HARRISON, N.J. — On another day, the focus would have been about the missed opportunities, not putting away Seattle Sounders FC and letting them back in with a late goal.
But considering the brutal stretch of games — five in 15 days — the New York Red Bulls will take a 2-1 win on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena and move on.
“We still are talking about missed opportunities, but it is what it is,” Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “It’s three points, but I feel like the chances we got we should we taking them. But at the end of the day, three points against a good team and at home.”
“It speaks volumes about the character and quality of this team to be able to see a difficult game out like tonight was with the humidity and the opponent and just of course the amount of games in quick succession,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said.
After numerous close calls, Royer gave the Red Bulls a deserved opening goal with his fourth of the season in the 37th minute. Florian Valot played a low cross to the back post where Royer fired home from the edge of the six-yard box.
“it’s always good to score, it’s always good to win. That was our major goal today — to get three points out of the game,” Royer said. “That’s the most important thing, that was good. But I still think we could have finished the game earlier.”
Wright-Phillips tacked onto the Red Bulls lead in the 52nd minute, latching onto a whipped in cross by Ethan Kutler and putting in a glancing header from just outside the six-yard box.
It was Kutler’s second assist in his first MLS start.
Jun 13, 2018; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Royer (77) scores a goal against Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei (24) during first half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
“The first thing I had to do was I had [Clint] Dempsey in front of me, so I had to worry about him,” Kutler said. “But once I got past him, you look for Bradley Wright-Phillips when you’re in the box. He’s always making pretty great runs so it’s pretty easy to find him. He’s buzzing around, he beats his defender, he gets to his spot so you just have to open your eyes and find him.”
Harry Shipp pulled Seattle (3-8-2) to within a goal, but it came in the 87th minute and the Sounders lost for the fourth time in their last five games.
“Harry finally breaks through at the end. But you know, they get a goal right before halftime,” Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer said. “We could have equalized, changes the game, changes the complexity of the game, doesn’t happen. They come out the second half and that’s just classic, textbook stuff. They get another goal just on the other side of half time and it’s hard for the team to recover.”
The Sounders have 10 days before their next game — home for the Chicago Fire. The Red Bulls, meanwhile, are back at training Thursday to prepare for another match on Saturday.
“There’s some frustration that we don’t handle the game better because if we are better on the day, it can be much more in hand,” Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said. “I told the guys, there’s no negativity right now. They have all had to dig so deep.”
Listen: Jesse Marsch’s entire post-match press conference below