Saturday, July 14, 2018

Red Bulls Beat Sporting KC To Give Armas First Win

Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas. USA Today Sports.

Marc Rzatkowski's first career MLS brace helped the Red Bulls earn a  3-2 win over Sporting Kansas City, 3-2, on Saturday night at Red Bull Arena.

Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas recorded his first career win as manager after taking over the position on July 6.

The Red Bulls improve to 11-5-2, 35 points, in third place in the Eastern Conference. They are five points behind NYCFC for second place and five points ahead of the Columbus Crew. NYCFC beat Columbus 3-2 at Yankee Stadium on Saturday night.

Bradley Wright-Phillips, on a perfect feed from Kaku in the box, took two touches and sent a chip over the diving Tim Melia in the fourth minute.

Wright-Phillips inched closer to 100 league goals as he tallied his 98th career MLS goal. He also raised his career all competitions goals to 116.

Armas said of what makes Wright-Phillips such a dynamic player, "I think what makes Bradley Wright-Phillips a special player is that he's a special person. You know, he's an outlier in terms of -- I just don't think you see attackers and goal scorers with the same work rate and commitment to the team, and he puts the team first. You know, No. 9s and humble, does it go together? With him, he's so for the team.

"And he's a winner. He's just a winner. So you can see, he can will himself to goals. He can will the team to victory. He drives this team."

It didn't take long for Sporting Kansas City to respond as Johnny Russell got his seventh of the season to tie it up in the eighth 

SKC's Roger Espinoza gives his side an early second-half lead as he rocketed a shot from 25-yards out and beat Luis Robles underneath the crossbar in the 51st minute.

Following his entrance off the bench in the 60th minute, Rzatkowski tallied back-to-back goals in a six-minute span (72' and 78') to lead the Red Bulls late in the second half.

Rzatkowski tallied his first and second career league goal. He is the third Red Bulls player to tally a brace in 2018 (Wright-Phillips twice and Rivas once).

Rzatkowski became the 12th different Red Bulls player to tally at least one league goal this season, surpassing last year's total of 11.

Armas said of Rzatkowski, "Marc, he had a great week of training. In every session, he brought energy and he always has quality, but he showed a lot of life this week. Going into the game, we thought that he would be a guy we'd rely on in some capacity."

Tyler Adams, Sean Davis and Kaku each tallied an assist. Kaku remained atop the league in assists as he raised his season total to 11. Davis moved closer to Kaku's team-lead and league-lead in assists as he sits with seven assists.

The Red Bulls are now 4-0-1 after a loss this season as they bounced back from a tough loss to NYCFC last Sunday. They are one of just five teams left in MLS without back-to-back losses this season. They have tallied at least three goals in four of the five matches following a loss.

The Red Bulls tallied their first MLS regular-season win over Sporting Kansas City since 2014.

The Red Bulls have taken 12 of 15 points against the league's top teams and have outscored their opponents, 13-4.

The Red Bulls are now 47-39-22 all-time in the month of July. New York has scored 177 goals while allowing 163 during the seventh month of the year.

The Red Bulls have captured 23 of the possible 27 points at Red Bull Arena and have outscored their opponents, 23-6. They continued their success against Western Conference opponents, improving to 7-1-0.
The Red Bulls continue their four of five matches at Red Bull Arena with the New England Revolution next Saturday, July 21, at 7 p.m.

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