After a 2-0 home loss in leg 1, the Red Bulls traveled down to Torreón, Mexico with a big task at hand. Chris Armas rolled out a very different lineup with Omir Fernandez and Florian Valot in the midfield in hopes of sparking a comeback. Kemar Lawrence was still out of action, replaced by veteran Conor Lade. Michael Murillo returned to CCL play after a yellow card in the Round of 16 kept him out of the first leg of the Quarterfinals.
Just four minutes in, Kaku slid in Daniel Royer who squared the ball to a slashing Omir Fernandez for the 1-0 lead. The 19 year-old’s tap-in gave the Red Bulls a jump start in the biggest game of his early career. 5 minutes later, the Red Bulls struck again. Florian Valot found Bradley Wright-Phillips in the box to set up Daniel Royer putting New York up 2-0.
Bradley Wright-Phillips had a great chance to put New York 3-0 up in the 23rd minute, but shot it directly at the keeper. As the half went on Santos Laguna found their footing putting together a barrage of attacks. The Red Bulls limped into half with momentum clearly in Santos’ favor. Santos Laguna held the advantage in shots with 8, but only put one on target. On the other hand, New York’s early onslaught proved deadly putting 5 of their 6 shots at GK Jonathan Orozco.
The Red Bulls made the first substitution of the night in the 65th minute, bringing off both Omir Fernandez and Florian Valot. In their place, newly-signed Danish striker Mathias Jorgensen entered along with Derrick Etienne Jr.
Santos Laguna pulled the tie back in their favor in the 70th minute with a clean finish from Jose Abella. With the score 2-1, the Red Bulls just needed one more goal to advance to the semi-finals on away goals.
And then everything came crashing down.
In a matter of five minutes the Red Bulls conceded three straight goals. Brian Lozano and Diego Valdes scored in the 76th and 79th minute putting the tie way out of reach. To add insult to injury, Lozano added the goal of the tournament to put Santos Laguna up 4-2 and 6-2 on aggregate.
Man of the Match
Brian Lozano – Lozano completed 23/32 passes with two key passes and a game breaking screamer to send Santos Laguna through. On the defensive end, Lozano had six recoveries and two interceptions.