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New York Red Bulls Clinch Playoff Spot in Win Over Montréal Impact

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


The New York Red Bulls returned home after another disappointing away trip, this time giving up a lead in Toronto. Despite Toronto frustrating the Red Bulls last week, it was Toronto giving New York a favor this week. Dropping two points against the Philadelphia Union, New York had the opportunity to take the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a win. The opportunity was not wasted on the Red Bulls, as they recorded yet another win at home.

For Montréal’s second visit to Red Bull Arena this year, head coach Jesse Marsch made a change to his team from last week. Coming back into the Red Bulls lineup was captain Dax McCarty, who made his first start since the team’s trip to Vancouver three weeks ago, as Sean Davis was sent to the bench. Following an impressive two games as the starting left midfielder for the team, Daniel Royer again got the start over Mike Grella.

The early minutes of the match were mostly dominated by the home side, but Montréal’s defense proved hard to crack. Despite that, it was the Impact who recorded the first shot of significance, as Ignacio Piatti ran into free space near the goal, only to send the ball wide of the target seven minutes in.

Eventually, the Red Bulls were able to get some momentum, as a golden chance falls to Royer, but Montréal goalkeeper Evan Bush is able to make the point blank save in the 26th minute. New York earned a corner off of that opportunity, but a header from McCarty is again stopped by Bush. Just minutes later, it was Robles making the save and defending the corner, and the Impact, like their opponents on the night, were not able to capitalize.

Both teams got close to goal on many occasions as the first half dwindled down, but it was the Red Bulls who had the final opportunity before halftime. Awarded a freekick on the edge of the area after Ambroise Oyongo fouled Felipe. The Impact came up with two blocks, and the half ended with both teams scoreless.

The Red Bulls, coming into the second half, found it difficult to manage a rhythm, getting off to a slow start. The match, though, would not remain scoreless much longer, as New York got on the scoresheet first. Felipe began the play, as he sent a ball into the penalty area, and was consequently deflected wide by the Montréal defense. Waiting on the wing was Chris Duvall, who sent a cross into the box. The ball found Royer’s head, and he was easily able to net his first goal since joining the team last month.

With 30 minutes to defend a lead, attention quickly turned to New York’s defense, who have found it difficult to close out leads. The Impact managed a few opportunities, but they all went to waste. The team were able to record the home win, which sent them atop the Eastern Conference and booked their spot in the 2016 MLS Cup playoffs.

Following the match, Marsch spoke about how the team rebounded from their 1-6 start, saying “it took us 31 games to get to first place. It took us 31 games to make the playoffs.” Marsch also applauded his team on their defensive efforts, saying, “when things get tough, they respond…Everything was under control…This is only the start.”

On the ability to close out the match, Marsch joked “maybe 1-0 instead of 2-0. Maybe that’s our recipe.” Individually, Marsch talked about Aurélien Collin, saying he’s “been a savior in many ways,” joining the team when times were “shaky.”

New York next head to Guatemala to close the CONCACAF Champions League group stage against Antigua GFC on Tuesday, September 27, before returning home to face the Philadelphia Union on Saturday, October 1.

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Pardeep is the New York Red Bulls Beat Writer for while also covering other soccer teams and events.
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