New York Pleased With Total Team Performance to Earn Second-Straight Win
That's more like it.
Wednesday night the defending MLS Supporters Shield winners finally looked like, well, Supporters Shield holders.
The New York Red Bulls exploded for four goals - including a hat trick from Bradley Wright-Phillips - and earned their first clean sheet of the season in defeating the Houston Dynamo.
"It was obviously a great result," Petke said after the match. "Some of the best soccer we’ve played, for sure, this year for large chunks of the time. But it’s like Jekyll and Hyde sometimes, you know. I mean we’re…How does this come out all of a sudden?
"But overall I’m very satisfied with the way the team played. There’s obviously always things to improve, like I say every game, but our ball movement was very good tonight, our positioning, our ability to create that space in the midfield. It was some good stuff."
New York was on the front foot early, and the reward came in the 12th minute when Bradley Wright-Phillips finished a nice combination play from Dax McCarty, Kosuke Kimura, and Thierry Henry.
It was the first of three goals for Wright-Phillips, who nearly didn't play after suffering from an illness on Tuesday.
"Yeah today I felt good," Wright-Phillips said afterwards. "Yesterday I was in trouble, man. I think I had a 24-hour virus or something, but I felt okay today."
The Englishman's became the first Red Bull player to register a hat trick since Henry did so in March 2012 in a 5-2 win over Montreal.
"Yeah, you know, if you recall some of the other games, I’ve been getting in those areas," he said. "Some of them I should have been scoring, some of them I was a bit unlucky. Today it just went in, you know? Today they just went in.
Henry also had a hand in Wright-Phillips other two goals, including a secondary assist on goal number two, and drawing the penalty kick that Wright-Phillips converted for the hat trick.
"Well, it’s not easy to play partner along someone like Thierry [Henry]," Petke said of his hat trick hero. "And I mean that in a good way because Thierry is a guy that likes to drop and he’s so creative that a lot of times only leaves one guy up front...Bradley’s accepted that throughout this year and he knows he’s the guy that has to occupy the center backs for large chunks.
"We thought it was only a matter of time before he got a goal and then got a bit hot, but three goals tonight? I didn’t see this coming. Nothing against his ability or anything, it’s just that’s not an easy thing to do – score a hat trick obviously. But he had...a little bit of the fluish symptoms yesterday. He didn’t practice. So I told him that hopefully this Friday he’ll have the flu again, to be honest with you, before we go to Columbus."
Henry also praised his scoring partner.
"I think today’s got to be Bradley’s day," the captain said after the game. "I’m happy for him. I think people were having a go at him for not scoring. It’s never an easy task, you know, when you have to go and perform and people are wondering if you can do it or not. I’m happy for him because I know you guys want him to score more goals and that’s the way it is when you’re a striker, but he does a lot of stuff that people don’t actually notice.
"You know, he works hard and he can hold the ball well and he’s available whenever you’re looking for him to show up on the ball so you have to give him credit...I hope he enjoyed it, and I hope he can build on what he has done today to help us to play better throughout the whole year."
However, despite the four-goal outburst, Henry also wanted to acknowledge the play of goalkeeper Luis Robles, who made a potentially game-changing save seconds into the second half with the Red Bulls up 2-0.
"I want to give a shout out also to Luis [Robles] because if it wasn’t for him also it would have been a different game," Henry said. "I don’t know why we did what we did, but we did it again, and if it wasn’t for Luis stopping that ball from [Will] Bruin I think we would have been in trouble. It wouldn’t have been the same game and we escaped again after when [Giles] Barnes I think shot the ball wide."
Overall, Petke was most content with the fact that the team stuck to their game plan and took advantage of the visiting, and possibly road-weary Dynamo.
"We wanted to put the pressure on them both with and without the ball," said the coach. "So probably the most satisfying thing to me is that they listened to the game plan and they followed through with I’d say 90 percent of it. And for a coach, that’s exciting to me."
The Red Bulls' next match is Saturday against the Crew in Columbus.