The New York Red Bulls' 1-0 win over New York City FC was satisfying for many reasons: it put the team into the next round of US Open Cup; it was (yet another) win over the noisy neighbors; wins have been a little too scarce for RBNY recently.
The USOC lineup was distinguished by a makeshift back-line: Ryan Meara stepping in for Luis Robles in goal and Aaron Long shuttling over to the left back spot. There were some close shaves in the first half, but the team acquitted itself well overall.
How well? Here are the player ratings:
Ryan Meara - 7
And we should probably give the frame of the goal in front of the South Ward an 8.
But it's not Meara's fault his back-line evaporated at key moments. He was a reliable and stable presence behind yet another reshuffled RBNY defense.
Sal Zizzo - 5
Aurelien Collin - 7
He's back and he reminded us of what we've been missing. A very encouraging outing from Collin against an attacking line-up he can expect to see a lot more of this summer.
Damien Perrinelle - 6
Aaron Long - 7
Credit Long for stepping into the left back role and producing a solid performance with a surprising amount (which is to say any) of support for the attack.
Tyler Adams - 9 (MotM)
Is it possible Adams has come back from a relatively brief excursion to the U-20 World Cup as a better player than when he left?
Felipe - 6
Mike Grella - 5
He had a solid enough first half, but when Royer replaced him in the second half the team seemed to acquire a little more control and urgency up front.
Sacha Kljestan - 5
Kljestan's role includes the license and obligation to try a few risky passes, but he often looks like a turnover waiting to happen at the moment.
Alex Muyl - 6
Muyl's dedication to the Red Bulls' system of play is why he is a frequent starter and why RBNY scored in this game. His high-pressing initiated the sequence that concluded with Royer's match-winning goal.
Bradley Wright-Phillips - 4
He'll have better days than this one. His role in Royer's goal helped the process of erasing the memory of an otherwise hesitant game in front of goal.
Daniel Royer - 8
That is match-winning Daniel Royer to you.
Sean Davis & Gonzalo Veron- 5
Defending a single-goal lead in the dying minutes hasn't always been RBNY's strength in recent seasons, so credit both the garbage-time subs for playing their part in keeping the Red Bulls ahead.
Chris Armas - 7
Impressed with a selfless post-match press conference in which he adeptly ducked any effort to make a story out of his stand-in appearance as head coach for the suspended Jesse Marsch. And he did make the most meaningful adjustment of the game from RBNY's perspective: bringing Royer on at half-time proved to be exactly what the team needed.