(HARRISON, NJ) The New York Red Bulls won their third Supporter’s Shield in five years, defeating Orlando City SC in a sloppy match. The Red Bulls finished the season with the best-ever point total, and number of wins in MLS history.
The Red Bulls did not display their trophy winning form Sunday night, but did just enough to get the job done. They had to rely on a moment of individual brilliance to squeak out a 1-0 victory.
Etienne lifts Red Bulls to Shield win over Orlando
Derrick Etienne Jr. had a terrific opportunity to open the scoring early in the first half. Bradley Wright-Phillips drew a penalty kick, and Etienne stepped up to take the shot. OCSC goalkeeper Adam Grinwis did not fall for Etienne’s stutter step on the approach and saved the shot.
The rest of the first half played out in frustration. The Red Bulls struggled to create quality scoring chances, and gave up a few. Wright-Phillips looked to have picked up an injury, and genuine worry creeped into the stadium. Despite lacking end product, the Red Bulls controlled the tempo, and dictated the terms of the match.
Etienne made up for his penalty kick miss in the 53rd minute. Etienne set off on a terrific solo run, juking past defenders, cutting back, and firing a shot to the far post. Grinwis got a piece of it, but couldn’t keep it out. The goal woke up the team and crowd after the Red Bulls’ first half struggles.
OCSC managed to put a scare into the Red Bulls, scoring a goal adjudged offside and a few near misses. The Red Bulls did just enough to maintain control in the match, but not enough to extend their lead. Chris Armas shifted to a three center back formation, bringing on Fidel Escobar to shore up the backline.
The Red Bulls now wait to find out who they will face in the Eastern Conference semifinals. They will meet the lowest surviving seed from the opening round knockout matches.
Man of the match
Derrick Etienne Jr. Is it possible to be the cow and the bull in the same match? Etienne answered that question with a resounding, yes. His poor first half performance led to a jaw dropping individual effort that led the Red Bulls to victory, and the sheild.