HARRISON, N.J.—A bicycle kick goal last week and now a score just a minute after halftime from Bradley Wright-Phillips have now spurred the New York Red Bulls to a second straight positive result for a team that has sputtered to start the year.
The goal from Wright-Phillips, his sixth of the year, is nothing new for the franchise’s all-time scoring leader. But in a year where goals have been hard to come by for this team, which beat New England, 2-1, at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, that they came together after a difficult start is perhaps an indicator that they don’t have to rely solely on Wright-Phillips to churn out results.
“I've said sometimes at training, I've said in general that I felt our team now coming together and turning the corner a little bit. The confidence and belief within the group is starting to grow. We're all starting to understand that this is who we know we are,” said head coach Jesse Marsch. “So it's funny, I mean, I've been lucky enough to be here for two-and-a-half seasons. I've been lucky enough to get to know all these players. It's been a pleasure to coach them. I know them well enough now that I know what I'm feeling, I know what I'm looking at, and I know when things are coming together.
“Right now I'm very positive with where we're at. We're looking forward in a big way, but we're still keeping the foot on the pedal and going all the way every day.”
Last week against Toronto, the Red Bulls were outplayed much of the match and didn’t come alive until late, when they pushed for the winner. This week, even while going down early, they controlled the match and continued to create multiple chances.
The win snaps a funk for the Red Bulls, winless in their prior four games, and gave them a much-needed three points to close a three-game homestand. Last Friday’s result against Eastern Conference leaders Toronto was a feel-good moment for a team in a rut, lifting them out of the mire of a tough stretch.
Now against a long-standing rival they have a win – and a dominant one at that.
The held the edge in shots, shots on target, corner kicks and had 60-percent possession for the Red Bulls in a win that looked and felt like the team from the past two years that has topped the Eastern Conference and won a Supporters Shield along the way. They looked and pressed well and their play down the wing looked reminiscent of old, with left back Kemar Lawrence pushing forward well in what was one of his best performances of the year.
“After the last 20 minutes of the first half, we started to look very good. I don’t think they had too many chances or much possession. We looked good, it was good to see, it felt good being out there,” Wright-Phillips said.
“Felt like a little bit like old times.”