After a week of hand-wringing following the Red Bulls’ loss of Daniel Royer and equally disheartening loss to NYC FC, the team got back on track with a win over Orlando City SC.
The two teams were rather evenly matched between the absence of Royer for RBNY and the absence of star defender Jonathan Spector for the Lions. Orlando City drew first blood though as Carlos Rivas slipped on past Luis Robles. But the Red Bulls quickly settled down and started making use of their young stars.
A Tyler Adams crossed was deflected by Leo Pereira for an own goal, which kept the game tied going into halftime.
In the second half, Sean Davis and Alex Muyl teamed up on a passing sequence to perfectly set up Bradley Wright-Phillips for a lead-taking goal, giving the RBNY goal king his eighth goal in eight games.
A beautiful curling strike by Davis in the 80th minute sealed the victory, though some scuffles between the two sides broke out in the final minutes that resulted in Kaka getting sent off and several Red Bulls players drawing yellow cards.
The Red Bulls now get two days to prepare before heading to Cincinnati for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Semi-Finals against FC Cincinnati in what promises to be one of the most difficult atmospheres they’ve encountered all year.
Here are the RBNY player ratings vs Orlando City SC:
Luis Robles - 7
Aaron Long - 7
Damien Perrinelle - 6
Overall it was a good performance by Perrinelle, but to get a yellow card as early as he did may have forced Jesse Marsch to change substitution tactics - and worse, may have him close to accumulation.
Michael Amir Murillo - 8
Murillo gets edged out only slightly for Man of the Match, but he had a pretty darn strong case for it with multiple strong tackles on Cyle Larin and Carlos Rivas to save the team’s bacon.
Tyler Adams - 7
The Red Bulls’ wonderkid continues to show his growth.
Felipe - 7
Sacha Kljestan - 8
Kljestan had a strong game but needs to keep a much cooler head late in games.
Kemar Lawrence - 7
Slowly but surely, Lawrence is adapting to his new role as a midfielder.
Alex Muyl - 6
Sean Davis - 8 (Man of the Match)
Did anyone know Davis could do that? Heck, did Davis even know he can do that?
Bradley Wright-Phillips - 7
Can BWP keep his scoring streak alive against the wall that is FC Cincinnati’s Mitch Hildebrand?
Gonzalo Veron - 5
Is there anyone in MLS less dangerous on the clean break than Veron?
Aurelien Collin - 6
It only took a few minutes to remind everyone that Collin is a massive upgrade over on defense.
Connor Lade - n/a
In beating Orlando City in the manner that they did, the Red Bulls demonstrated that they didn’t lose their ability to score goals nor the ability to play well from behind.
But the fights that broke out in the final minutes - of a winning effort no less - beg the question as to whether they can maintain their cool in the final leg of the season.
Perhaps that question will be answered on Tuesday as the Red Bulls play their biggest match of the year against FC Cincinnati.