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10 Man Red Bulls Dominate Dallas

Harrison, NJ–June 23, 2018—The packed house of fans came for fireworks and top-class matchup between two of the top teams in MLS at Red Bull Arena Saturday night in Harrison.  They got all of that and more as the New York Red Bulls, despite being put down to 10 men midway through the first half, routed FC Dallas by a score of 3-0.  Bradley Wright-Phillips, Aaron Long and Kemar Lawrence recorded tallies in the victory which vaulted New York into second place in the Eastern Conference.

The first 20 minutes of the match was relatively uneventful with both teams trying to get control of the play in the middle of the pitch. The first chance of the match went to the hosts in the 11th minute as a corner kick fell to Kaku in a mad scramble in the penalty area but the shot was eventually corralled by Dallas keeper Jesse Gonzalez.  Dallas looked to respond in the 20th minute when Reto Ziegler fed a ball through to Maxi Urruti but the forward was ruled offside on the play.

The Red Bulls would open the scoring in the 23rd minute.  After pressure on the Dallas goal, and a series of headers the ball was finally claimed by a sprinting Tyler Adams who burst into the box from the midfield.  The young USMNT midfielder then carried the ball to the end line before sending a pass across the face of goal which narrowly avoided the arm of Gonzalez and led to an easy tap in for Bradley Wright-Phillips.  The goal was the 11 the season for the English striker putting him on 97 regular season goals in his career in MLS.

The joyous mood of the opening goal was tempered just five minutes later when Daniel Royer put in a harsh challenge on Dallas midfielder Jacori Hayes, initially receiving a yellow.  However, after a review by the VAR, referee Robert Sibiga was given no choice and changed his decision to a straight red card for the Austrian winger. Despite the adversary of playing the remaining 63 minutes a man down, the attitude for the Red Bulls did not seem to change.  “We were so unlucky with the red card,” said captain Luis Robles after the match “at halftime Danny, he apologized to the guys but almost in unison everyone said hey we’ve got your back and we’re going to get this, we’re going to figure out a way to win.”

The Red Bulls took a huge step toward those three points before halftime, doubling their lead in the 39th minute.  After winning a corner, Sean Davis whipped a ball into the center of the box.  Defender Aaron Long, despite being pulled down from behind, connected with a lovely side volley shot that bounced past an unexpecting Gonzalez who was screened by a couple of players in front of the net.  The goal was the second of the season for the Long.  Dallas nearly got one back just before halftime when Jacori Hayes received the ball at the top of the box.  His shot took a huge deflection off of Kemar Lawrence, looping into the air which had Luis Robles scrambling.  But the keeper and the stadium at large were relieved to see the ball go off the crossbar and then cleared away by Tim Parker.

In the second half the Red Bulls continued to ignore the fact that they were playing a man down, instead still playing their high pressing attack, and just three minutes in they were rewarded.  In the 48th minute, Kaku delivered a through ball to the left side of the box to Kemar Lawrence.  The Jamaican international fired a low shot that slipped past Gonzalez and the post, finding the back of the net for his first goal of the season.  Jesse Marsch’s men almost made it 4-0 in the 52nd minute when Florian Valot received the ball at the penalty spot, but this time Gonzalez was up to the task, saving the low shot with his right hand palming it wide.

Dallas would get a great opportunity to try to spark a comeback in the 62nd minute when Maxi Urruti found himself with the ball at the edge of the Red Bulls penalty area.  The one-time shot by the Argentine forward was destined for the back of the net but Robles came up big again, tipping the ball just over the net and out for a corner.  Roland Lamah would get the last of the good chances for the visitors in the 86th minute when his left footed shot whistled just wide of the left-hand post.  The match would end with 10 men apiece when Kemar Lawrence and Reto Ziegler came together on a 50/50 tackle.  But it would be video review that would reveal that after the challenge, Ziegler lashed out catching Lawrence in the thigh with his foot.  The infraction was enough for Sibiga who again went to the back pocket and sent off the Dallas defender for the offense.  Just a couple of minutes later the final whistle blew wrapping up the Red Bulls ninth win of the season and the fourth clean sheet for Robles.  But that would not be the only thing for the Red Bulls captain to be proud of on the night.

After the post-match huddle Robles, a man known for keeping everything under control, received a major shock. On the capo stand of the Viking Army Supporters Club was his brother, Army Maj. Angel Robles, home early from his third tour overseas to watch and surprise his brother which received a rousing ovation from the crowd at Red Bull Arena.  On the field, the Red Bulls will need to take inspiration from Maj. Robles and play as an army of one as they go into a very difficult stretch of the schedule.  New York will be on the road for the next two matches, the first coming at the defending MLS champions Toronto FC on July 1st, who knocked out the Red Bulls from the postseason last year in what was a heated affair.  Then they will travel to the Bronx to take on rivals NYCFC on July 8th, before returning to Red Bull Arena to take on the top team in the Western Conference Sporting Kansas City.

But if the match at Red Bull Arena Saturday night was any indication, this New York team will not be phased by the opponent or the venue and will expect to win their next three matches.  The fans may have come for a soccer match and fireworks, but what they got in addition was a lesson in determination and a vision of a New York Red Bulls team that could be destined for great things come November.

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