Red Bulls Earn Crucial Road Point In El Salvador


Red Bull New York traveled to San Salvador, El Salvador to take on Alianza FC in the second match of the CONCACAF Champions League group stage. After a very poor start, the visitors rallied in the final half-hour to find the equalizer and return home with four points after two CCL matches.

Due to the lengthy travel and extreme heat during last weekend’s victory over the Montreal Impact, coach Jesse Marsch made significant changes to his starting lineup. Out were mainstays Sacha Kljestan, Mike Grella, and Alex Muyl, while Shaun Wright-Phillips, Derrick Etienne Jr., and Aaron Long made the starting XI.

The makeshift lineup struggled mightily in the first half as the Red Bulls failed to manage any dangerous attempts on net. Instead, they spent most of the 45 minutes partaking in a stereotypical CONCACAF hack-a-thon match, and received three yellow cards. Things took a turn for the worst in the 54th minute when Alianza’s Alexander Larin rocketed a free kick from just outside the box into the upper left side of goal, past a well-positioned Luis Robles.

Sensing the need to spark his club, Marsch inserted Kljestan, the MLS assist leader, and newly acquired Israeli forward Omer Damari. Upon their entrance, the match turned in the Red Bulls favor as the pair led numerous attacks in Alianza’s third. In the 71st minute, Kljestan sent a ball into the box which bounced off legs like a pinball. Utilizing his speed, Damari raced in to deposit the loose ball into the back of the net. It was his first goal in a Red Bull New York uniform.

The match settled down and eventually finished with the 1-1 scoreline. With the four points in two CCL matches, New York sits comfortably in first place of Group F. The Red Bulls return to action Sunday when they travel to DC. They will return to CCL action when they host Alianza on Thursday, September 15th at 8pm.