New York Red Bulls 2-1 Sporting KC: Wright-Phillips’ late winner shocks reigning champs

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One game in 100 words: The MLS playoffs had already kicked off when the Vancouver Whitecaps succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to FC Dallas, but when the Red Bulls faced Sporting KC in Harrison, NJ., there was no shortage of thrills. In the first half, New York hung onto possession, dictated the pace and style of play, and, for the most part kept Sporting attackers at bay. However, Peter Vermes’ squad converted the first goal, putting their clinical finishing abilities on display to spur NY into a sort of desperation mode. Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips assaulted the net, but squandered opportunities wide right, left and over the top. After the score had been drawn level, the Red Bulls kept pressing forward in the attack. Cue the dramatic 90th-minute finish. Utterly spectacular.

 

Goals

New York: Bradley Wright-Phillips 77’, 90′

Kansas City: Dominic Dwyer 54’

 

Moments that mattered

53’ — Sporting pounces on turnover — It wasn’t the prettiest start for Sporting Kansas City’s offense; regardless, they were able to take advantage of simple instance of sloppy play by New York when Henry forced a pass in the middle of pitch that Benny Feilhaber broke up and quickly advanced into his opponent’s end on the break. Then, the former New England Revolution standout slid an crafty through ball to Dominic Dwyer, who sped into the penalty area to apply the close-range finish.

77’— Wright-Phillips gets RBNY on the board — This conversion was only a matter of time. The Red Bulls sustained their attack and relentlessly for the equalizer. Peguy Luyindula started the sequence by locating Henry with a pinpoint ball toward the end line, affording the former Arsenal superstar space to nick a low, short cross to Wright-Phillips near the six-yard area. The league’s top goal scorer would have no issues burying his effort with a rapid toe poke, sending Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg helplessly to his left.

90’ — MLS Golden Boot winner nails it — After his first goal to equalize the match, timeliness by Wright-Phillips and the entire New York team, for that matter, ended the contest in a breathtaking fashion. Peguy Luyindula skipped a pass down the right wing for Ambroise Oyongo Bitolo, and he then whipped a high-arching cross, which appeared non-threatening at first, toward the six-yard box. Nevertheless, Wright-Phillips shook the defender responsible for marking him, and positioned himself in perfect position to bury the header just inside the far post. Red Bull stadium erupted, basically confirming their squad’s victory in the face of Sporting’s inability to generate offense.

 

Lineups

New York: Luis Robles; Richard Eckersley (Ambroise Oyongo Bitolo 75’), Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya, Roy Miller; Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander (Peguy Luyindula 65’), Lloyd Sam, Tim Cahill (Connor Lade 90’+4’), Thierry Henry; Bradley-Wright Phillips

Kansas City: Eric Kronberg; Kevin Ellis, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Jorge Claros, Benny Feilhaber; C.J. Sapong (Jacob Peterson 81’), Dominic Dwyer, Graham Zusi