were kept out once more.
San Jose’s best chance came late in the match as Robles denied Wondolowski in the 83rd minute from point blank range, ensuring his second consecutive home shutout.
The Red Bulls, who remain unbeaten this season, will host the LA Galaxy in the second match of their three-game home stand on Sunday, April 26, while San Jose heads into a bye week before a traveling to Utah to face Real Salt Lake on May 1st.