It looked like it was going to be another one of those nights Proper building up of attacks from the back to the front without any tangible results has been the theme of this most frustrating of campaigns for the New York Red Bulls. But wait! In the space of a minute, there were two aftershocks. But they came not from San Jose, but from two of the Reds most maligned players. They struck twice to open up a tight contest which turned into a 5-1 runaway win over the San Jose Earthquakes (7-8-5) at Red Bull Arena.
This was the night for players who have been criticized by fans this season to contribute with the aid of a revamped formation that has gotten the best of players like Sean Davis, who put the Red Bulls up 38 minutes in after serving a left footed cross from Connor Lade. Davis has blossomed in this new system and he has become a force in recent games. It could not have come at a better time as New York failed on a multitude of chances up to that point.
“We feel very good and comfortable in this formation change,” Red Bull Captain Sacha Kljestan said, “A lot of guys are in better spots to succeed.”
Hitting their stride. It’s on the lips of the players and Head Coach Jesse Marsch. The team has been waiting for one man in particular to hit his. Sacha Kljestan has been criticized for not scoring more. But after hitting the only goal which gained them victory over the New England Revolution in the U.S. Open Cup on the road, Kljestan has been a different player.
In a battle where New York was nursing an unstable 1-0 lead, Kljestan took over the game a way a superstar does. He assisted on Davis’ earlier goal and now with Gonzalo Veron running up the right touchline, he sent a long cross that skidded to Kljestan in the box and Sacha calmly redirected it past San Jose goalie David Bingham.
“I had quite a few guys in front of me so I had to put it in the corner and hope it got through everybody” Kljestan said, “Obviously their goalkeeper is coming back across the goal so I tried to hit it back to that side where its hard to get back down.”
Two minutes later he was involved in Felipe’s first tally of the season taking back a pass from Derrick Etienne Jr. and quickly laying a short feed to Felipe in a gap and he sprinted a couple steps to the front of the box and scorched a liner to make it 3-0 suddenly. The intensity in his eyes spoke volumes about the released emotions in this most curious of seasons.
“Sacha saw me coming from the back and got a very good ball for him and I was happy and I put it on target.”
The game was in hand and in the final minute was all about Daniel Royer, the big man with a little mans handle on the dribble. The Red Bulls were up 3-1 as the 90th minute approached and Derrick Etienne Jr. lofted a ball over the San Jose defense and Royer corralled it in and one touched it inside the near post to make it 4-1. Then Royer proceeded to take a pass from Veron and crossovered from right to left foot and curved a sweet lefty shot to complete the scoring of the evening as New York (9-8-2) comes out of the break finally moving back above the .500 mark.