I’ve seen the Red Bulls win a game 7-0 on the road, and lose 3-1 at home to the worst team in MLS. Yet neither of those results have truly stunned me the way the Red Bulls did on Tuesday night by securing a 2-0 upset win over Club Tijuana at Estadio Caliente in Mexico during the first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League Quarter-Finals.
Luis Robles looked like Manuel Neuer on the Tijuana pitch, recording his second straight CCL clean sheet and putting on a goaltending performance of a lifetime against an aggressive Liga MX side.
And of course it wouldn’t be a truly legendary Red Bulls game without Bradley Wright-Phillips getting a word in. The Ultimate Scoring Machine recorded a brace (and was inches shy of a hat trick in the final moments of the game) to give the Red Bulls a decisive advantage on away goals heading into the second leg of the competition, which will be held next week at Red Bull Arena.
Here are the RBNY player ratings:
Luis Robles, 10.0 (Man of the Match) - This was arguably the best performance of Robles’ entire soccer career. He made an other-worldly 13 saves, including some absolute jaw-droppers.
Kemar Lawrence, 7.5
Tim Parker, 8.0 - A superb debut for Parker, who immediately showed off all of the skills that made Jesse Marsch covet him so much.
Aaron Long, 7.5
Michael Murillo, 7.0
Marc Rzakowski, 7.5 - Hopefully the injury RZA suffered won’t keep him out too long. He was solid as a rock in the first half and his brilliant steal in the 9th minute gave him a secondary assist to BWP’s first goal.
Tyler Adams, 6.5
Daniel Royer, 6.0
Sean Davis, 7.0 - The Red Bulls are seriously going to miss Davis now that he’s set to miss the second leg to a yellow card accumulation ban.
Alex Muyl, 5.0
Bradley Wright-Phillips, 9.9 - The only reason he isn’t a perfect 10 is for just narrowly missing a hat-trick goal on a free kick on the final play of the game.
HC Jesse Marsch, 8.5 - The Red Bulls skipper wasn’t the one who made 13 saves or two goals, but the fact that he brought the team into the game focused, competitive and above all victorious against the best defense in Liga MX puts this game among the very best of Marsch’s achievements as a head coach.
Florian Valot, 8.0 - With an assist to BWP and a display of solid footwork in his first-team debut, Valot reminded Red Bulls fans in this game just how deep the CM position is.
Derrick Etienne Jr., 5.0
Connor Lade, n/a
The Red Bulls will definitely feel a confidence boost after today’s result, and hopefully it will carry over into the MLS season opener against Portland and next week’s rematch with Tijuana. But with injuries to Marc Rzakowski and the impending loss of Sean Davis for a suspension, next week’s starting XI will look very different from tonight’s - and if tonight taught me anything it’s that you can’t really predict any soccer results with certainty.