The New York Red Bulls knew they had their hands full against a side they have never seen before, at the same time they acquired some new players they didn’t know about, yet the one good thing they were able to do wasn’t to take them lightly.
After a solid ninety minutes the Red Bulls took the first leg by scoring twice and both were away goals, as they get ready to face this Club Atletico Pantoja side for the second leg at Red Bull Arena next Wednesday.
Their first goal came in the 39th minute as the Red Bulls finally found a breakthrough, yet they got some help from their hosts to get it. Daniel Royer was along the near side after saving the ball from going over the end line.
He turned around and whipped in a cross towards Bradley Wright-Phillips and originally, it looked like BWP was able to knock the ball in to open the scoring. But on the replay the goal was changed to a Club Atletico Pantoja Own Goal, as Odalis Baez made the save and deflected the rebound off of Jean Innocent’s head and over the line.
The second goal was converted by Daniel Royer and that one was needed in a hurry. Converted in the 67th minute Kaku got the ball inside the Pantoja area and sent a beautiful rainbow cross to Royer who settled it down and slammed it top shelf.
“It really was a professional and mature performance from everyone, really important to keep the clean sheet and score away goals.” said Daniel Royer “I think we could’ve scored three, four or even five goals. But that is something we need to improve on.
“You have to be prepared to open on the road, especially in these countries, sometimes the conditions are not the best, but you have to take that and that’s how it is. Sometimes it’s not about the beautiful game.
We knew that from the last couple of years that you have to be ready for a dog fight, you have to be ready for battling, ready for second balls and having duels. WE knew what to expect and we have a lot of experiences which was important from last year.”
Two goals to the good, both are away goals and the Red Bulls were able to grab an advantage and next Wednesday, they will look to finish the job at Red Bull Arena.
“We feel good about coming on the road and playing in this competition.” said Chris Armas” We saw last night with some of these results that nothing is given, the mentality was right.
“Sticking to the game plan of how we want this thing to look tonight, We stepped up to that and in many ways, it looked like what we thought. I give credit to the guys and the staff, the way they prepared for the opponent. They were up for it and they knew how to get ready for an opponent like this.”
But let’s give credit to this Pantoja side as they were able to fight tooth and nail to prevent the Red Bulls from earning a victory, and they nearly held them off in the opening 45 minutes, but it wasn’t meant to be.
Odalis Baez probably played the best match in his career taking on the legend that is Bradley Wright-Phillips as he thwarted him time, after time. chances from point blank, as well as from a good distance, yet he wasn’t able to stop his teammate from converting on their own goal and Daniel Royer.
You have to say in defeat that Baez was the man of the match in this first leg of the CONCACAF Champions League. But now the Red Bulls must look towards next Wednesday and finish the job at Red Bull Arena.
They need to move on once that return leg is over and focus their sights to begin their 2019 league season and at the same time a possible Quarterfinal match up against either Santos Laguna of Liga MX or Marathon of Honduras.