Suddenly the goals are starting to pile up. The New York Red Bulls couldn’t buy goals throughout this most curious of seasons. But now a three-game winning streak and twelve goals in that span are an indication that the Red Bulls have turned the corner.
Saturday night before 22,251 at Red Bull Arena, New York shutout the Montreal Impact 4-0. But they took a beating to get this result but they didn’t seem to mind.
“The group’s in a good way, there’s clarity on the field, a lot of confidence and I think we can get better,” said Red Bulls Head coach Jesse Marsch.
The Impact spent most of the half making the kind of tackles you see in the NFL not MLS. Mind you the flags or in this case cards were missing. A curious statistic, Felipe, an early victim of a blind side tackle, is the most fouled player (179) all-time by the Montreal Impact (6-8-6). But it may have been a foul in the box that was not called that set up the next foul that was called. Daniel Royer, who tried to avoid a collision early on was floored without a color in response to the indignation of the crowd.
But then in the same spot in the 23rd minute, Royer was flipped over by Impact goaltender Maxime Crepeau and got what all the early demolitions didn’t, a yellow. Royer converted. He would score one more before the evening was concluded.
“In training we see what a great finisher he is,” Marsch said, “It just hasn’t added up until the last couple of months and now it’s pretty lethal.”
This recent stretch has been a validation of the work Daniel Royer puts into practices as well as games though he would be the last to boast about it. He now has ten goals for the season, only two behind Wright-Phillips
“I don’t want to talk about that, I want to talk about the team effort,” Royer established with his first answer, “We’re dangerous and aggressive and our defense is compact.”
The second goal, the one that would open up the field for good was struck by Michael Murillo, the 21-year old Panamanian who has been primed for moments like this. He had an excellent CONCACAF Gold Cup experience recently which has added to his game. A solid defender who covers several roles, Murillo has been asked to explore the attacking half more.
And there he was in minute 58 ready to collect a rebound in front of a fallen Crepeau and quickly tapping it in for his first goal of the season and a 2-0 edge.
“Murillo has grown so much the last six months. When we got him he was a talented kid who was a little bit casual with the ball, who liked to play with the ball but took pride on one-on-one defending,” Marsch said, “We turned him into a more complete player. He just needed to adjust and now when you watch him he looks like he has been here years.”
Speaking of defense. The Red Bulls eternal goal stopper Luis Robles spoke about the criticism Sal Zizzo gets from fans continuously. Asked to play several different positions in the back, most which don’t come naturally, Zizzo personifies the work ethic Jesse Marsch loves as he helps to hold the back line together more often than not. The shining example tonight was his stop on a two on one counterattack using his body to stuff and maintain New York’s one goal edge at the half.
The rest of the game was pretty much normal fair as the Red Bulls extinguished the few forays the Impact were able to muster while using the now open spaces to fill in beautiful counters to tag on two more scores. Bradley Wright-Phillips, who continued another frustrating game of quality shots with nothing to show for it became the viper once more in the 85th minute. Alex Muyl crossed a ball into the center of the box from the wing and Wright –Phillips slid to it with force as it found the netting. This was a case example of seeing through plays to the end.
“I was tired and felt I was coming off soon but I said I’m going to give this one more try,” Wright-Phillips said, ‘I had a lot of good positions today with chances that never fell for me. I gave a last effort and tried to get out there and the guys across the board found me.”
Daniel Royer added his second in the 89th minute when Derrick Etienne pushed a ball in front of Royer on the right of goal and he went unopposed angling a bullet from point blank range.
“We found some great spots, a lot of space and we created a lot of chances and there was no doubt who was going to win this game,” said Royer.
The Red Bulls (11-8-2) take their three-game winning streak next Sunday to Yankee Stadium against NYCFC.