HARRISON, N.J. (March 22, 2015) - The New York Red Bulls opened the sixth season of soccer at Red Bull Arena with a 2-0 victory over D.C. United on Sunday evening in Harrison. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lloyd Sam scored the goals, while Luis Robles earned his first clean sheet of the season.
The Red Bulls set the pace throughout the contest, particularly in the early going. New York opened strong, getting the better of the play early on and setting the tone with several scoring chances.
“That was a good performance,” said Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch. “[It was] great to get our first win at home. One of our goals this year has been to be very strong at home and I thought, for the most part, that the game was dictated by our guys and played at our tempo. I thought it was a good result.”
That attacking mindset paid off in the 25th minute, when 2014 MLS Golden Boot Winner Bradley Wright-Phillips opened his 2015 account. The Englishmen got on the end of a long outlet pass from Dax McCarty and brought the ball down into space between two defenders. BWP took a touch and fired back across the net, beating D.C. ‘keeper bill Hamid with a low shot towards the left post.
The team found another gear after the goal, pressing the D.C. back line and earning several chances in the next few minutes.
The first D.C. test came in the 31st minute, when midfielder Chris Rolfe played in forward Chris Pontius, forcing Robles to make his first of several key saves.
At the half, the Red Bulls were credited with nine attempts on goal and two shots on target, as well as 66% of first-half possession.
Sam struck for the second time in as many games in the 71st minute to give the Red Bulls some breathing room. Brazilian midfielder Felipe caused a turnover just inside the D.C. half of the field with a sliding challenge. The loose ball was collected by Wright-Phillips, who quickly shifted the Red Bulls into attack mode, slotting a ball through the right side of the box for a cutting Sam to blast past Hamid for his second goal of the year.
Robles was credited with five saves on the evening, including a point-blank save on Rolfe from inside the six in the 77th minute. Defender Kemar Lawrence, making his first-career MLS start, blocked a shot from just inside the penalty spot minutes later to preserve the clean sheet.
In the 91st minute D.C. was awarded a penalty after a Matt Miazga challenge in the box. Chris Pontius stepped to the spot and saw his shot sail high over the cross bar.
The Red Bulls sit 1-0-1 through two games. The team is back in action on Saturday, March 28 when they visit Crew SC. Kickoff in Columbus is set for 7:30 p.m. with live television coverage on MSG2.