• Monday Dec 26, 2016

    SCCL Review: New York Red Bulls

    New York Red Bulls (pictured) convene for a team photo prior to its Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League match against visiting Antigua GFC on August 3, 2016, in Harrison, New Jersey, USA. (Photo: Mexsport)

    With six days left in the year, CONCACAF.com continues its look at each of the eight 2016/17 Scotiabank CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinalists.

    Today, we take a look back at the USA’s New York Red Bulls, which went unbeaten with a 2W-2D-0L record, conceding a competition-low one goal, to top Group F and secure a knockout-round series with fellow MLS side Vancouver Whitecaps.

    NEW YORK RED BULLS (2W-2D-0L; 5GF, 1GA)

    Group Stage Summary

    The New York Red Bulls were spectacularly steady in clinching a first-ever SCCL quarterfinal berth in three attempts.  Their approach to success in the tournament paid dividends, winning twice at home and drawing twice on the road.  An opening 3-0 win over visiting Antigua GFC set a positive tone for the remainder of the campaign.  New York’s play was featured by a “never-say-die” attitude, with four of its five goals being scored in the second half, including three after the 70th minute.  One of the keys was the fact that first-choice goalkeeper Luis Robles saw action in three encounters.  The 32-year-old’s veteran presence boosted confidence and fortified a defense that can claim to be the SCCL’s best.

    Group Stage Highlight

    Scoreless against visiting Alianza in their third match, with time running out, second-half substitute Sacha Kljestan netted in the 90th minute to lift the Red Bulls to a dramatic 1-0 win.  The U.S. international fired into the right side of the net off Gonzalo Veron’s left-sided cross.  Earlier in the half, Robles thwarted made a spectacular save to deny Rodolfo Zelaya’s diving header.  The result solidified New York’s lead atop the table, while Alianza was eliminated from contention.  Thanks to a 0-0 draw at Antigua in the last group match two weeks later, the Red Bulls clinched progression.

    Key Player

    While Robles was tremendous in front of his goal and Kljestan was clutch in front of opponents’ nets, midfielder Felipe Martins was an ever-present anchor.  The 26-year-old Brazilian played every minute of the group stage, interrupting attacks with stellar defensive efforts and igniting offensive forays with incisive passing.

    After the Group Stage

    New York won the 2016 MLS Eastern Conference regular-season title with a 16-9-9 record to earn a place in the 2017/18 SCCL.  In the MLS Cup playoffs, however, it was eliminated by the Montreal Impact, 3-1 on aggregate, at the Eastern Conference semifinal stage.  From a roster perspective, gone are Aurelien Collin, Chris Duvall, Karl W. Ouimette, Damien Perrinelle and Ronald Zubar (defenders), Omer Damari and Shaun Wright-Phillips (forward) and Kyle Reynish (goalkeeper).  There have been no new additions as of yet.

    2016/17 SCCL MATCHES

    GROUP H

    03.08.16 New York Red Bulls 3, Antigua GFC 0

    own-goal, Alejandro Galindo 14’; Alex Muyl 62'; Sacha Kljestan 80'

    16.08.16 Alianza 1, New York Red Bulls 1

    Alexander Larin 54’ / Omer Damari 71’

    15.09.16 New York Red Bulls 1, Alianza 0

    Sacha Kljestan 90’

    27.09.16 Antigua GFC 0, New York Red Bulls 0

    QUARTERFINALS

    22.02.17 New York Red Bulls v Vancouver Whitecaps (Red Bull Arena – Harrison, New Jersey, USA)

    02.03.17 Vancouver Whitecaps v Vancouver Whitecaps (BC Place – Vancouver, Canada)

    STATS & FACTS

    GOALS

    Sacha Kljestan (2); Omer Damari, Alex Muyl, own-goal in favor of (1)

    ASSISTS

    Gonzalo Veron (2); Aurelien Collin, Kemar Lawrence (1)

    - New York Red Bulls have conceded one goal or fewer in eight straight SCCL games, including five shutouts.

  • Champions League

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