The differing fortunes for the New York Red Bulls when they are either at or away from Red Bull Arena continued on Saturday night, with another very positive result hosting MLS action. New York defeated the Montreal Impact 3-1 on a sweltering night in Harrison, with high temperatures and high humidity bringing a difficult encounter for players and fans alike.
Home Cooking Sees the New York Red Bulls Defeat Montreal Impact
With head coach Jesse Marsch serving a suspension for his ejection in LA last weekend, assistant manager Denis Hamlett led the club out for an important encounter against a Montreal side that was even with New York on points in the Eastern Conference standings.
The team displayed an excellent ability to bounce back after falling behind early in a physical contest, as a familiar sequence saw the Impact take a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute. A turnover from Kemar Lawrence saw Montreal’s Matteo Mancosu streak up the right flank, turn and find an unmarked Ignacio Piatti near the far post for an easy tap-in. The goal was reminiscent of several goals from the Philadelphia Union and Chris Pontius earlier in 2016, as the New York defense was caught off-guard by a quick counterattack.
But it is not about falling down, it’s about dusting yourself off and coming back even stronger.
The Red Bulls did just that, as a gorgeous pass from Sacha Kljestan found Bradley Wright-Phillips for the equalizing goal only one minute later. A collision in the box saw BWP push the setup past goalkeeper Evan Bush on a slow roll, seeing New York fans explode in celebration before the ball crossed the line. Kljestan recorded his 14th assist of the season on the play, tying the franchise-record with Thierry Henry (2014), Eduardo Hurtado (1998) and himself (2015).
Just before halftime, Red Bull took the lead on a pinpoint cross from midfielder Sean Davis, finding BWP for a header and a 2-1 lead that they would not relinquish. Davis later scored his second goal in as many games and former Red Bull defender Ambroise Oyongo was issued a straight red card for a dangerous tackle, all within the first five minutes of the second half.
Montreal was unable to find a way back into the contest and the Red Bulls now find themselves only two points behind conference leaders NYCFC.
A busy week is ahead for both teams, as a Tuesday night Champions League match against Alianza FC in El Salvador for New York is followed by a return to league action and a trip to Atlantic Cup rival DC United. Montreal will prepare to host DC United on Wednesday night, followed by a trip to BMO Field and a 401 Derby encounter with Toronto FC.
HISTORIC NIGHT FOR WRIGHT-PHILLIPS
Having officially become the franchise leader in goals across all competitions already, Wright-Phillips made sure to have Red Bull Arena staff find a new home for one of the banners hanging near midfield. His two goals on the night bring him to 59 MLS goals, passing Juan Pablo Angel for the team record.
The numbers are an incredible testament to the Englishman’s hard work, great attitude and humble outlook as he has rewritten the club’s scoring record books.
4-4-2 SEES SOME EXCITEMENT
In consecutive weeks, designated player Gonzalo Veron has come on in the second half for Wright-Phillips and made an impact (pardon the pun) on the match.
Coming on in the 70th minute, Veron displayed his excellent pace and ability to get by defenders once again. Used more often as wide midfielder during his time with the club, the Argentine’s place seems to set to be as a striker. While he didn’t find a goal, he was extremely dangerous in his twenty-plus minutes on the field against Montreal.
New arrival Omer Damari made his team debut in place of Kljestan in the 79th minute, and the two forwards caused havoc in the opposing half. The formation could offer useful flexibility for Marsch and the Red Bulls moving forward.
Montreal star forward Didier Drogba had his moments of danger for New York’s defense, but ultimately his behavior on the field was more negative than positive.
In the referee’s face all night, Drogba’s petulant attitude did nothing the help the Impact. An elbow to Red Bulls defender Aurelien Collin was reckless and may see action from the MLS Disciplinary Committee this week.
Montreal will expect better from one of their leaders as they fight for the playoffs.