The New York Red Bulls earned a surprise 0-2 away win against Tijuana in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal series. The visitors put just three shots on target throughout the game – compared to 13 on target for Tijuana – but they made their opportunities count as they picked up two valuable away goals.
The night started off brightly for the Red Bulls, who took the lead in just the 9th minute. Damián Pérez attempted to cut out a cross, but only managed to send the ball into the path of Bradley Wright-Phillips, who made it 0-1.
Despite the deficit, the Xolos were soon dominating the match, with the lion’s share of possession and chance after chance. But Luis Robles had a great game in goal for the Red Bulls as he made save after save to preserve the shutout.
Tijuana did get the ball into the net once – in the 63rd minute – but the would-be goal was controversially disallowed for offside.
Shortly after that, the Red Bulls shocked the Estadio Caliente with a second goal. In the 67th minute, Wright-Phillips took the ball into the box, cut around his defender, and fired from just inside the area to make it 0-2.
Tijuana kept the pressure on but were never able to reduce the deficit; a frustrating night for the hosts saw tempers flare several times, with a few shoving matches including one that erupted right after the final whistle.
With the 0-2 win, the Red Bulls will advance with a win, a draw, or a one-goal loss in next week’s second leg. A 0-2 Tijuana win would send the game to extra time, while the Xolos must score at least three goals in a win to advance outright.
Tijuana: Manuel Gibrán Lajud, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Pablo Aguilar, Damián Pérez, Omar Mendoza, Miler Bolaños, Damián Musto, Ignacio Rivero (Luis Chavez 70′), José García, Mateus Goncalves (Rubio Rubin 45′), Luis Mendoza (Víctor Malcorra 92′).
New York: Luis Robles, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence, Michael Murillo, Sean Davis, Tyler Adams (Connor Lade 80′), Mark Rzatkowski (Florian Valot 42′), Bradley Wright-Phillips, Daniel Royer (Derrick Etienne 80′), Alex Muyl.