The week-in, week-out results haven’t been overwhelming, but group them all together and you have a team that’s now leading the Supporters’ Shield race. After their 1-0 win this evening at Red Bull Arena, that’s where New York sit, a four-game winning streak leaving Mike Petke’s team one point clear at the top of the league.
Credit the first year coach for getting his team re-focused after Aug. 25th’s loss at Chivas USA, with wins over D.C. United, Houston, and Toronto preceding today’s 1-0 over Dallas. But to get today’s result, New York needed some unexpected help from FCD midfielder Erick, whose inexplicable play of a Jonny Steele cross made his 76th minute own goal the decider. As you’ll see in the highlights, above, it was one of the most beguiling touches you’ll ever see, with some kind of lack of balance, spasm, or brain cramp leading to New York’s only goal.
To New York’s credit, they were the slightly better team throughout, but there are a number of games you saw that about a team can’t claim more than a point. On Sunday, Red Bull needed some unexpected help from a particularly generous source.
With the result, New York are now three points clear of Sporting KC in the East. Still, the only win they have over a playoff team since Aug. 3’s 3-2 at Sporting Park is their victory over the then-collapsing Dynamo. In that sense, Red Bull’s rise hasn’t been particularly impressive, even if all the points count the same.
When they visit West-leading Seattle next Sunday, we’ll get a better idea of what Petke’s team’s capable of, but until then, the Red Bulls have the league’s second best attack, a defense that’s allowing 1.20 goals per game, and the most points in Major League Soccer.