Four straight months without a road win had made many New York Red Bulls fans and pundits concerned that even the struggling Vancouver Whitecaps would find a way to keep the full three points from the team. With superstars Sacha Kljestan and Kemar Lawrence absent for international duty those feelings seemed only further justified.
But the Red Bulls persevered and snagged a 1-0 win over the Whitecaps, thanks to Bradley Wright-Phillips, to extend their unbeaten run to 10 in MLS and 12 in all competitions, keeping pace with NYC FC and Toronto FC in the Eastern Conference standings.
The win marked the Red Bulls' first road win against a Western Conference foe since a September 20, 2015 win over the Portland Timbers, and the club's first-ever win over the Vancouver Whitecaps.
Six games remain in the regular season for the New York Red Bulls and four of them will be in the loving confines of Red Bull Arena - where the team has only dropped eight points all season.
The six losses in the first seven games of the season feel like such a distant memory now. ..
Here are the New York Red Bulls player ratings from the 1-0 win over Vancouver Whitecaps:
Luis Robles - 7
If not for arguably the worst day of Eric Hurtado's career, Robles likely would have given up a goal or several. That said, his smart decision making made accurate shot-taking a difficult task to begin with, and he now leads MLS with 9 clean sheets - matching his total from the previous year.
Luis Robles' Pants - 10.
Sal Zizzo - 7.5
Aurelien Collin - 8
One has to wonder if this team would have started the season better if they had acquired Collin sooner...
Ronald Zubar - 8 (Man of the Match)
Ronald - or as the Whitecaps radio announcer on Sirius XM called him, "Roland" - Zubar is on a hot streak and has really rebounded from his midseason struggles.
Chris Duvall - 6.5
A few too many mistakes, but thankfully the team was not punished for them this week.
Dax McCarty - 7
The captain is back, and doesn't seem to have any lingering effects from his injury.
Sean Davis - 7.5
Mike Grella - 6
The bad news is Grella won't be available for the next game. The good news is he's been slumping recently to the point where maybe some rest will be good for him.
Felipe - 7
He may not have Sacha Kljestan's knack for making big plays, but the Red Bulls always seem to play well when Felipe gets the nod at the No. 10.
Alex Muyl - 6.5
Bradley Wright-Phillips - 7.5
That goal probably should've been called back for a hand ball, but after the way the referees have treated the Red Bulls on the west coast this past summer it's fair to say they owed us one there.