After 90 minutes of hard-fought soccer down in Central Florida, the New York Red Bulls defeated Orlando City by a final of one goal to nil. There is plenty to delve into with this match, but let’s start with the breakthrough, ultimately the decider.
The lone goal of the night came in the 32nd minute, as young upstart Brian White continued his solid season.
“Whenever Kaku gets the ball, I try to make a move to get in behind the defender, whether it’s behind the shoulder of the defender,” Brian White said. “He’s amazing getting the ball to me. I just made a little run off his back shoulder and Kaku played a great ball across the box.
“I just try to live the moment. Every time I get my chance out there, I try to score a goal, and try to help the team win. When I get my chance, I try to score on that moment. I can’t get carried away with whatever is happening either with a good couple of games, or a bad couple of games.”
It was former Orlando City center back Amro Tarek who stole the ball and quickly gave it to Kaku, to create an attack. He bent a cross to the far side that White met in stride, sliding into it and deflecting it past goalkeeper Brian Rowe.
While the start of the second half looked like the first half, Orlando City quickly got into the game and caused problems for New York. Thanks to Brian Rowe making several saves to keep them in it early, the home side began fighting hard to get a leveler.
At the hour mark, the first real warning shot came from Carlos Ascues, who ripped a quick chance towards goal after the initial attack fizzled out.
A second opportunity for Orlando City came ten minutes later. Tesho Akindele was occupied by four Red Bulls defenders but had enough space to work with. The veteran took his chance, and the ball nailed the crossbar and cleared out.
The woodwork was called upon one more time, in dramatic fashion. Sacha Kljestan, who got the winner earlier this year at Red Bull Arena, looked like he was going to get another one and take away two points.
His quick shot in the 77th minute beat Luis Robles, but not the back post. Yet, he still got his own rebound for a second shot, which was chaotically saved by Robles, before a loose ball was quickly pounced by Robles to end the frenzy.
It was the type of character win the Red Bulls needed, to get ready for their big stretch run into the back end of the season. While it seemed like Orlando City was going to get the equalizer, the Red Bulls had confidence and played strong defense to carry them through.
“Anytime you can get three points on the road and a shutout against an Eastern Conference opponent when things are tight, it’s success,” Chris Armas said. “But what I would say, specifically, is we came here to be aggressive, to take some steps forward as a team.”
“For me, it’s a beautiful thing. I love seeing the guys have to dig deep, to go some places where they don’t go normally. How do they respond to that? Can they stick together? Can they execute when Orlando is throwing everything at us, and can we still make plays? We can keep the ball a little bit better in the second half in stretches, but maybe it was better to go through that.”
Having just gone through a rough and tough 90 minutes, the Red Bulls will happily take the three points, however it may have come, before heading back home to face Columbus Crew SC next Saturday.