After getting knockAnother disappointing CONCACAF Champions League campaign saw the New York Red Bulls crash out to Mexican side Santos. The 6-2 aggregate hammers home just how dominant Santos were for 135 of the 180 minutes the two sides played.
A glimpse of hope in the first half of the second leg was shattered when the Red Bulls failed to put any pressure on Santos in the second 45. A flurry of four quick goals in just nine minutes summed up the tie overall.
With the painful loss hopefully behind them, the Red Bulls now shift focus to MLS play. The team started the season with a 1-1 draw in Columbus against the Crew. Andreas Ivan was the lone scorer on the day for New York as Gaston Sauro netted for the Crew.
One bright spot on the day was 20 year old Omir Fernandez. The exciting youngster was lively throughout the match as he caught the eye of supporters and, more importantly, Chris Armas.
Fernandez started and scored the Red Bulls opening goal in leg two against Santos, slotting home after a textbook near post run. His inclusion going forward is obvious and should give the Red Bulls supporters something to look forward to.
Kyle Duncan also returned against the Crew at left back. He made three successful tackles and made six interceptions in just 64 minutes of game time. He was excluded from the second leg against Santos for some reason, but he should he a key part to the Red Bulls defense this season.
The San Jose Earthquakes have not won at Red Bull Arena since 2010, and their form does not seem to be improving from last season. The Earthquakes finished last season with the worst point total in the league, tallying just four wins all season.
Back to back losses to start the season further prove the club is going in the wrong direction. Both home losses, San Jose sits at the bottom of the West with a -4 goal differential.
MLS legend Chris Wondolowski continues to search for his 145 league goal to tie Landon Donovan’s record. The 36 year old veteran has played all 180 minutes this season as he looks to continue his scoring record against the Red Bulls.
He has notched a goal in three of the last six meetings between the two clubs, so the record breaking goal is not out of the question at Red Bull Arena. As long as Wondolowski gets good service, he will put away his chances.
The Earthquakes rely on their Georgian midfielder Valeri Qazaishvili to provide the chances for the team. Qazaishvili grabbed an assist in the first match of the season, setting up Swedish forward Magnus Eriksson for the goal.
New signing Cristian Espinoza is yet to make much of an impact for the club, but the new signing is still finding his feet in MLS. The Villarreal loanee hopes to impress at the Earthquakes this year after spending the last year on loan at Boca Juniors.
On paper, this is the perfect match for the Red Bulls to have after their Champions League meltdown. The Earthquakes are struggling to get anything going offensively while looking shambolic in defense.
Chris Armas needs to refocus his team and reignite the offense that put five past Pantejo just a few weeks ago. The team has plenty of offensive firepower, but once the team finds the right combination, the goals will flow freely.
Bradley Wright-Phillips has been getting some stick lately for not scoring, so this is his time to shine. This match has BWP brace written all over it, and the veteran English forward could use a couple goals to jump start his season.
Red Bull Arena has seen two matches already, but the first MLS match of the season has a different feel overall. 2019 may not have started the way the team wanted, but there is still an entire season ahead of them to improve and succeed.