The New York Red Bulls played well for the third week in a row, but walked away without a point.
In a result that Gerhard Struber called “crazy” the Red Bulls dropped a 1-0 game to Minnesota United in Harrison. A Luis Amarilla finish early in the second half was enough to give Minnesota a road upset despite being dominated by the Red Bulls for most of the match. Minnesota goalkeeper Dayne St Clair (filling in for ill starter Ryan Miller) dealt successfully with all 19 of New York’s shots to earn an unlikely man of the match award.
Though it was the home opener for New York, the snowy 35-degree conditions made for a familiar environment for a Minnesota that had only achieved 1-1 draws in the season’s first two rounds. Playing with injuries on the backline, Minnesota came out in a flat, conservative 4-5-1 that Struber matched by returning to his 5-4-1 formation from late 2021. Lewis Morgan and Omir Fernandez played as attackers underneath Patryk Klimala, and early on the trio came close to manufacturing an opener.
First was multiple chances carved open by Morgan including a swerving outside-the-box effort stopped by St Clair. When Fernandez dribbled into the opposing area in the 11th minute, Minnesota defender Hassani Dotson handled the bouncing ball, leading referee Lukasz Szpala to award a penalty kick. Though the usually reliable Patryk Klimala lined up from the spot, his telegraphed effort towards the right side was caught and restarted by St Clair, killing early momentum.
But despite the setback, New York would largely dominate the game save for an isolated moment early in the second half. After a corner kick lofted over to the opposite side of the box, Hassani Dotson picked the ball up and sent a hopeful cross back the other way that happened to catch Luis Amarilla at the back post to volley in an opening goal against the run of play.
The remainder of the game saw more St Clair heroics and more penalty shouts to Szpala. St Clair was equal to every question asked by the New York attack: a shallow Klimala cutback to Fernandez stuffed point blank, a second ball that fell to Aaron Long was rejected, a left-footed drive from Dru Yearwood. Luquinhas made his debut late and made for the final penalty shout (Struber said it was the latest game where he and his players were saying “what is going on?” in regards to the officiating) when he was tripped up on the edge of the box.
New York outshot Minnesota 19 to 5 and had an expected goal ratio of 3.13 to 0.65 for the visitors. Gerhard Struber said post-game “it is crazy to me that we don’t step away with any points” but was also quick to focus the team’s energy on the next match of a long season.
“Today, also, you need a little bit of luck, and today we missed a little bit the luck in these moments.”
“I could see before the penalty and after the penalty hungry boys with a clear plan with a clear mindset. And I think this could always be a penalty; that we miss chances like that, but the boys were clear and work very, very hard for chances. I think this penalty, this is no excuse. I think we have enough chances to win this game.”
“Today, yeah, we missed one moment and we can see a team on this level experienced a team like on this level like Minnesota, they can score and, yeah, we have some to-dos, but generally I am very happy.”