|photo by Matt Kremkau
HARRISON, NJ - Facundo Torres' early goal was all that Orlando City needed to stymie the Red Bulls once again as they grabbed a much-needed 1-0 victory on the road at a stunned Red Bull Arena on Saturday night.
The two sides have met again since the U.S. Open Cup semifinal, a horrific 5-1 loss that has angered the team and supporters alike. After earning a draw on the road against hated rival D.C. United, they return home to "right the ship" for the stretch run for the playoffs with nine matches left in the regular season. Defender Kyle Duncan returns to the Red Bulls on loan from Belgian club K.V. Oostende and made a start for the team tonight.
However, 17 minutes in, the visitors struck first. Facundo Torres, on a tremendous overlapping run from a counter-attack, took the ball from Junior Urso and blasted a shot from a difficult angle that first deflected off goalkeeper Carlos Coronel but wound up in the back of the net.
Red Bulls tried to wake up their listless offense in the 38th minute when John Tolkin delivered a pass over to Lewis Morgan, but his shot was blocked by the Orlando City defense. The ball bounced back over to Morgan, but his volley attempt went over the crossbar and into the seats, drawing anguished groans from the supporters in attendance.
The first half ended with the Red Bulls registering not a single shot on goal. For a team with one of the highest expected goals in the league, the listless offense has been concerning for those following the team. Disturbing even still the static off-the-ball movement that has stalled this once-dynamic offense.
As the second half began, Orlando City, holding a one-goal lead on the road, had a simple yet effective plan: Slow down the match, bunker, and counter. Red Bulls looked to push more of their midfielders higher, trying to generate some offense, especially in the final third, which they have lacked throughout the season.
No matter how many chances the Red Bulls could muster as the match dragged on, Orlando City had a defensive answer to keep them off the scorboard. Of course the Red Bulls' futile offensive efforts didn't help matters.
And by the time the final whistle was blown, Orlando City walked off the Red Bulls Arena pitch with a massive victory on the road, while the Red Bulls now search for answers on the road, this time against Atlanta United SC on Wednesday night.