Alex Muyl and Sacha Kljestan struck in the second half following an own goal in the first half as the New York Red Bulls cruised to a tidy 3-0 win over Antigua GFC in the opening match of Group F in the Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League Wednesday at Red Bull Arena.
The match had a little bit of everything in the opening half hour, with one goal, one sending off, three bookings, chances on both sides and two shots off the woodwork.
The Red Bulls, which fielded mostly a reserve lineup, jumped in front in the 14th minute on an own goal by Alejandro Galindo. A low Sean Davis corner kick went into the net off Galindo’s back as he wrapped up Shaun Wright-Phillips in front of goal.
Muyl, who twice hit the crossbar, got his just reward in the 62nd minute when he pulled a Kemar Lawrence cross back away from an Antigua defender before finishing with his left from inside the six-yard box to double the Red Bulls lead.
Kljestan came off the substitute's bench to put the game away in the 79th minute, finishing a nice combination with Gonzalo Veron.
After Muyl hit the woodwork the first time, Antigua raced down field on a quick counter and Enrique Herrera raced in on Ryan Meara, but the Red Bulls goalkeeper made a kick save. Meara also parried a Roberto Carlos Pena shot over the crossbar in the seventh minute.
The visitors from Guatemala were reduced to 10 men in the 26th minute when Sixto Betancourt was shown a straight red for a dangerous challenge on a boot to the face of Felipe.
- 14’ – NY – Alejandro Galindo (OG)
- 62’ – NY – Alex Muyl (Kemar Lawrence)
- 79' - NY - Sacha Kljestan (Gonzalo Veron)
- Full box score
1. STRONG START: It was almost a case of history repeating itself as the Red Bulls won their group stage opener in style. The same was true two years ago, when Saer Sene and Lloyd Sam scored a goal in each half in a 2-0 win over C.D. FAS at Red Bull Arena. That was, however, their only win as the Red Bulls finished second to the Montreal Impact and failed to advance to the knockout stage.
2. NEARLY A DREAM DEBUT: Derrick Etienne, who replaced Shaun Wright-Phillips in the 70th minute, came off the bench to make his first team debut and had an eventful final 20 minutes. He put the ball in the net, but the assistant referee's flag was raised for offside. He also had a shot blocked that resulted in a corner kick and put another attempt off the crossbar.
3. PARTY OF FIVE: When Etienne stepped onto the field, the Red Bulls had five, count them five, Homegrown players on the field at the same time. Etienne joined Sean Davis, Tyler Adams, Alex Muyl and Connor Lade.
- NY: Sunday, August 7 at LA Galaxy (9:30 pm ET | FS1, MLS LIVE)