Red Bulls Make History with Champions League Win at Tijuana, Bradley Wright-Phillips Scores a Brace
New York Red Bulls came into its first leg tie with Club Tijuana in the Mexican League as heavy underdogs. The odds makers had them at 7-to-1 to win the match, and 2.75-to-1 to even gain a draw. The Red Bulls however shocked the world of soccer with a 0-2 win at Tijuana in CONCACAF Champions League.
The Red Bulls became just the third MLS side to ever win in Mexico in Champions League, joining FC Dallas and Seattle Sounders who accomplished the feat in 2011. Red Bull is the first side to ever win in Mexico by multiple goals, and is the first MLS side to win at Tijuana in the history of the competition.
Since Seattle defeated Monterrey in 2011, MLS clubs had gone winless with only 4 draws in 17 tries when travelling to Mexican opposition in CCL play.
New York was always going to have to withstand pressure from the Liga MX side and make the most of any opportunity which presented itself and that is exactly what Red Bull was able to do in the opening leg.
Red Bull tried to come out strong, and was able to dictate play for the first 15 minutes or so of the match and were able to find the break through in the 9th minute.
Daniel Royer played a low hard cross into the Tijuana box and after a weak clearing attempt, the ball fell to the feet of Bradley Wright Phillips who hammered a shot into the top of Manuel Lajud’s net giving the visiting side an improbable lead.
From that point, the Mexican side got into the match and put the pressure on Red Bull in seemingly non-stop waves as Red Bull tried to stay firm at the back.
Tijuana continued to pepper the Red Bull goal with shot after shot as the Red Bulls tried to play the defend and counter game nursing the 1-goal advantage.
Red Bull’s breakouts were continually thwarted as the equalizer seemed inevitable. In fact, the Liga MX side appeared to score the tying tally around the one hour mark when Ignacio Rivero put a rebound into the net but he was ruled offside. Replays confirmed that the goal should have stood and the offside call was incorrect.
Red Bull would take advantage of the break moments later. In the 67th minute, Bradley Wright-Phillips struck again. The England man took a pass in traffic and maneuvered his way to the top of the blocks and slid a right-footed shot across his body into the bottom left of the goal, giving Red Bull a 0-2 advantage.
Red Bull captain, and keeper Luis Robles turned in a Man of the Match Performance making an astounding 13 saves and keeping the clean sheet for the New York side.
The win gives Red Bull a precious two away goals which are the tie breaker in CCL play. Tijuana will need to defeat Red Bull by 3 goals to advance, or win by at least a 2-0 scoreline to force extra time. Any 2-goal victory for Tijuana at Red Bull Arena involving a Red Bull goal would send RBNY to the semifinals of the competition.
The 2nd leg of the tie will take place on March 13, 2018 in Harrison.