Aug 29, 2018; Harrison, NJ, USA; New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams (4) controls the ball in front of Houston Dynamo midfielder Memo Rodriguez (8) during the second half at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
HARRISON, N.J. — Brian White waited his whole life for Wednesday night, to be in the starting XI, to score his first Major League Soccer goal. When teammate Alex Muyl raced to the end line and slid to save the ball before sending a cross to White’s feet, the wait — which seemed especially long for the 22-year-old rookie from Flemington, N.J. — was over.
“It felt like it took forever, to be honest,” White said. “I just tried to stay alert, stay on my toes, and the ball came right to me. All I had to do was tap it in.”
White did just that for the game’s lone goal, helping lift the New York Red Bulls to a 1-0 win over the Houston Dynamo and a spot atop the Supporters’ Shield table with seven games left in the regular season.
Among the announced 15,042 in attendance at Red Bull Arena was about 20 of White’s closest friends and family, including his mother Michele, who was brought to tears when her son scored in the 55th minute.
“I say it’s a dream come true,” White said. “It’s a level I’ve been dreaming of reaching and to score on my first start in front of friends and family, I couldn’t picture a better night, especially getting three points at the end.”
While White opened eyes around Red Bull Arena with his first MLS goal, finding the back of the net is nothing new to him. In the past 15 months, he’s scored for the Red Bulls Premier Development League squad and the Red Bulls II team.
“He just has a knack,” Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said. “Guys like him, guys like [Bradley] Wright-Phillips, these guys know how to feel the movements, sniff the plays out around the goal. When you even talk about him, it’s not the guy outside the box. He just knows how to show up at the right place, right time, and he works. He loves scoring.”
White was part of a heavily rotated squad in the penultimate match of five games in 15 days, one of six new starters from the squad that defeated D.C. United 1-0 Sunday. He joined Andi Ivan and Cristian Casseres Jr. in making their first MLS starts. It was also Casseres’ debut.
“He looked like a young pro,” Armas said of Casseres. “One of his best qualities is that he’s fearless. He’s fearless, and he counter presses, and he’s a philosophy player. We knew it would be interesting, enjoyable to watch him next to Tyler, two guys that are fearless, they’re going to go after it, and that performance — of course you don’t know what it’s going to look like — but I think it’s exactly what we hoped for and expected from Cristian”
In the back, Fidel Escobar played alongside Tim Parker centrally, making his first appearance since starting the first two matches of the regular season, long before he started for Panama at the FIFA World Cup.
He helped limit the Dynamo to few scoring chances as the leading defensive team in the league registered an 11th clean sheet in their 10th one-goal win of the season.
“I think you could all see is a really intelligent soccer player,” Armas said. “You can see it with his passing, you can see it with the way he reads plays, he drops off, he head rolls, he kind of put one back, and he’s got some savviness to him. … His best days are game day. He’s a competitor. He’s really proud. He’s a proud defender.”
With the win, the Red Bulls (17-6-4) moved ahead of Atlanta United atop the Supporters’ Shield standings with one extra game played. It was their fourth win in six consecutive games without a loss.
The Dynamo (7-12-7), meanwhile, extended a winless streak to nine with their sixth loss in the last seven games.