Red Bulls earn hard-fought draw at Sporting KC, 2-2

With supporters and pundits asking about the sudden lack of offense, the abandonment of the press, incessant slow starts among other things, the New York Red Bulls began their two-match road trip against Sporting Kansas City.

Kemar Lawrence did not make the trip, due to a sudden illness. Because of that, Conor Lade started in his stead. Coach Armas trotted the team out in a 4-1-4-1 formation hoping to take advantage of a team coming from just three days rest.

After surviving nervy defensive moments the Red Bulls settled down and began to climb back into the game. The Red Bulls thought they opened the scoring in the 16th minute, however, Bradley Wright-Phillips scored from an offside position.

The oft-mentioned mental lapses that have plagued the team in calamitous fashion have once again, reared its ugly head. Off a throw-in, Johnny Russell somehow got in the box unmolested, and unlike his shot earlier, he did not miss to give the home side the lead in the 24th minute.

The Red Bulls offense created a few good moments. They moved the ball deftly in the final third, but Sporting Kansas City snuffed out each attack.

The moment the Red Bulls were looking for finally came in the 52nd minute. Christian Casserers Jr. lofted a sweet ball over a shocked Sporting midfield to find the feet of Daniel Royer, who danced around Tim Melia and tapped in an easy goal to even the match.

Sensing some tired legs among the Sporting Kansas lineup, Chris Armas then made a tactical switch in the 72nd minute substituting Brian White for Bradley Wright-Phillips. And the switch worked as White spectacularly headed in the ball off a long pass from Kaku to give the Red Bulls the lead.

However, just as the Red Bulls were starting to see the finish line, Gianluca Busio’s goal in the 88th minute put the match level. It was the 18-year old phenom’s third goal in many games. Red Bulls needed to survive a yet another nervy moment, punctuating with a attempt by Daniel Salloi that hit the crossbar, and Kaku receiving a red card for foolishly punting the ball out of apparent frustration in the stands, striking a ball boy in the process.

Key Moment of the Match:

Giancula Busio’s late goal rescued the home side from a disappointing defeat in the 88th minute, just a scant three days after being eliminated in the CONCACAF Champions League semifinal.

Man of the Match:

Daniel Royer’s goal in the 52nd minute gave the Red Bulls the lifeline they needed on the road, with an easy tap-in goal.

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

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