BY: The New York Red Bulls
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. (October 25, 2015) – The New York Red Bulls claimed the organization’s second Supporters’ Shield, and second in the last three seasons, on Sunday night with a 2-1 win at Toyota Park. New York finishes with the best record in MLS, 18-10-6. Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Kljestan scored to see New York to a first victory at Chicago since 2005, and just the fourth victory in the Windy City in franchise history.
Bradley Wright-Phillips opened the scoring with his 17th of the season in the eighth minute, benefitting from the work of Kljestan and Sal Zizzo. Kljestan’s corner from the right side was headed on by Zizzo at the near post, falling perfectly for Wright-Phillips, who found himself alone in front of goal and swept the ball by Chicago’s Alec Kann.
With the goal Wright-Phillips tied a league record for most goals over two seasons. With 27 markers in his 2014 MLS Golden Boot-winning season, Wright-Phillips has 44 goals over the last two seasons, tying him with Stern John, who scored 26 for Columbus in 1998, and followed that up with 18 tallies in 1999.
The assist was Kljestan’s 14th of the season, tying him in the franchise record books with Eduardo Hurtado and Thierry Henry for most assists in a MLS regular season. Hurtado recorded 14 in 1998, while Henry reached that mark for the Red Bulls in 2014. It was the second assist of the season for Zizzo.
Kljestan got a goal of his own in the 35th minute, converting a penalty kick that was won by Mike Grella. The goal was Kljestan’s eighth of the season, and fifth from the penalty spot. Kljestan recorded a PK goal and assist in each of the three matches against Chicago this year, and finishes the regular season with a run of 19 points (six goals, 13 assists) in the final 19 games after recording two goals and one assist in his first 14 contests.
Chicago pulled one back in the 78th minute, with forward Gilberto connecting solidly on a scissor kick in front of goal, leaving Red Bulls’ keeper Luis Robles no chance to react.
Robles and the back line dug in after the goal and New York was able to overcome a late surge from Chicago. Robles made four saves on the evening, earning his 50th career win for New York to extend his own franchise record. It was also the 106th consecutive league start for Robles, as he continues his iron man streak.
The Red Bulls will hold home-field advantage throughout the 2015 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, and would also host MLS Cup, should it advance through the Eastern Conference. New York awaits the results of the knockout round, played this Wednesday and Thursday, to learn its matchup for the Eastern Conference semifinals. New York will travel to the lowest remaining seed to open the conference semifinals on Sunday, November 1. New York will return home to host the second leg of the series on Sunday, November 8.