On a night where the Red Bulls knew they had to stay ahead of their opponents and make sure they didn’t fall for the same old tired antics from Club Tijuana, they pulled up their boot straps and converted three times to win the second leg 3-1 and 5-1 on aggregate.
They took a sucker punch to the gut early in the first half as the Xolos snuck the opening goal just past Luis Robles in the 10th minute as Luis Mendoza stuck his right boot out and taped it slowly across for their away goal.
Even though Tijuana was able to score, their were still behind on both Aggregate and Away Goals, but this match was all about Bradley Wright-Phillips as he decided to lead the charge and set up all three goals to take the series and push the club into the Semi-Finals.
The equalizer came in the 28th minute after a corner for Tijuana was cleared away and they left too many defenders by the Red Bulls area, the counter was on and in a big way. BWP charged down the middle of the field and waited for help.
He found Michael Murillo to his right and gave him the ball, then a beautiful cross towards the middle of the Tijuana area was place perfectly for Tyler Adams who converted his first Champions League tally to level the second leg and retake the two goal aggregate lead into half time.
A lot of jousting going on as both sides continued to find ways to look for an opening and tried to get that second goal, but it was BWP once again who found the way to get the lead in the 70th minute.
Murillo was along the near side of the field and he found BWP in the middle. But he knew Marc Rzatkowski was making a run along the far side and as he passed it, Rzatkowski ripped a shot that was deflected by Gibran Lajud and inside the far post for a 2-1 lead and 4-1 on aggregate.
The final goal came to the new man that was brought over from Club Athletic Huracan as Kaku got his first goal as a member of the New York Red Bulls. Florian Valot delivers a nice ball to BWP and when he was attacking he knew Gamarra was making a run.
When Wright-Phillips crossed it, all Kaku had to do was side foot the ball past Lajud and the New York Red Bulls would win the second leg three goals to one and five goals to one on Aggregate.
It was a big night for Bradley Wright-Phillips who showed why he is one of the leaders on this club with his three assist night. “If I could score two assists every game, I would. I didn’t think I was great in the final third and today I was a bit better at passing.” said Wright-Phillips.
“On my passing game I don’t know if it’s working on it, it’s just thinking about it more and recognizing who’s in a better position then I am. Eventually just trying to find them, it’s something to think about towards the later end of my career.”
What does Jesse Marsch think about Bradley’s performance? “I thought he had a very good game and you know they were always going to focus on him and try to shut him down, then it works out that he was able to work underneath at times.” said Marsch.
The Red Bulls has made history once again during the knockout stage of this new format of the CONCACAF Champions League. Not only did they win on Mexican soil for the first time in MLS history, but they won both legs against a Liga MX side.
It was an amazing series where the Red Bulls will now await the winner of the Guadalajara-Seattle Sounders match being played this coming Wednesday night and they will host the second leg of the Semi-Finals at Red Bull Arena.