RBNY Ice The Rapids In Home Opener

USA Today

Gloves, hats, and scarves were out in force on Saturday as Red Bull New York hosted the Colorado Rapids in their 2017 home opener. Amidst the falling temperatures, and, subsequent ice from the roof, the Red Bulls methodically dominated the visitors on their way to a 1-0 victory and a 2-0 start to the MLS season.

It was clear both teams needed time to thaw out after kickoff. What were a lackluster first 44 minutes was highlighted by a pair of tremendous saves from New Jersey-native Tim Howard on Bradley Wright-Phillips. In the second minute, the Red Bulls’ striker got behind Colorado’s defense and blasted a shot off of the US National Team goalkeeper’s leg. 20 minutes later, captain Sacha Kljestan sprung Wright-Phillips in the box, but Howard was there to make a stunning arm save on the reigning Golden Boot winner.

The match found its offensive spark right before half when the Red Bulls benefited from a Rapids own goal. Right before the halftime whistle, Felipe sent a gorgeous leading pass down the right side to Sal Zizzo. The defender edged past his counterpart and sent a cross to Daniel Royer in front of goal. Colorado centerback Eric Miller, who was defending the Austrian in front of Howard, slid to disrupt the pass, but, instead, sent the ball into the right side of his own net to give New York the 1-0 lead heading into the dressing room. It was the second own goal that the Red Bulls have benefited from in the first two weeks of the season.

The Red Bulls were able to successfully limit Colorado’s attempts to equalize the match and comfortably ride out the final 45 minutes on their way to a 1-0 victory. Luis Robles was called upon to make just one save on the night, a match-saving foot save in the 72nd minute on Dominique Badji.

In addition to the clean sheet, Robles set the Major League Soccer record for most consecutive games played at 142. Fredrick Gulbrandsen made his MLS debut when he came on for Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 88th minute. Derrick Etienne Jr. earned his first MLS start. In two matches this season, the Red Bulls have been credited with three goals, but have only scored one. The other two have been opponent own goals.

The Red Bulls travel to Seattle next week to take on the Sounders in a bid to start the season 3-0.