|photo by Matt Kremkau
HARRISON, NJ - Red Bulls took the lead, then surrendered a pair of second-half goals in a ten-minute span due to defensive mistakes, giving CF Montreal a 2-1 victory at Red Bull Arena Saturday afternoon.
The Red Bulls started the match in the usual manner, pressing the Montreal defense early and often right from kickoff, out hustling them on every second ball. For the moment, Gerhard Struber's game plan was working well.
And it would nearly pay off in the 8th minute when CF Montréal midfielder and captain Victor Wanyama clumsily fouled Omir Fernandez and received a yellow card for his actions. The free kick taken shortly afterward by Lewis Morgan sailed high and wide to his right.
But Fernandez would not be denied. After taking a brilliant pass from Luquinhas, let loose a shot just outside the box. The ball deflected off Montréal defender Ismaël Koné and settled in the back of the net, giving the hosts the lead in the 14th minute.
In true Red Bulls fashion, the team stepped up their press and would have gotten the ball past the hapless Montréal goalkeeper Sebastian Breza for the second goal of the match if not for the heroic efforts of his teammate Kei Kamara, clearing two shots off the line, keeping the visitors within reach.
CF Montréal finally got a scoring chance in the 33rd minute off a counter started by Wanyama and almost finished by Djorde Mihailovic, but New York goalkeeper Carlos Coronel was there, making the save, with the ball bouncing off his outstretched left hand and kissed the post, and this time it was the hosts that needed to breathe a sigh of relief.
Luquinhas managed to dish the ball off over to forward Patryk Klimala who then skied the ball into the stands. A wasted scoring chance that drew agonizing groans from the home fans. Soccer is a game of opportunities. You make the most of them when it appear, and dearly pay the price when you don't. The Red Bulls simply didn't capitalize on any of them and left the door open for Montréal to make a comeback after the one hour mark of the match.
With CF Montréal hanging around, down by a goal, the Red Bulls defense, which had been stellar all afternoon, inexplicably fell asleep, as defender Alistair Johnson delivered a great cross over to an inexcusably unmarked Rudy Camacho. He took full advantage of that defensive mistake, heading the ball into the net to level the match in the 72nd minute.
And just like that, the advantage began to shift to the visitor's favor as Montréal pressed the attack looking to grab all three points on the road in front of a restless home crowd.
And the pivotal moment of the match came when Romell Quioto intercepted the ball from Carlos Coronel, who left his defensive area trying to keep the ball in play, but failed horribly, and as a result, found himself all alone on a breakaway thanks to the goalkeeper's gaffe. The Honduran forward didn't miss his opportunity to clinch the game-winning goal in the 81st minute, stunning the home crowd into silence.
The loss now leaves head coach Gerhard Struber and his team searching for answers as they remain winless at home after three matches. They will find no time to dwell on this latest loss as FC Dallas comes into Red Bull Arena looking to extend the misery next Saturday evening.