In the three consecutive apperances the New York Red Bulls have performed in the CONCACAF Champions League, they have faced some solid and some tough opponents in the six series they have performed in.
While they have had some great successes, they have also had some tough failures, especially in the Semi-Finals against Guadalajara Chivas last season. They had tons of chances to punch a single goal and get level on aggregate, but sadly they couldn’t do it.
Once again this was one of those nights where the Red Bulls had tons of chances to cash in, they weren’t able to as they got hit hard not once, but twice as they fall to Liga MX side Santos Laguna by a score of two goals to nil.
The opening goal came late in the first half as Santos Laguna waited patiently to strike. In the 42nd minute it was a goal that came out of nowhere, as Diego Valdes got a nice little pass from Julio Furch, and with a slight hesitation, Valdes snaps a quick shot that beat Luis Robles inside the near post.
After halftime was over, you thought the Red Bulls had regrouped and were ready to go to start the second half, but sadly it was the continuation of a nightmare that wouldn’t disappear. In the 47th minute Furch would get on the score sheet.
Brian Lozano went wide along the near side, crossed the ball that was deflected off of Javier Correa and out of nowhere Furch found a way to slice thru the ball watching defense and punish the Red Bulls for the two goal lead.
“It was tough, obviously allowing that first goal… If anything, the most frustrating part was allowing the second goal as early as we did. It got a little bit difficult for us, but we still had our opportunities, but their goalkeeper played a really good game.” said Kaku
After ninety minutes the Red Bulls fell two goals to nil and both were away goals, which will be even harder, when they fly down next week to the Estadio Corona, where Santos Laguna is very tough to beat.
But the Red Bulls had some great chances in both halves to try and punch one home, but unfortunately they couldn’t put a good shot on frame, or goalkeeper Jonathan Orozco was in great position to make a big save.
“It usually can come down to that. It’s one way to look at it, how each team takes their chances.” said Chris Armas “We certainly created a few good ones tonight but it goes like that sometimes and they converted on theirs. We know that about them, specifically that they don’t need a lot of chances for goals. It’s one of the things that we’ve talked about.
“Going into half time you feel like it’s there for us because of what the first half looked like. Then, to come out in the second half and things really didn’t even settle down and you’re down two-nothing and I think it did rattle us a little bit. You could feel the game needed a little bit of life which is hard, you’re playing against a good team”
One player who never looked lost, or had a confused look on his face was right full back Kyle Duncan. With Michael Murillo suspended on yellow card accumulation, Duncan played his marker well, also found ways to get into the attack. He showed why the Red Bulls believe in his technical ability.
“He’s a really interesting player, because he doesn’t look phased and he can run and you know there’s little things in there and he’s still going to grow and I think there’s a nice upside to his game.” said Armas “You can see that in transition moments defensively, he can get back quickly and he can win foot races and he’s got a pretty good knack for getting forward so... and he was really good in the air tonight so the whole package he brought something different to the table”
With the Red Bulls not playing in league action this coming weekend, they will have a full week of rest and training to prepare for their second leg match up against this same Santos Laguna side, and they must score two away goals to force penalties, or three to try and win the aggregate. But it’s a challenge they aren’t shying away from.