In the most thoroughly dominating performance of their season so far, the New York Red Bulls thrashed the San Jose Earthquakes in a 5-1 rout - with four of those goals coming in the final 15 minutes of the game.
Sean Davis opened up his 2017 scoring account in the first half off a rocket of a kick with his left foot from inside the 18, courtesy of a Connor Lade cross. Speaking of Lade, the Red Bulls left back would go down injured minutes later.
Even with Lade gone, San Jose's attacking unit didn't seem like much of a threat, but the team needed a second goal to be sure. For most of the second half the Red Bulls tried vainly to get a second goal until the 68th minute when Jesse Marsch took out Bradley Wright-Phillips and subbed in Gonzalo Veron.
And much like his last few performances, the entire game changed when he saw the field.
Within minutes of coming on, Veron attempted a cross inside the box that bounced to Sacha Kljestan's feet for the second goal of the game - and Kljestan's first of the MLS season.
Not two minutes later, Felipe got the Red Bulls' first goal outside of the box this season to make it 3-0 and the rout was on.
In the 87th San Jose got a goal, but it was too late to stop the bleeding.
Daniel Royer finished the Earthquakes off for good with two more goals in stoppage time to secure a 5-1 victory and bring RBNY above the red line.
Here are the RBNY player ratings vs San Jose:
Luis Robles - 7
Not challenged much by San Jose
Connor Lade - 7
Aaron Long - 8
Damien Perrinelle - 7
Sal Zizzo - 7
Tyler Adams - 9
AmeriKante has really found a niche as a wing back.
Felipe - 8
Sean Davis - 9 (Man of the Match)
Why force Jesse Marsch to choose between starting Adams or Davis at defensive midfield when he can just deploy Davis at the attacking midfield and get the same, if not better results?
Sacha Kljestan - 9
Easily Kljestan's best game of the season.
Daniel Royer - 9
Turns out this guy can score with his left foot and his right foot.
Bradley Wright-Phillips - 6
When was the last time the Red Bulls had 3+ goals in a game where BWP did NOT score one of them?
Alex Muyl - 5
Yet again, Muyl contributed precious little to the outcome of the game.
Gonzalo Veron - 9
The minute Veron stepped onto the pitch the momentum of the game completely switched. His speed and precision both keeping the ball inbounds and finding his man in open space were vital in causing that rout.
Derrick Etienne Jr - 8
Got his first MLS assist on the 4th goal.
Not to put a damper on what was a phenomenal performance by the entire midfield, but San Jose is ultimately not a litmus test for the rest of the teams ahead of the Red Bulls in the Eastern Conference - let alone the rest of the league.
The injury to Connor Lade might have been more damaging to the team if not for the fact that both Aurelien Collin and Michael Murillo are expected to be back for next week's game against Montreal, if not this weekend against Minnesota United.
The Red Bulls are still trying to figure out their identity, but they came a lot closer to finding it in this game than in any other this year.