Harrison, NJ (SportsNetwork.com) – Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the winning
tally in the 90th minute on Thursday as the New York Red Bulls knocked off
defending champions Sporting Kansas City, 2-1, at Red Bull Arena in the
Eastern Conference knockout round match.
Wright-Phillips has been the Red Bulls’ goal-scoring talisman all season,
equaling the league-record single-season mark with 27 during the regular
season and he continued his sizzling form with goals in the 77th and 90th
minutes to send the Red Bulls into the Eastern Conference semifinals, where
they will face D.C. United.
Thursday’s affair began in much the same fashion as the regular season finale
between the sides as New York had the better of the play, creating many
scoring chances, while the defending champions looked a little sluggish early
Despite being on the back foot for most of the first half, Sporting struck for
the opening salvo in the 53rd minute when Benny Feilhaber took the ball off
Dax McCarty in midfield and set sail the other way.
He slid a perfect ball into the path of Dominic Dwyer, who finished past New
York goalkeeper Luis Robles with an exceptional first-time strike.
New York responded well with a pair of good scoring chances and coach Mike
Petke made a crucial substitution in the 65th minute, sending forward Peguy
Luyindula on for Eric Alexander.
The hosts drew level in the 77th minute when Luyindula sent Thierry Henry away
down the left flank and he squared a nice ball to Wright-Phillips, who fired
it into the bottom right corner of the net.
It appeared the match would be heading to extra time, but Wright-Phillips
again came to the rescue of his team in the nick of time.
Luyindula got the winning play started with an excellent through ball down the
right flank to Ambrose Oyongo, who sent a looped cross way up into the air and
into the box.
By the time the ball came down, Wright-Phillips found himself in the perfect
spot for a glancing header into the bottom left corner past Sporting
goalkeeper Eric Kronberg.
New York moves on to face top-seeded United on Sunday at Red Bulla Arena,
while Sporting heads home to prepare for 2015.