98 minutes and 20 seconds. That’s how long it took for New York Red Bulls to grab the lead against their rivals DC United, well at least in standard time. In game time, it only took a minute and 20 seconds. Much like the weather that prevented the game from starting on time, Chris Armas’ team came crashing down upon their rivals at Audi Field.
Red Bulls flip script with electric first half
Armas opted to rotate his squad a little before the home game against Columbus Crew this Saturday. Alex Muyl and Derrick Etienne replaced Marc Rzatkowksi and Daniel Royer in the starting lineup.
Of course the opening goal would be scored by the man of the moment, Bradley Wright-Phillips. A simple through ball by Kaku found him and the striker buried the chance for his 100th goal in MLS.
“It looked like the keeper saved it to me, to be honest,” said Aaron Long in post game interview. “He (Ousted) got his finger tips on it, I mean Brad is the best we expect him to score goals like that. We know he’s going to score goals, he’s going to keep scoring goals. He is the fastest to 100 ever, that says something great about him.”
Armas men wouldn’t rest on their laurels and continued to push the tempo. Tim Parker nearly scored from a corner minutes later. Michael Murillo consistently troubled D.C.’s defense with his pace and overlapping runs while combining with Muyl. The same could be said for Etienne who missed a golden opportunity to double his team’s lead.
Perhaps the biggest reason for RBNY’s constant pressure in the first half was because of how much space Kaku had. The most creative player on the field was able to do what he wanted, when he wanted to. He picked out teammates consistently and was unfortunate to not add another assist and possibly a goal to his name as well. BWP had a few chances after his goal that on another day he probably scores.
“It’s always gonna be tough to play them (DC United),” Bradley Wright Phillips said in a post game interview. “Their new stadium, fans, and everything. As soon as I got here it was the only rival I knew about. I knew it was a big game and one to get up for, and the guys know that. We tend to do well, we’re on a good run.”
Some might think this performance might mean the return of the strike fast style under Jesse Marsch, but it isn’t the case. Armas’ men controlled a lot of the possession in the first half as they patiently looked to break down D.C. They attacked the game in multiple ways: set pieces, long ball, pass and move,and using their width. It may not have worked against D.C. mainly due to poor finishing but it’s encouraging to see the players much like Armas try new things in the game.
It may not have been an ideal second half as Armas subbed off Kaku, Etienne, and Muyl to rest up for the weekend. D.C. started to climb back into the game and had some good chances late on, but RBNY’s backline lead by Long and Parker played well and snuffed out any clear chances.
“At halftime we talked about them throwing a lot of numbers, naturally, 4-1-4-1,” RBNY head coach Chris Armas said in a post game interview. “They got a lot of numbers up the field and we had to make some adjustments but for the most part we were able to deal with it. Inevitably, they sneak through a few times, a couple of giveaways on our end, a couple of plays they put together and a couple of random balls in behind. But our guys stuck with it.”
Armas earned his first road win and now has three wins in a row and back to back shutouts. People can still be cautiously optimistic about how far he takes this team, but a win this weekend against Columbus Crew SC might silence the rest of the doubters.