The New York Red Bulls traveled to the Dominican Republic for the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16. With decisive passing and possession, the squad grabbed two crucial away goals while blanking Club Atletico Pantoja. The team’s easily recognizable identity shone through for ninety minutes plus.
Ready to Go
RBNY seemed to pick up where they left off last season in many aspects of their play. From the opening whistle, the team performed as a cohesive unit.
“It was a really professional and really mature performance from everyone,” said midfielder Daniel Royer of the team effort. His goal in the 67th minute doubled the lead for RBNY. With the departure of Tyler Adams, the team has proven they are not hampered by change. An unfortunate injury brought Kemar Lawrence to the pitch earlier than anticipated.
He quickly proved that his recovery was on track. Throughout the match, the team showed that they had shaken off the cobwebs of the off season.
None of the team pre-season scrimmages were blowouts, so expectations weren’t clear. Confidence was high around the squad and with coach Chris Armas, however.
“We feel good about coming on the road in this competition,” he said following the win. Every player showed they were on the same page.
The back line thwarted attacks; Pantoja were not allowed a single shot on target. The midfield pressed through the middle of the park. Sean Davis, Marc Rzatkowski, and Alejandro “Kaku”Romero Gamarra fed the ball to the top of the penalty box. Throwing the opposition off their game led to the own goal in the 39th minute that first put RBNY on top, courtesy of a volley by Bradley Wright-Phillips.
Academy Products Feature
Connor Lade, Sean Davis, and Alex Muyl are now veteran academy products that made the starting lineup for this first match of 2019. Substitutes Omir Fernandez and Brian White are part of the next generation of the Red Bull Academy to enter the first team.
Fernandez, a Bronx native who made his first team debut in the Champions League game, took his first shot moments after coming onto the field. White, who scored in his MLS debut last season, also threatened the Pantoja net moments after entering the field.