|Fireworks greeted the Red Bulls and FC Dallas as they entered the pitch. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Saturday night at Red Bull Arena was a summer celebration, which featured fireworks before and after the Red Bulls' game with FC Dallas, and they provided plenty of fireworks during the game, as they rolled to a 3-0 victory.
The Red Bulls improved to 9-4-2 with 29 points, and move into second place in the Eastern Conference, one point ahead of NYCFC for the time being. NYCFC hosts Toronto on Sunday night. FC Dallas, firmly in second place in the West, fell to 8-2-5 with 29 points.
The Red Bulls extended their home unbeaten streak to four league matches and has outscored its opponents, 9-1 during the stretch. They have scored at least three goals at Red Bull Arena in six of eight matches this season. The win snapped FC Dallas' seven-match unbeaten streak.
|Fireworks after the game shooting above the Red Bull Arena roof. Photo by Jason Schott.|
Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of the statement win, which they achieved playing most of the night down a man, "Yeah, what it was was a show of our character. So you know, we talk a lot around here about our style of play and our tactics and all the different things that we try to be about from a soccer, technical perspective. But this was more to do about the character of the group and their commitment and their mentality and their will on the day to play for each other and do whatever it was going to take.
"And I told them, I think this may be, of all the great wins we've had at home, this may be our best one ever. You call it a showcase; yeah, I would say, you know, it's just -- it's a nice moment when you can see a team that is so together and so committed and is going to do whatever it takes. That's always going to make a coach proud.
"And I think to the man, I think they all dug in, had their backs against the wall at different moments, made plays, defended, fought for each other. So yeah, really, really good performance and one think that I will continue to galvanize our group and make us better."
The Red Bulls got on the board in the 23rd minute when Bradley Wright-Phillips tapped in a Tyler Adams cross for a 1-0 lead.
Wright-Phillips has scored a goal in the last three matches across all competitions and moved within three of Josef Martinez's Golden Boot lead.
BWP raised his career league total to 97 and 115 across all competitions, and he moved into a three-way tie with Clint Dempsey and Carlos Ruiz for 12th all-time in league history with 25 game-winning goals.
In the 27th minute, Daniel Royer was called for a yellow card on a challenge. After the referee called for VAR, it was changed to a red card, which left the Red Bulls a man down for the final 70 minutes or so of the match.
It didn't make much difference, as the Red Bulls kept charging and increased their lead in the 39th minute. They were awarded a corner kick, which was taken by Sean Davis. It went right to Aaron Long in the box, who found some room and hit it squarely with his right leg and sent it through traffic to make it 2-0.
This was Long's third career goal, and two of them have come against FC Dallas.
Toward the end of the first half, Dallas got a couple of superb chances, as Jacori Hayes fired one off the post in the 45th minute, and then a few minutes into extra time, Maximiliano Urruti fired one near the top of the net that Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles flicked over the bar with his fingertips.
In the second half, the Red Bulls got possession from the start, and it took them just a few minutes to get a great chance.
In the 48th minute, coming down the left side, Kaku found Kemar Lawrence, who came to the edge of the box and fired one in to make it 3-0.
The Red Bulls were lucky the play was allowed to continue after Wright-Phillips was down on the right side further up the field. While he was unhappy play was allowed to continue while he was on the ground, that was tempered by the fact they got a goal.
Lawrence not only tallied his first goal of 2018, he became the Red Bulls' 15th different goal scorer this season across all competitions.
Marsch said of Lawrence, "You know, I mean, if you go through Kemar's history here, when he first arrived, you could right away tell he wasn't just a kid from Jamaica, a kid from the island. He had more. He had more ideas. He had more questions. He had more thoughts, and he had more pride than a lot of the guys that I've seen from his area.
"And you know, at certain times, he would kind of say, "Well, listen, man, I'm from Jamaica, this isn't always easy for me. You ask me to be intense all the time. That's now how we do things."
"I said to him, 'You're different. That's why you're here. You're not like everyone else from Jamaica,' and that's not a bad thing. I love Jamaica, too. I've been there on vacation. The people are amazing. But Kemar has something for different and unique about him and he had to invest in that and really believe in it and help him drive him to be bigger and better, and I think he's done that.
"And so this year, for me specifically, he's been more on too much the details, had more concentration, become more of a leader, become more vocal and become more of a complete player and a complete person. His family is here now. In every way, I'm really proud of how far Kemar has come and what he means to our club. So, yeah, I mean -- yeah."
Kaku's assist to Lawrence raised his season total to 10, extending his league lead to two.
The Red Bulls almost got another one in the 53rd minute when Florian Valot was in alone and Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez reached for it and pushed it over the crossbar.
In the 62nd minute, Urruti had another big chance, as he fired one in just past the top of the box, and Robles made the point-blank save.
That was just one of a game-high six saves for Robles, as he earned his eighth win of the season. Robles improved to 88-54-44 all-time in net as a Red Bull.
Robles recorded his 53rd career league clean sheet, moving him into a tie with Troy Perkins for 11th all-time.
The Red Bulls have owned the Western Conference this season. They are now 6-1-0 this season against teams from the West and have outscored their opponents, 17-4.
Marsch said of Dallas, "I have a lot of respect for their club and a lot of respect for their coach. He's had a lot of really good seasons there. You know, won Supporter Shield, won Open Cups. Retooled the team this year to be as good as ever and they only have one loss on the year before tonight, right.
"So we knew we were in for a big challenge, and if you would have told me we were going to go down a man in the 26th minute, I would have said it was going to be a long night for us, and once again, we showed what we're about."
The Red Bulls hit the road for their next couple matches, as they travel to face Toronto on July 1, then head to Yankee Stadium to play NYCFC on July 8. Both matches will be featured on the FOX network.