The New York Red Bulls completed their second leg comeback against the Columbus Crew SC on the back of Daniel Royer’s big night.
The Red Bulls winger scored a brace and added an assist to lead the way.
Coming into the match, the Red Bulls needed a goal to tie the series. Given their form against the Crew this season, and their history of failure at Red Bull Arena in the MLS Playoffs, the task at hand seemed too large for the young side. The Red Bulls delivered a stunning 3-0 victory, reminding the league of their season long dominance.
Royer runs over Crew, powers RBNY to conference finals
The Red Bulls took the lead in the 17th minute on a set piece opportunity. Sean Davis sent the free kick to the back post to Daniel Royer. Royer headed the ball back into the center of the box. Aaron Long tapped the ball through traffic, off of Alex Muyl, and into the net. The goal brought the teams level on aggregate and set up an exciting match.
The goal inspired the Red Bulls through the first half. A renewed energy poured from the players, tipping the scales of the match from yellow to red. The Crew came to Red Bull Arena looking to play a tidy match, giving away few chances and maintaining their advantage from the first leg. The goal changed that approach, and it took the Crew time to adjust.
The Red Bulls took the series lead in the 74th minute. Alex Muyl found Tyler Adams driving into the box. Adams squared the ball to Daniel Royer and the winger fired the ball into the net passed Zach Steffen. Royer doubled the series advantage with a second goal just three minutes later with a laser from the top of the box.
The Crew fought valiantly to regain their footing over the final 15 minutes, but the Red Bulls defense and Luis Robles held firm to the two goal advantage. For the first time in five seasons, the Red Bulls emerged victorious in a home and home MLS playoff series.
The Red Bulls now head to the Eastern Conference Finals to face Atlanta United FC. The Five Stripes are yet to beat the Red Bulls in their history, but the playoffs prove a different beast. The Red Bulls win against the Crew is testament.
Man of the match
Daniel Royer played a role in every goal scored on the night. The winger overcame an inconsistent season and a late knee injury to turn in a big performance when the Red Bulls needed it most. The massive win eases Red Bulls fans fears for now.