The Red Bulls came back from their league break and found a way to take down the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena, putting in three goals and taking the full three points by a final of three goals to one.
It was an early tally for the New York team in red, as Kaku found a way to take advantage of a major blunder by the goalkeeper. Kenneth Kronholm got the ball played back to him in the eighth minute, but his touch was very poor.
That was when Kaku pounced on the situation, catching the Fire goalkeeper napping as he stole the ball, ran towards a wide-open net and tapped-in for his first goal of the match.
A few minutes prior, Kronholm had coughed up the ball, with Daniel Royer intercepting the pass, but Royer’s touch failed him and the ball popped up. It would hit Royer’s hand and he got whistled for the hand ball by referee Ted Unkel.
“Yes, because the first time he cut the ball back, I fell for it,” Kaku said. “The second one, I predicted that he was going to do that, and I was able to get the goal.”
Then the second half came, and the Red Bulls looked to be firing on all cylinders. They earned their second goal of the match in the 59th minute. It was a fantastic run as Muyl settled the ball to an oncoming Brian White, who passed it towards a streaking Royer.
Then White continued his run, getting into position as Royer crossed the ball towards the middle of the area, and with a sliding shot, White earned his fifth of the season for the two-goal lead.
While the Chicago Fire did pull one back to make it two goals to one, with a deadly smash off the post by Aleksandar Katai that was put in by Nemanja Nikolic, the Red Bulls put the final nail in the coffin inside second half stoppage time.
Daniel Royer was able to convert his chance from a nice pass by Kyle Duncan, who was sprung by Bradley Wright-Phillips. When BWP was subbed into the match in the 67th minute, a huge ovation from the crowd erupted as they were finally able to seeing the No. 99 shirt back on the pitch.
“Yeah, it was amazing to be out there, I was like a kid, man, back at school,” Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “Like I said before, it was so much fun, but I did realize tonight that soccer is difficult.
“It wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be, but it was nice to just get my legs under me, just get the feel of the ball and play in front of the crowd.”
The Red Bulls did have a scare in the first half. The Chicago Fire found ways to attack with the ball, as well as get shots off, but the Fire couldn’t put anything together to threaten the Red Bulls until Przemyslaw Frankowski scared the Red Bull Arena crowd with a big shot that deflected off the inside of the far post and out.
Tim Parker sadly got injured in this match, rolling his ankle around in the 42nd minute. He slowly walked off, but came back on for the remainder of the half before being subbed off for Sean Nealis at the break.
So how did Head Coach Chris Armas feel about this performance and the full three points that were earned for his club?
“Well, we scored three good goals I would say. We were a good pressing team. Kaku presses, forces a mistake, two goals in transition which we said was one of the ways we thought we could get them tonight” Armas said.
“We scored three. So we score three, maybe there’s one or two more out there for us and they have some good chances, which is no surprise because their strength is their attackers.
“Their front four, of course you throw Dax into that mix, and Schweinsteiger, what a quality player our league has in Chicago with him, and they create some good chances. And, of course, Luis Robles came up big on a bunch of occasions.
“So, you know, I’ve said before, does he get the credit he deserves? Whether it’s all-star nominations and nods, and every year, he seems to just be so constant and steady. On a night like tonight, he shows up big -- he keeps us in it. But I thought in the second half, we created some good transition.”
Next is a tough two-game road trip as the Red Bulls travel to Houston and then over to Atlanta for a possible revenge match.