Heading into Saturday evening’s match at Red Bull Arena, there were a lot of headlines in the atmosphere. Whether it was former Red Bull captain Dax McCarty returning to Red Bull Arena for the first time or autism awareness night, a lot going on at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.
In the soccer match, because without that none of these headlines would exist without it, the New York Red Bulls walked away victors after an impressive performance against the Chicago Fire.
From the opening kick-off, Red Bull Arena was rocking as if everyone had just chugged three Red Bulls. Both sides created chances and fans were not disappointed.
The first real chance of the game came in the 13th minute of the match. After a free-kick bounced around in the Chicago box, Red Bull defender Kemar Lawrence found the ball at his feet and skied a volley over the crossbar.
After exchanging possession and turnovers, Chicago had the next quality chance of the match. In the 30th minute, Nemanja Nikolić put the moves on the Red Bulls to fire away a teasing shot at Luis Robles, who dealt with the shot wonderfully to keep the teams level.
Only a minute later, the Red Bulls should have had the opener. Captain Sacha Kljestan fired a low shot from just outside the Chicago box to force a save from Chicago goalie Jorge Bava. Bava pushed the ball right in front of an oncoming Felipe, who couldn’t capitalize and slotted the ball well wide.
Chicago then had their turn score the opener in the 35th minute, but forward Luis Solignac mucked up a breakaway chance. Solignac did manage to hit a ball back into the box after his initial shot was saved, where Nemanja Nikolić hit it straight into Red Bulls defender Connor Lade, who cleared it away to prevent a Chicago opener.
Minutes after that scrappy defensive string of play, the Red Bulls were in on goal as Bradley Wright-Phillips slotted home a cross from Daniel Royer to cue “Bulls on Parade,” thus signifying a Red Bulls 1-0 lead.
Halftime followed soon after Wright-Phillips’ opener and the Red Bulls clung to a 1-0 lead, despite conceding numerous threatening counter-attacks to Chicago. If Chicago had better finishing in the first half, they could have been the ones leading at halftime.
In a similar fashion to the first half, the Red Bulls came out of the gates ready to add to their tally on the evening. Their first chance of the second half came in the 49th minute when Wright-Phillips sped to the goal-line and whipped in a cross. That cross, however, was met by 18-year old Tyler Adams, who showed his inexperience as he skied a clear scoring chance over the crossbar.
That chance came back to haunt the Red Bulls as their former captain made them pay. After receiving the ball just on top of the Red Bull box, Dax McCarty navigated his way through multiple Red Bulls defenders. After getting into the box, McCarty unselfishly laid the ball off to Nemanja Nikolić, who slotted home the equalizer, the first goal by a visiting team this season at Red Bull Arena.
After conceding their first goal at home this season, the Red Bulls focused back in as they looked determined to pull back ahead. Following a quality scoring chance from substitute Gonzalo Veron, the Red Bulls found the goal they were looking for via a Kemar Lawrence bullet past Bava in the 71st minute.
After that, the Red Bulls rustled their way to the finish to take home three points after completing a 2-1 victory over the Fire. With this win, the Red Bulls jumped the Columbus Crew (thanks to their rivals NYCFC) to move into second place in the Eastern Conference.
Up next for the Red Bulls is Sporting KC on the road in Kansas on May 3rd.