The New York Red Bulls did not look the part for 90 minutes, but they got the job done through grit and determination against the Chicago Fire.
Despite struggling to hold possession or pass, and losing Tim Parker to injury at halftime, the Red Bulls held it together, winning 3-1 over the Fire. Goals from Kaku, Royer and Brian White were the difference for the home side, and the result helps jumpstart a very difficult July for the Red Bulls.
The match marked the return of Bradley Wright-Phillips after a long injury layoff. When Wright-Phillips was announced, the crowd erupted, welcoming back the returning king
Kaku opened the scoring again for the Red Bulls, this time in the 9th minute. A poor touch from Fire goalkeeper Kenneth Kronholm on a back pass allowed Kaku to steal the ball from his foot. The midfielder calmly walked into the box unopposed and finished into the open net.
The Fire grabbed more control following the goal, pressing the Red Bulls into mistakes and creating danger. Except for poor finishing, and a goal line clearence from Amro Tarek, the Fire controlled the match. The Red Bulls struggled to build from the back, and created little danger in transition.
Against the run of play, the Red Bulls extended their lead in the 59th minute. Following a string a saves from Luis Robles, the Red Bulls broke out on the counter. Daniel Royer received a pass out wide from Brian White. White then sprinted into the box. Royer sent a low cross through the box. Brian White raced to catch up to the ball, sliding to finish the shot, giving the Red Bulls breathing room.
.The Fire pulled one back in the 81st minute. Aleksandar Katai fired a shot from the right side of the box. The shot struck the post, bouncing back out directly to Nemanja Nikolic. The striker got just enough on the shot to put it past a diving Robles, giving the Fire a lifeline for the final 10 minutes. The Red Bulls remained in a deep block, looking to frustrate the Fire. The plan largely worked, though there were nervy moments throughout the remainder.
Daniel Royer added the final dagger in stoppage time. Kyle Duncan streaked down the right wing on another counter attack opportunity. He crossed the ball to Daniel Royer, squeaking the ball past Kronholm. Royer only needed to tap the ball, finding the net easily.
The win improves the Red Bulls record to 8-6-3. Next up, they travel to Houston to take on the Dynamo.