When have you ever seen such a brilliant performance from a Red Bulls side not only in early season league play but in international cup compeition play. Starting the season in the CONCACAF Champions Leagues you knew there would be some issues going forward with sharpness as well as oppositions that have a head start on you match fitness wise.
Add to the fact that you are playing down in Mexico to take on a Club Tijuana side that has done very well in their current season, but the New York Red Bulls found confidence and played hard to defeat the Xolos two goals to nil and both are away goals to add to their advantage on the Aggregate.
It was an early goal in the ninth minute as Marc Rzatkowski was able to steal the ball from the midfielder and sent a solid pass to Daniel Royer who reaches the end line and crossed it towards Alex Muyl.
The defender blocked the pass and tried to clear the ball, but he gave it right at the boot of Bradley Wright-Phillips and he roofs the shot into the top of the net and the Red Bulls earned the away goal and that meant a lot of pressure was coming.
The second goal came in the second half and Bradley Wright-Phillips got his second of the match and his third in this edition of the CONCACAF Champions League as he stamped the win with a hammer of a shot in the sixty-seventh minute.
Florian Valot got a good pass to bring up the ball, he also delivered a solid pass to BWP as he was surround by three defenders of Club Tijuana. Somehow Wright-Phillips ripped a hard shot through those defenders and beats Gibran Lajud to his right for the second of the match and the second away goal.
The man of the match was goalkeeper and Captain of the club Luis Robles as he was not just sensational for the Red Bulls, but he played out of his mind making so many saves on difficult shots.
So many times he made a double fist saves, parry the ball over the crossbar saves, one moment he made a spectacular right hand swiping save that just went over the far upper ninety and was just out of his mind getting those balls away from goal.
“Obviously our locker room is really satisfied right now, coming into this game we knew it would be a hostile affair and we are going against a good team like Club Tijuana that has a lot of quality.” said Luis Robles.
“We also knew they wanted to start fast and to get that goal early neutralized what they wanted to do and put them on the back foot.”
But before BWP converted his second of the night, there was an offside flag that should’ve stayed down as Club Tijuana converted a chance that was wiped out. So a little luck had to come their way and did so heading back to Red Bull Arena to open their league campaign and getting ready for their second leg match the following Tuesday.
The Red Bulls sadly will not have Sean Davis as he earned his second yellow card of the tournament, so he will be missing in the second leg at Red Bull Arena, but they might also be missing Marc Rzatkowski who might have a leg issue after taking a hard challenge six to seven minutes before he went down.
But after the first ninety minutes of this Quarterfinal tie, how does head coach Jesse Marsch feel about this performance and the way Club Tijuana played.
“When we came down here we knew it would take a big effort and we also knew it would take a little luck and so we had to hang on and we needed our goalkeeper to make a lot of saves and our defenders had to empty the tank and give everything they had.” said Marsch.
“Tijuana changed a lot of the things they normally do. they decided to go very direct, challenge our back line and pick up second balls in around our box to try and create chances.
We had to make adjustments to deal with that, it took a little luck but it was a wonderful result for us and it’s only halftime, but we will take it back to Red Bull Arena and do it all over again.”
This was the third victory for an MLS Side on Mexican soil in the CONCACAF Champions League as FC Dallas defeated Pumas on August 11th of 2011 and then the Seattle Sounders defeated Monterrey on August 23rd of the same season when they had the Group Stages.
But the Red Bulls got this victory during the knockout stage and that’s a huge win for the club as well for the league as they will be heading back to Red Bull Arena to open their league season and get ready for their Quarterfinal second leg tie against Club Tijuana.
So far Jesse Marsch is pushing the right buttons and he is setting up the proper game plans, but even he knows this one is not completely over and he knows they need to perform another solid ninety minutes to get into the Semi-Finals in early April.