Bradley Wright-Phillips, New York Red Bulls
(Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Behind a scintillating performance from Carlos Rivas, the New York Red Bulls put together a complete game in their MLS home opener on Saturday night.

  • New York Red Bulls: 4 (1-0)
  • Portland Timbers: 0 (0-2)
  • Red Bull Arena
  • RBNY Goals: Ben Mines (1), Bradley Wright-Phillips (1), Carlos Rivas (2)
  • Shots: RBNY 20, POR 12
  • Shots on Goal: RBNY 9,  Por 1
  • Possession: RB NY 43.6 percent, POR 56.4 percent
  • Boxscore

RBNY Dominates Offensively and Defensively

The New York Red Bulls and Portland Timbers, despite a delayed start, played an entertaining and competitive match on Saturday night.

Within the first 15 minutes, the teams were scoreless. The Red Bulls recorded two shots (one on goal) and the Timbers zero. The Timbers led the first minutes in possession and passes.

GOAL 17th min: In the 18th minute, 17-year-old Benjamin Mines scored off an attack, which started at midfield. Etienne Jr. passed the ball to Kaku on the left side into the 18-yard box. Kaku then passed a ground ball to the far post to meet Benjamin Mines for his first MLS and Red Bulls goal.

That goal put Mines in some rarefied air.

In the 31st minute, Luis Robles faced a breakaway from Samuel Armenteros, who shot wide because of Robles’ superb positioning.

Throughout the rest of the first half RBNY clearly showed that they were the home, dominant team. Physically and opportunistically, RBNY outworked and outshot the visiting team.

Halftime Stats

Score: NY 1 – Por 0 (Ben Mines, 17 min.)
Shots: NY 4 – Por 3
Shots on Goal: NY 3 – Por 0
Possession: NY 47.2 percent – POR 52.8 percent

In the second-half the floodgates opened as the New York Red Bulls scored three goals in less than 20 minutes. Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 77th minute, Carlos Rivas in the 80th minute and again in the 93rd, sealed the win and three points Saturday night.

GOAL 77th min: Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a header off of a corner kick by Vincent Bezecourt, which was flicked on by Sean Davis at the near post.

GOAL 80th min: From a counter-attack, Bezecourt again assisted the scoresheet as he sent a long diagonal pass to Carlos Rivas on the right flank. Rivas then sprinted toward the Timbers net where he found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Jake Gleeson. Rivas slipped the ball on the ground far-post, which put RBNY up 3-0 with ten minutes left to play.

GOAL 93rd min: Wright-Phillips found himself with the ball on the top of the Timbers 18 yard-box on another counter-attack. He turned and passed to Connor Lade who sprinted down the left side into the box.

Lade then touched the ball one-time to find Rivas slipped in between the Portland defense. As a result, Rivas calmly placed the ball into the back of the net at the far-post.

RBNY did not start bigger names such as Bradley Wright-Phillip and Tyler Adams to provide them rest for Champions League play. Consequently, RBNY played with a lot of depth, youth, and pace as they thwarted the attempts of the Portland Timbers.

Most noteworthy, both the RBNY attack, which scored four goals and the defense, which kept a shutout, deserve credit for this win.

This game sent a statement to the rest of MLS that RBNY is Red (having played in the new all-red kit) and that they are a force to reckon with in the 2018 MLS season.

Next MLS matchups: RBNY away vs. Real Salt Lake (3/17); Timbers away v. FC Dallas (3/24).

Chris Sudol is a former college soccer player who now avidly supports the New York Red Bulls, Arsenal, and Barcelona, among many other soccer teams.