|photo by Matt Kremkau
Thanks in part to an own goal by Matt Polster, the Red Bulls were given a rare but deserved win in Gillette Stadium, their first regular-season victory since 2014. The Red Bulls have now won three straight matches on the road to open the season, something that the franchise has never done in its history.
With the FIFA International break now in the rear-view mirror for now until the 2022 World Cup in Qatar this fall, two of MLS' original teams, the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution renew their annual regular-season hostilities for the 80th time at Gillette Stadium on Saturday evening.
The reigning Supporter Shield winners are looking to right the ship after being ousted from the Socialbank CONCACAF Champions League, then dropping a 3-1 decision against MLS expansion side Charlotte FC on March 19.
Meanwhile, the Red Bulls are looking to stay among the leaders at the top of the Eastern Conference table by avoiding a loss at the hands of their rivals for the ninth straight time. The last time New York was able to get a victory at Gillette Stadium was back on June 8, 2014. They have not won a match in Foxborough since.
The Red Bulls came very close to reaching the scoreboard first when in the 29th minute Frankie Amaya let loose a blistering shot outside the box headed to the back of the net, but the strong fingertips of goalkeeper Brad Knighton kept the match scoreless.
Before long, the match got physical and testy as rough tackles began flying. As a result, three players from New York, midfielders Dru Yearwood, Frankie Amaya, and forward Tom Barlow were hit with cautions, and only defender Henry Kessler for New England as the action-packed half came to an end.
It was clear from the outset that both goalkeepers were on their games that evening. In the 63rd minute, the Revolution lead a swift attack with Emmanuel Boating getting off a pass to an onrushing Sebastian Lletget, but his final shot was neatly broken up by New York goalkeeper Carlos Coronel, making the save as he came off his line.
Head coach Gerhard Struber gambled by keeping Frankie Amaya in the match while carrying a yellow card in the second half. The gambit failed as Amaya pick up a second yellow in the 73rd minute, thus ending his evening with an ejection and missing next week's match with CF Montreal.
Carlos Coronel's reflexes came up huge for the Red Bulls with what would be considered the save of the night as he denied a point-blank header from Sebastian Lletget in the 81st minute, still keeping the match deadlocked as the Revolution began to press for the winning goal.
That save would prove to be the most pivotal moment of the match as forward Ashley Fletcher darted down the field and sent the ball straight across through the mouth of the goal, defender Andrew Farrell tried to clear the ball, but it bounced off Matt Polster into the back of the net for the match's only goal in the 90th minute.
Adam Buska received a second yellow card for a bad foul on Sean Nealis four minutes into stoppage time as the final whistle blew shortly afterward, capping a wild evening as the visitors get all three points after losing eight straight matches previously. Despite the win, they will be without the services of midfielder Frankie Amaya, who will be serving a one-match ban, pending an appeal from the team to the league on Monday.