Bradley Wright-Phillips connected for his third goal of the season to give the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead. (Logan Bowles/USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
HARRISON, N.J. — For the first time this Major League Soccer season, the Red Bulls looked like, well, the Red Bulls of old, the Red Bulls of 2016.
And for the first time this season, the Red Bulls scored multiple goals without needing an own goal to pad their total.
Using a free-flowing attack, the Red Bulls got their swagger back in a 2-0 victory over D.C. United at Red Bull Arena Saturday night.
Alex Muyl and Bradley Wright-Phillips struck for second-half goals as New York ended its four-game winless streak (0-3-1). The Red Bulls improved to 3-3-1 while D.C., trying to make it back-to-back wins over New York teams (it defeated New York City FC, 2-1, last week), dropped to 2-3-1.
Goalkeeper Luis Robles, who stopped Lamar Neagle’s laser of a shot in the 87th minute, secured his third clean sheet of the season before an announced crowd of 20,104.
It turned out to be a frustrating first half for the hosts as they dominated possession a whopping 63.4 fpercent but could not find the net.
Wright-Phillips started the evening off with a shot that sailed into the stans in the sixth minute.
In the 21st minute, coach Jesse Marsch’s heart must have skipped a beat or two when Wright-Phillips, Muyl and a United player collided at midfield. Muyl seemed to be the most shaken up as he was taken off to the sidelines before returning to the fray.
Muyl came close in the 24th minute when his seven-yard header off a Sacha Kljestan free kick bounded wide right.
Daniel Royer made Bill Hamid work as the goalkeeper made a diving save on his one-bounce header only a minute later.
And in the 42nd minute it seemed Muyl took a split-second too long to line up his 15-yard shot that Hamid easily saved.
Finally, in the second half, the Red Bulls broke out.
Only 40 seconds into the half, Muyl headed home a Kljestan corner kick off the hands of Hamid for his first goal of the season.
BWP doubled the advantage in the 62nd minute. Felipe slipped the ball to the English striker, who had tons of space on the right side of the penalty area, nutmegging Hamid for his third goal of the year.
Derrick Etienne, Jr., who came on for Daniel Royer in the 70th minute, was denied by a diving Hamid in the 84th.