If you were late to the stadium or TV, you missed it. The Philadelphia Union kicked off, Cristian Maidana laid the ball back to...well, that was the problem. If the pass was intended for Michael Lahoud, he wasn't aware of the plan, pointing forlornly at the ball as it zipped by him. Mike Grella intercepted, ran at Steven Vitoria, gave himself just enough angle for a left-footed shot, got a fortunate deflection off Vitoria to wrong-foot 'keeper Andre Blake: 1-0 to the New York Red Bulls.
MLS has officially timed the goal at 7 seconds after kick-off. It is officially the fastest goal in MLS history. Well done, Mike Grella.
Also: well done, Jesse Marsch. The goal bore several of the hallmarks of RalfBall: Grella was in position to intercept the wayward pass because he was running to aggressively pressure the ball carrier - and everyone in the stadium except Lahoud himself expected that to be Michael Lahoud. When the ball passed its (presumed) intended target, Grella simply adjusted to collect. Philadelphia's spacing did the rest: the RBNY man was between the Union's lines with space to gather momentum and decide how to make the most of the opportunity.
Was he lucky to get a deflection on his shot? Sure - but you make your own luck. Aggressive pressure creates opportunities: this is the most basic tenet of the Red Bulls' system. The two hallmark from-the-kickoff goals of RalfBall as played elsewhere demonstrate the same principle, but they were each scored by the team kicking off. Leipzig's seven-man ambush of Stuttgart II in 2013 was basically a set piece.
In its own way, so too was the goal that announced the arrival of Roger Schmidt's brand of RalfBall in the Bundesliga: Bayer Leverkusen's nine-second scoring rush from the kick-off against Borussia Dortmund in 2014:
No reason you can't play direct and expansive, quick-passing soccer.
There is a sense in which Grella's goal is the most RalfBall goal of all time: quick and the product of forcing a turnover in possession through aggressive pressing in the opponent's half of the field. One suspects Grella's work is destined for the video rooms of Salzburg and Leipzig: "This is what we do, gentlemen. Watch how they do it in America."
But there is also a sense in which it is a thoroughly New York Red Bulls' type of goal.
Forget RalfBall for a moment. The goal which used to be the fastest in MLS history was scored just two seasons ago. In late October. By a team unexpectedly chasing a Supporters' Shield. With an end-of-season date pending with Chicago. It was scored by Tim Cahill for the New York Red Bulls. It remains one of the most magnificent goals scored by any player for this club.
It was a play drawn up on the training ground. One might suggest Grella's was too, in the sense it is the style of play the team has been practicing all season. It was a goal scored with a bit of luck (if Cahill could make that shot every time, he'd be the greatest player in the history of soccer), but there is also no doubting the intention of the scorer.
And it was a goal scored (as far as we know) before Ralf Rangnick's soccer philosophy became the tactical blueprint for the team. The more things change, the more they stay the same.
We are watching a team that started the year in a self-inflicted shambles. We are watching a team that has battled through a parity-stricken MLS season to be one game and three points shy of winning the league. And we are watching that team announce its hunger for the Shield with a penultimate game that displayed absolutely the sense of urgency one would hope for in this situation.
Not everything is RalfBall (yes, even this website can say it). Some things are just a product of a group of players who have fought for each other and against low expectations, trying to conclusively and emphatically prove themselves by winning a trophy. For all the evidence of a global system at work in Harrison, that has been the spirit of the team the last two seasons, and it was the same spirit encapsulated by Grella's goal.
There is a Red Bull way, but perhaps there is also a New York Red Bull way. And it is a way we know has led to silverware in the past, and we hope has similar outcomes in its future.