The New York Red Bulls defeated Minnesota United FC, 3-0, on Saturday afternoon in the teams' first meeting. A 16th-minute goal from Daniel Royer put the Red Bulls ahead, with a 67th-minute goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips and a 90th-minute goal from Alex Muyl providing the insurance needed for the Red Bulls — who now have their first three-game road winning streak in four years.
Meanwhile, Minnesota's scoring woes continued; despite some good attempts throughout the match, the Loons now stand at nearly six hours of playing time without a goal. Their last goal in MLS play came June 29 in a 3-1 loss at NYCFC.
- THE ROYER TREATMENT: The Austrian international scored his eighth goal of the 2017 campaign, and his fourth in three games, to give the Red Bulls a first-half lead they wouldn't relinquish. He also nearly had a second goal in a 1-on-1 situation toward the end of the first half, and assisted on BWP's insurance goal to round out an outstanding, profile-raising performance.
- FROM THE PLANE TO THE PITCH: Minnesota boosted its injury-riddled lineup with two international signings earlier this month: New Zealand centerback Michael Boxall (fresh from the most recent Confederations Cup) and Scottish winger Sam Nicholson. Both were pressed into sooner-than-expected action and made their debuts Saturday, with Boxall going the full 90 and Nicholson lasting to close to the hour mark.
- KLJESTAN COMES THROUGH: With New York's final goal of the match, stalwart Sacha Kljestan reached a notable team milestone: Kljestan passed Thierry Henry on the Red Bulls' all-time assist list with his 43rd. It came on an impressive sequence that saw multiple attacking players touch the ball before Muyl slotted it home. It came in a match where analysts grappled with what numbers to assign the unconventional formation that ultimately paid dividends.
They Said It
"It was really hot for a first game. The heat was hard for me. I’m used to always the cold temperature in Scotland, so it was a hard one. It wasn’t the result we wanted, but I thought we played well. It was a hard one for us to take, especially three-nil. I don’t think the result reflected the performance. But that’s soccer I suppose."
—Sam Nicholson, Minnesota United FC