Sandy, UT (SportsNetwork.com) – Red Bull New York will return to league action on Wednesday with a trip to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake.
The Red Bulls have not featured in a regular season contest since squandering two points in a 1-1 draw with the San Jose Earthquakes on July 19, but the club enjoyed a 1-0 victory over Arsenal in a friendly match at the weekend as Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his incredible scoring rate by nabbing the lone goal.
“It was good, I think Arsenal, obviously it’s just their second game and they’re getting their fitness,” Wright-Phillips said after the match. “We showed them what MLS is about. I think we done well.”
International friendlies remain an important part of the American soccer landscape. Not only can MLS players demonstrate the league’s quality, but they allow coaches to tweak strategies while affording promising players – like RBNY’s Ambroise Oyongo – a chance to gain greater experience.
“Listen, Oyongo is a player within the next two years that big things can happen for him, globally,” RBNY head coach Mike Petke said after the friendly. “He’s a phenomenal young talent that seems to be improving on a weekly basis, so it was good to see him, took an experiment, put him on the left midfield, and he did very well with it.
“If you look at it, we’re at home at Red Bull Arena and it was almost an away match today, a lot of Arsenal supporters, so we wanted to play this game a bit like we’re going to approach Salt Lake on the road, which is a good shape, sitting in and look to counter a little bit, and when it opens up hopefully we have some good possession and I think that’s a good thing to see today leading into Salt Lake.”
Salt Lake, meanwhile, is coming off of a 3-1 defeat of the Montreal Impact, a result that saw Olmes Garcia score twice in the final 20 minutes to secure the victory.
“He was fantastic – threatening and quality,” said RSL head coach Jeff Cassar. “The two goals were world-class. The final ball to him was fantastic. It’s what we want from him. He gave a fantastic performance, and he also worked very hard on the defensive end. Just a great night from him.”
Cassar also issued plaudits to midfield stalwart Luke Mulholland, who got Salt Lake off the mark with the opening goal of the match.
“I thought Luke was a beast,” said the RSL boss. “He was taking a lot of punishment, and he kept running and going. It looked like he was getting stronger and stronger throughout the game, so I give a ton of credit to Luke. His finish was fantastic – he wanted to make sure he kept it on frame. Again, on both sides of the ball, he was great tonight.”