The New York Red Bulls went down to one of the newest fortresses in Major League Soccer as they were ready to face the challenge of Tata Martino’s young and exciting Atlanta United. But after a competitive 90 minutes with over twelve in second half stoppage time the New York Red Bulls left Mercedes Benz Stad9um with a three goals to one victory.
Bradley Wright Phillips scored a brace and was absolutely phenominal as he put himself in perfect position to score two flick head goals to earn his 7th and 8th of the season. But he also got an undocumented assist as he was taken down late in the first half inside the Atlanta area for a penalty that was converted by Daniel Royer in the 42nd minute to level the match at one.
Then it was the BWP show as he found ways to convert chances that were set up by his teammates. In the 51st minute Kaku lays the ball perfectly for Michael Murillo along the near side, as Murillo crosses the ball to the middle of the park, BWP comes out of nowhere with a thunderous flick header to beat Guzan towards the back post.
Then four minutes later BWP did it again with his head and blasts it home. Another poor ball from Atlanta United as they easily gave it up to the Red Bulls and this time it was Florian Valot who would give it to Kaku, another looping cross that found Wright-Phillips and his header nails the bottom of the crossbar and bounced inside the entire goal line for his second of the match.
“(On the First Goal) It was a great ball by Amir (Murillo) there was a lot of pace on the ball as I didn’t have to do much, I remember thinking that I wanted to run towards the back post and I could see how he was kinda lining it up and hitting hard towards the near post so I just gambled and got a beat on it.“ said Wright-Phillips.
“The second was a great ball and that one was a little easier. I thought I missed, because I thought it just hit the bar, then I was going to get crunched by the defender. When I saw it hit the bar and then it landed across the goal line so it was a good evening for me.”
After all that happened at Mercedes Benz Stadium in Downtown Atlanta Bradley Wright-Phillips has scored his seventh and eighth goals of the season, which now ties him with Josef Martinez & Gyasi Zardes for the golden boot race. It also means that he is closer to his marker for a century of goals as he picked up his 93rd & 94th in his league career.
For Ryan Meara this was his first league start in a Red Bulls keeper kit since his rookie year back in 2012 after a hip injury sidelined him for the rest of that season and came up big against this talented and dangerous Atlanta United side.
He was able to come up big with some spectacular saves in the first half, making some solid punching, parry and huge grabs to keep Atlanta United off the scoreboard. But even though he conceded a goal to Ezequiel Barco that was deflected off of Tyler Adams in the 26th minute, Ryan Meara wasn’t phased at all. That’s what coming off the bench does to prepare a player who showed there was never a difference between the two.
“First of all for me personally it was great to be back, anytime you get minuets with the first team it’s always great. It’s never great to see a teammate get hurt, but for us it’s next man up and you have to step in and do the job.” Said Ryan Meara
“It was a great night and we showed what we are all about after being down 1-0 and they were kinda all over us in the first half and then we get the penalty and then we come out flying in the second half and that’s the quality of our team.”
But while there is a lot to be excited about, a scary moment happened that has everyone scared and nervous for the health of Jamaican left fullback in Kemar Lawrence as he was trying to defend a loose ball and out of nowhere he fell down awkwardly and never moved an inch in the 74th minute.
After ten minutes went by it looked like Lawrence was able to talk to the training staff and as they slowly went to immobilize him and got him on the portable stretcher, the Mercedes Benz Stadium gave a big hand to Lawrence and then Jesse Marsch jogged towards Lawrence towards one of the corner entrances and had a quick conversation.
Both shook hands and that was a real positive sign to see both men talking and physical contact being made without any restriction what so ever. At this moment there is no update to report, all we know is that Lawrence had left the stadium to a local Atlanta Hospital.
“A difficult game, an emotional game, a fast game and I advertised it to our team as a heavyweight fight and that there were going to be some punches thrown from both sides and we had to be prepared to take punches at times, but we had to be prepared that when we had chances that we had to deliver some knockout punches and that shows up that we were able to finish some plays off.” Said Jesse Marsch
And now their next match is back at Red Bull Arena as the Red Bulls are happy with a four game winning streak, it’s a bit somber as Kemar Lawrence is out injured and hopefully it’s nothing to serious.
Update on @kemarkemar24:— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) May 21, 2018
Kemar is conscious, fully responsive and in good spirits. He will be held at the hospital overnight for observation.#RBNY pic.twitter.com/0ycip1jNHi