Going into the game, the team needed either a win or a clean sheet to guarantee moving on to the next round. But thanks to goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sean Davis, as well as a huge game from Luis Robles, the team got both.
Despite cold rain, a large contingent of visiting supporters and the absence of midfield stalwart Felipe, the Red Bulls barely missed a beat and dominated most of the game.
Davis was in absolute Beast Mode on Thursday night, creating countless chances, winning the ball and notching a game-sealing goal; meanwhile, Robles made up for a number of defensive errors with some of the best saves ever made in Red Bull Arena.
Here are the RBNY player ratings:
Luis Robles, 9.0 - Robles stepped his game up in a big way, which may seem impossible given he kept a clean sheet from open play in the prior game. Though he was aided by some lucky misses from point blank range by Olimpia’s strikers, he made one of the best saves of his career in a situation where the striker scores nearly 90% of the time.
Kemar Lawrence, 7.5
Aurelien Collin, 6.0 - Collin needed redemption from his costly error in the first leg, and it’s safe to say he got it in the second leg.
Aaron Long, 6.0
Michael Murillo, 7.5 - Murillo demonstrated impeccable touch on the ball when passing, but made a number of defensive errors.
Marc Rzakowski, 7.5 - If Felipe is as close to being gone as reports are indicating, Rzakowski showed in today’s game that they seem to have a pretty solid replacement. He was winning tackles left and right and setting up the midfielders to work the ball all over the field.
Tyler Adams, 6.0
Daniel Royer, 7.5
Sean Davis, 9.0 (Man of the Match) - The Sean Davis we saw in this game was exactly the kind of player we hoped Sacha Kljestan would be: He created chances constantly, won the ball everywhere, tackled well, passed great and fought threw a scary kick to the head from the first half to finish the game. His absolute screamer of a goal all but slammed the door shut on a CD Olimpia comeback.
Alex Muyl, 6.0 - Muyl showed an impressive ability to maneuver the ball into the box. But things always went downhill after he got it in there....
Bradley Wright-Phillips, 8.5 - Make that #101 for #99. And what a goal it was - splitting two defenders and the goalkeeper with a powerful blast!
HC Jesse Marsch, 7.5 - Marsch led the team to only its second two-leg series advancement thanks to a superb performance and well-executed game plan. However, his continued insistence on using Alex Muyl when A) Kaku proved to be clearly ready to integrate into the team, and B) his well-known flaws were once again clearly on display - is bound to result in some really bad results.
Alejandro Romero Gamarra, 7.0 - In his Red Bulls debut, Kaku quickly adjusted to the speed of the game and came close on several occasions to scoring or assisting a goal. You could see it in his eyes at every turn how much he wanted to get the ball in the net. And his tackling wasn’t too shabby either.
Derrick Etienne Jr., 4.5
Carlos Rivas, 6.0 - Rivas showed some good moves and made solid shots in the waning moments of the game.
The Red Bulls won’t have any time to celebrate though, as their next game will take place in just a few short days against arguably the toughest opponent they have ever faced - Club Tijuana, in what will likely be the most hostile venue they’ve ever visited - Estadio Caliente.
But hey, what better way to prepare the team for the MLS season than a competitive match against the best defense in Liga MX?
On to Tijuana!