Luis Robles secured his first goal of the season while playing in his 142nd consecutive game. (Vincent Carchietta/USA Today Sports).
By Michael Lewis
Front Row Soccer Editor
HARRISON, N.J. — With only three goals in as many matches this season entering their home opener against the Colorado Rapids, the Red Bulls know that beggars couldn’t be choosers.
So for the second week in a row, the deciding goal of a Red Bulls’ win turned out to be an own goal.
Last Sunday in Atlanta, Anton Walkes knocked the ball into his net in the 82nd minute to break a 1-1 deadlock and lift New York to a 2-1 victory over the expansion Atlanta United in the season opener for both teams.
At ice-cold Red Bull Arena Saturday, Eric Miller did the honors in the waning minutes of the opening half in what turned into a 1-0 win for the home side.
Goalkeeper Luis Robles, who broke Chris Klein’s record for consecutive starts with his 142nd appearance Saturday, registered his first shutout of the MLS season. Robles’ lone save came in the 72nd minute as he denied Dominique Badji’s effort.
Despite the early heroics by Colorado goalkeeper Tim Howard, the Red Bulls managed to grab a 1-0 halftime lead.
Playing against the organization for whom he last starred for in 2003, Howard did just about everything but stand on his head to keep a clean sheet in the opening 45 minutes.
He denied Bradley Wright-Phillips twice, first with a spectacular kick save with the reigning MLS Golden Boot winner in point-blank range on the left side of the penalty area in the second minute and then again from 12 yards from close-range in the 23rd minute.
Inbetween those stops, the 38-year-old goalkeeper from North Brunswick, N.J. denied center back Aaron Long’s header in the seventh minute and Daniel Royer’s attempt by diving to his left in the 13th minute.
Finally, the Red Bulls found a way to solve the veteran keeper, thanks to an own goal by Miller in the 45th minute. Felipe started the scoring sequence with a pass to right back Sal Zizzo, who sent a ball toward Royer in the center of the box. Royer never got to the ball, but it went off Miller and past Howard into the goal for a one-goal advantage.
Howard picked up where he left off in the second half, thwarting BWP a third time in the 73rd minute. This time he denied the English forward from yards on the left side of the penalty area to keep the Rapids within equalizing range.
Fredrik Gulbrandsen, who joined the team on loan from sister club Red Bull Salzburg Friday, made his Red Bulls debut as he came on for Wright-Phillips in the 88th minute.