Many of you are still buzzing about that historical win by the New York Red Bulls as they went to face Club Tijuana down in Mexico and pulled off a magical result that not many clubs in MLS have done south of the border.
There have been wins down in Mexico by both FC Dallas and the Seattle Sounders when there was a group stage back in 2011 playing four groups of four, but never have we seen a huge win with multiple goals and none for the home side.
What were some of those moments outside of the ones we saw that involved Bradley Wright-Phillips brace and Luis Robles 13 spectacular saves that frustrated the Xolos all night long at the Estadio Callente?
Well the first thing I noticed was the field turf and how poor it was. There is no doubt that the field was in poor condition and Club Tijuana was trying to use it as an advantage, the ball wasn’t working well as everything had to be launched in the air.
Crosses were at a premium and that’s why the first goal by BWP was effective. Royer’s cross forced a poor decision on the Tijuana defense and the clearance went right to Wright-Phillips who took it one touch and roofed it into the net.
The only time it worked well for the Red Bulls was the Florian Valot pass that was weighted well and timed perfectly. You couldn’t send a ball hard and low into space, because the field turf would stop it from spinning fast.
You could tell the players from Club Tijuana were getting frustrated that some of the fouls called against them and they were real fouls as they got some of the Red Bulls players from behind. Either a knee to the back, a swinging leg tackle or shoved down, but the Red Bulls showed that they were prepared for the challenge.
Tim Parker was raw in the first leg due to the fact that Aurelien Collin was not available for the match and wasn’t able to travel, so insert the new guy and let’s see what he could do. He played strong at times, but also showed he didn’t know where to be at times as his positioning was off during the first half.
Parker adjusted well, but at times did look a bit out of position. That will come with time as he gets use to his new teammates and having a few training sessions under his belt. But overall the defense did well but Robles was better.
The final moment for me which is a sour note is the Referee in Kimbell Ward from St. Kitts and Nevis. While he did a good job, it wasn’t good enough. You can tell he wasn’t on his game when it came to the lack of cards being issued to Tijuana.
No one wants to talk about the referee, but honestly he was making terrible decisions with the dangerous tackles that Tijuana was giving the Red Bulls. The only bookings he gave were the two get together’s when Tyler Adams went down with an injury and after the fracas when a Tijuana player kicked a ball at a New York player.
Not saying the cards weren’t deserved towards Robles, Muyl, Davis and Etienne, but I found it interesting that most of the fouls committed by Tijuana were dangerous and felt they should’ve been booked for reckless play.
But no matter what, at the end of the first ninety minutes, the Red Bulls became the first MLS club to score more than one goal, a clean sheet victory and a victory in the knockout stage of the CONCACAF Champions League. This moment in history will never be taken away from them no matter what anyone says.