Bradley Wright-Phillips’ hot streak continued. If it hadn’t, New York may have been left Frisco, Tex., with a blush-worthy result. Finally taking advantage of a FC Dallas team that had played a man down since the 10th minute, New York’s leading scorer added his fifth in three games, finishing a 71st minute transition chance to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 victory at Toyota Stadium.
New York had played most of the match up a man after Dallas winger Je-Vaughn Watson sunk his studs into Tim Cahill’s left leg, earning a straight, only partially contested red card. Up until Wright-Phillips’ goal, however, the 10-man Toros had generated just as many chances as their guests, including a 59th minute penalty kick Blas Pérez saw saved by Luis Robles. Until Wright-Phillips’ chance, Dallas looked capable of bleeding out the 0-0 draw.
In the 71st minute, however, Thierry Henry helped deliver New York’s third win in four, his square ball across the middle of the Dallas area eschewing a golden chance to set up his teammate. Finishing past into the right of goal, Wright-Phillips ran the Red Bulls’ unbeaten streak to four, moving the team joint-top of the Eastern Conference.
It was New York’s first road win of the season, one that was more contentious than it needed to be. Lacking creativity for most of the game, the Red Bulls’ long shots and crosses allowed Dallas’s defense to sit in and conserve its energy. When the home team broke out, it used that conserved energy to create a near-penalty on Dax McCarty in the first half (Fabian Castillo was given a harsh yellow for diving). In the second, FCD got the call when Tim Cahill look down Danny Garcia only to see Robles come up big on Pérez.
In that sense, New York could have done more, but playing 11-on-10 for most of the match, the only points we can take from the match are fine ones. The Red Bulls need to stop conceding penalties (six, so far), while Dallas needs to keep its players on the field (three reds in their last two games), but those trends should smooth out over the course of a season.
Instead, New York can be happy with a valuable three points on the road and a place at the top of the West. Meanwhile Dallas, severely hampered by suspensions and injuries coming into the match, can move forward knowing it’s unlikely to spend so much time playing a man down.