The New York Red Bulls relied on a dominant second half to overcome first half failure to win their home opener.
A double from Alex Muyl and goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer saw off the San Jose Earthquakes 4-1. The Earthquakes controlled the first half, but fell victim to complacency in the second.
The Earthquakes wasted no time starting the match. In the 5th minute, a breakaway opportunity led to a quick chance for Cristian Espinoza. The winger took his chance, beating Luis Robles with a low shot to the far post. The early goal immediately unbalanced the Red Bulls, and they struggled to regain control of the match through the first 15 minutes of play.
The Red Bulls entered the match without Kaku. Listed as a “coaches decision”, the playmaker’s absence was felt. The Red Bulls struggled to create any danger, managing just a single shot on goal. The Red Bulls passing percentage tanked thanks to the lack of creativity, completing only 58% of the passes in the first half.
Things went from bad to worse in the 35th minute. Florian Valot, recently recovered from an ACL injury in 2018, left the match after suffering a knee injury. Valot provided most of the Red Bulls bright spots early in the match. Missing Kaku, a goal down, and struggling to create chances, losing the creative midfielder was a big blow for the Red Bulls.
The Red Bulls pulled even after the half. In the 51st minute, Bradley Wright-Phillips fired a shot from outside of the 18-yard box. San Jose goalkeeper, Daniel Vega, parried the shot away. The rebound was picked up by Daniel Royer and sent across the box. Alex Muyl finished the move to bring the match level.
The Red Bulls gained momentum following their equalizer. They created multiple dangerous chances, but struggled to keep them on frame.
Muyl struck again in the 71st minute. A tricky set piece sent Royer free into the box. His cross deflected up across the box, and Muyl tapped it in putting the Red Bulls ahead. The reenergized Red Bulls scored another in the 85th minute when Sean Davis found Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 6-yard box.
The Red Bulls added a fourth in the 90th minute. Once again, the Earthquakes fell victim to defending low crosses. This time, it was Daniel Royer scoring the goal on a cross from Michael Murillo.
The Red Bulls showed great resolve to overturn the first half result. Next up, they face Orlando City SC.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography