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Red Bulls Rescue Late Point in Chicago

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso - Double G Media)

(Photo by Catalina Fragoso – Double G Media)


Fresh off a 4-1 win the week before, it was time for the New York Red Bulls to rectify their poor away form, winning only one of their eleven matches away from home before playing the Chicago Fire on Sunday. Visiting a team the Red Bulls have historically struggled against, posting a 4-14-7 record in Chicago before kickoff, New York had some mixed fortunes against the Chicago Fire, but benefitted from a late surge, grabbing a late equalizer for a 2-2 score at full time.

The first goal of the match came 16 minutes in, when Mike Grella sent a ball into the box that Chicago Fire midfielder Matt Polster accidentally kicked into his own net for the away team to register the 1-0 lead. Speaking to the media after the match, Polster said, “It looked like [goalkeeper] Sean [Johnson] was going to have it, but then I looked and it kind of hung up there, so then last second I went for it and just a little miscommunication.”

The Red Bulls were dealt a scare 30 minutes in when the reigning MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Luis Robles, went down after taking a goal kick and had to receive treatment for several minutes on the field. Robles eventually got to his feet and finished the match, but the extent of his injury is still unknown. Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said after the match that Robles told him that his left foot “felt weird” during the goal kick. On Robles’ availability in the upcoming matches, Marsch and company are still unsure. “We will have to evaluate where he is at…and then figure out what the next steps are,” he said.

Soon after Robles resumed playing, the Fire were able to level the score. A long ball was sent into the Red Bulls’ half, which the Red Bulls defense could not clear. The ball eventually found its way to David Accam, who sent a strong ball past Robles for his team leading fifth league goal of the season.

The Red Bulls and the Fire were both dealt a blow each three minutes before halftime, when both teams had to make a substitution each. New York’s captain Dax McCarty, who equaled Mike Petke’s record for most league starts in the club’s history on the night, and was replaced by Sean Davis. Marsch said that like Robles’s injury, McCarty’s injury, which appears to be a left knee contusion, still needs evaluation. The Fire defender João Meira came off a minute after McCarty, being replaced by Jonathan Campbell.

In stoppage time of the first half, the Fire again capitalized on defensive mistakes from the Red Bulls. John Goossens sent a ball into the penalty area, which Polster, who was left all alone, easily headed in to get his first career goal and give his team the 2-1 lead heading into the second half.

The second half saw the Red Bulls attempt to make their own comeback, dominating possession and taking 11 shots, two on target. Finally, the away team managed the breakthrough right before stoppage time began. Connor Lade made into the penalty box and met Bradley Wright-Phillips, who scored from close range in one of the final plays of the match. The goal was Wright-Phillips’ 12th of the season, sitting one behind lead goal scorer David Villa of New York City FC.

Wright-Phillips, who scored his 63rd goal in all competitions for the Red Bulls, broke a record with his last-minute equalizer in Chicago. The Englishman now has the most goals all competitions in the team’s twenty-one year history, passing Juan Pablo Ángel, who sits in second with 62. 57 of Wright-Phillips’ 63 Red Bulls goals have come in the MLS regular season, and six have come during the playoffs. After the match, Wright-Phillips said “I put a lot of work into what I do and an achievement like that, it makes me feel happy and proud.

New York returns home to open their CONCACAF Champions League campaign against Antigua FC on Wednesday, August 3, before heading to Los Angeles to face the Galaxy in the league on Sunday, August 7.

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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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