This season has been filled with highs and lows for the Red Bulls, and Sunday continued the theme, as Sean Davis accidentally put the ball into his own net late in the second half, sending a dagger into the positive spirit that was building at CenturyLink Field.
The Red Bulls fell to the rave green Sounders by a final of four goals to two, and the result was excruciatingly painful given the context.
New York’s start to the match was poor, as the Sounders quickly jumped on the Red Bulls, converting the opening two goals in the first 23 minutes. In the second minute, a corner along the far side was bent in and Jordan Morris deflected the ball off his left knee into the net.
There was a shout for hand ball by the captain and goalkeeper Luis Robles, but VAR reviewed the goal and determined the ball never touched Morris’ left hand. In the 23rd minute, Nicolas Lodeiro made it 2-nil.
The Sounders took advantage with the Red Bulls defense stretched. Cristian Roldan floated a ball and Morris dove and headed it to Lodeiro, who found the back of the net.
Needing a lifeline, Aaron Long was able to pull one back for the visitors in the 27th minute. Michael Murillo crossed the ball to the center of the box, and the U.S. international made a snap header that beat Stefan Frei to the back post.
That goal was huge, as the Red Bulls needed to cut into the Sounders’ lead to have any chance of stealing points in the second half. But, before the Red Bulls could get into the locker room, they lost two players to injury.
Cristian Casserers Jr. left in the 39th minute, after a collision with Bradley Wright-Phillips caused his leg to buckle. Soon after, Amro Tarek came up lame after sliding and would limp into halftime before being subbed out for Tim Parker to start the second half.
Despite adversity, they found their equalizer in the 67th minute, punishing the Sounders for keeping passing lanes open. Marc Rzatkowski sent a long pass to Daniel Royer who delivered a quick, low cross to an oncoming Kaku. Kaku stepped up and hit a hard shot into the roof of the net, leveling the match.
The Sounders were forced to defended for most of the time before Davis’ own goal. The unfortunate moment came when Victor Rodriguez crossed the ball towards goal from the far side. Sean Davis tried to stick his right leg out, to stop the cross or force the ball out, but unintentionally deflected the ball over the reach of Robles and into the net. As soon as the ball went in, Davis spiraled to the field turf in disbelief.
“I think after a poor start from our part, I thought we bounced back really well and created a lot of chances, but a real poor play on my part that leads to an own goal,” Davis said. “That’s unfortunate, but we have to bounce back quickly, we have a big game on Wednesday.”
On top of Casseres Jr. and Tarek, the Red Bulls may also be without Kaku, who came out in the 81st minute because of a calf injury. This team still has a chance to salvage its road trip and earn three points at Providence Park in Portland, but doing so with three more injuries will be a tough task.