Sunday, July 24, 2016

Sunday MLS: Red Bulls roll City for New York Derby win

New York Red Bulls 4-1 New York City
The rubber match of the Hudson River Derby crossed state lines into Harrison, New Jersey's Red Bull Arena. City was hoping to solidify themselves as the Eastern Conference leaders while their rivals were looking to get back into that top spot conversation. Early on in the match, it was New York Red Bulls taking control. Amidst a powerful atmosphere and high heat in suburban New York, Bradley Wright-Phillips giving Red Bulls a 20th minute lead. It took all of three additional minutes for the second to show up. Ronald Zubar was able to fight his way to a corner in the 23rd minute for the headed finish. Without discipline and organization, City was in danger of repeating the 7-0 drubbing at the hands of their arch rivals from earlier this year.

Things only got worse for the visitors, though. A 40th minute handball against Frederic Brillant allowed Sacha Kljestan to make it 3-0 to Red Bulls from the spot. The threat of another New York Derby blowout was very, very real at the time. It took a wondergoal from Tommy McNamara minutes later to give City a smidge of hope at the break.

The second half began with back and forth action that resulted in Red Bulls having a penalty shout denied and a shot off the crossbar. McNamara drilled the corner of the woodwork himself in a shot that was eerily similar to his goal in the first half. Read Bulls were able to restore their three goal lead with a wonderful counter attack in the 70th minute. A long ball from Luis Robles took a touch off a Red Bull head and to Bradley Wright-Phillips, who juked through the flummoxed City defense for his second of the day.

The match was over at that point, but that didn't stop tempers from flaring at the end. Frank Lampard's frustration showed with some pushes and shoves. Sacha Kljestan retaliated. Cards were handed out. Ethan White was sent off for a second yellow. City accrued a few yellow card suspensions for next weekend against the Rapids. It wasn't a pretty ending.

The win lifts Red Bulls to second place, two points back of New York City.

Sporting Kansas City 3-0 Seattle Sounders
The Sounders season is more or less in shambles. Sporting Kansas City is sitting below the red line as well. What was thought to be a sexy matchup before the season started instead had little to offer on paper. SKC was in control for the first part of the match. They had solid possession and a couple of nice looks. The hard work paid off in the 21st minute when Seattle lost track of Dom Dwyer in the penalty are and gifted him a wide open header for an easy goal. Kansas City continued to dominate all over the pitch. In the final seconds before half time, Jacob Peterson lofted a shot into the top corner with no Seattle defender in the area to defend him.

Seattle's first half was pretty rough. They failed to get a shot off in the opening 45 minutes and spent much of the time chasing the ball. Their defense looked mostly asleep as they allowed too much space for SKC's attack to operate.

The Sounders did come out with a little more bite in the second half. That's exactly what it was, though. A little more bite. Kansas City still ruled the run of play while Seattle continued to look generally apathetic. It wasn't exactly easy to watch. SKC players were still routinely finding wide open shots from threatening positions. Their lack of finishing ability was the only thing keeping this a two goal game. They did get a third goal in the 79th minute after a lazy, lazy pass was intercepted by Dom Dwyer in the Seattle penalty area for an easy finish.

Fair play to Sporting Kansas City for getting the win, but Seattle should be rightly criticized for the lack of effort today. they didn't get their first, and only, shot until the 88th minute and it was five yards wide of the goal. Their defending was absentee at best. They may as well have just not shown up to the stadium today, because they certainly weren't there mentally.

SKC clearly won't care. This win takes them above the red line and into fourth place in the West. Seattle is a single point clear of last place in the Western Conference and ten points back of a playoff spot.

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