It was not pretty and it may not have been a win, but the New York Red Bulls are content with their result at Sporting Kansas City all the same.
The Red Bulls snapped a three-game losing streak on the road Sunday, erasing an early-goal deficit against the Eastern Conference leaders to grab a 1-1 draw in their only regular season visit to Livestrong Sporting Park this season.
New York’s night began in poor fashion, as they gave up an early goal on an ugly defensive play, but they overcame that to put together one of their more impressive outings on the road in recent memory.
“We could have won it,” Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said after the game. “We had two of the best goal scoring chances in the game. Most important, we stopped our losing streak on the road.
“I think that we came back great after being down after 4 minutes of play, especially against a good team like Sporting KC. They forced us to defend, but I think that we did very well. I do not think that they had one 100 percent scoring chance during 90 minutes.”
Doing that against one of the top teams in MLS may have been hard to fathom for many who had watched the second-place Red Bulls come out flat on the road during the past few weeks. But New York calmed their nerves after Kei Kamara scored four minutes in and they exorcized their road demons by playing stout defensively and benefitting from an own goal by Kamara in the 28th minute.
“After we gave up a tough goal, we responded well, we battled back,” said Dax McCarty, who failed on a 1-v-1 chance late in the match that could have given the Red Bulls the win. “We didn’t create too many chances from the run of play but we hit them on the counter a few times. We probably could have snuck one or two goals in there at the end of the game. I thought we defended fantastically as a team.”
While the result kept New York in second place and two points behind Sporting KC, it will be a welcome help to the team’s self-esteem. The Red Bulls were in dire need of improvement on their travels after flat showings in recent trips to Houston, Montreal and New England.
“We didn’t play very well over there,” said forward Sebastien Le Toux. “I think tonight playing in Kansas City with them being in first of the East and to come get the result here was good for everybody.”