Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the Red Bulls’ lone goal in the eighth minute. (Kamil Krzaczynski/USA TODAY Sports)
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Red Bulls took an early lead, but they could not hold it and settled for a 1-1 draw with the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park Saturday afternoon.
The tie hurt the Red Bulls’ quest to catch the Chicago Fire in the standings as the teams shared the points, although the team had secured a road point for the second consecutive week.
“I think a draw is a fair result,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said. “It’s always disappointing when you get the lead and you manage to give it up.”
Still, there was some disappointment that the Red Bulls gave away the lead.
“It felt like a playoff game,” captain Sacha Kljestan said. “I think the crowd was into it, teams pretty good, both teams made it hard on each other. It definitely was not an easy game. From a physical standpoint, a lot of 50-50 battles, a lot of things like that. Overall we are disappointed because we had a good start, that is what we really wanted and we gave up a second-half goal but the reaction after the goal was pretty good to ride out the end of the game and actually have the better of the game in the last 10 minutes.”
Bradley Wright-Phillips lifted the visitors into an eight-minute lead, tapping in a ball that had been headed across the face of goal by Kljestan for his 15th goal of the year. Fidel Escobar started the play with a cross to Kljestan, earning his first MLS point after joining New York on loan in August.
“Good start. We wanted a good start,” Wright-Phillips said. “We accomplished that and we managed to get a goal. Anything after the goal, we didn’t kick on from there. We didn’t possess enough and keep the game on our terms. Towards the end I think we were very positive. We tried to get a goal and we were unlucky not to.”
BWP became the second MLS player to score 15 or more goals in four consecutive seasons, tying former LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane.
“It is nice. It shows consistency,” he said. “It’s something I’ve really worked on. When I was younger, I wasn’t too consistent. I don’t think people knew what they were going to get for me. To accomplish that is nice. It shows consistency. It’s a pleasure to be among those names.”
Kljestan secured his 14th assist of the season on his 32nd birthday.
“Great ball in from Fidel,” he said. “I just tried to head it back across and Bradley kept himself onside and was there to poke it in. Birthdays I feel after the age of 21, they’re not that fun anymore. I’m 32 now but I still feel like I’m 23 and I have a lot left to give. So we’ll see.”
The Fire, however, equalized in the 66th minute behind Nemanja Nikolic’s score past keeper Luis Robles.
NY – Bradley Wright-Phillips 15 (Sacha Kljestan, Fidel Escobar) 8′
CHI – Nemanja Nikolic 17 (Michael de Leeuw, Johan Kappelhof) 66′
NY – Sal Zizzo (caution, foul) 31′
CHI – Jonathan Campbell (caution, foul) 57′
CHI – Arturo Alvarez (caution, foul) 75′
CHI – Michael de Leeuw (caution, unsporting behavior) 76′
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles; Connor Lade, Kemar Lawrence, Aaron Long, Fidel Escobar, Sal Zizzo (Muhamed Keita, 85′), Felipe, Alex Muyl (Gonzalo Veron, 69′), Sacha Kljestan, Tyler Adams, Bradley Wright-Phillips
TOTAL SHOTS: 5; SHOTS ON GOAL: 2; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDE: 7; CORNER KICKS: 5; SAVES: 2
Chicago Fire: Matt Lampson; Matt Polster, Johan Kappelhof, Jonathan Campbell, Brandon Vincent, Juninho (Drew Conner, 79′), Dax McCarty, Michael de Leeuw, Luis Solignac, David Accam (Djordje Mihailovic, 86′), Nemaja Nikolic (David Arshakyan, 90’+5)
TOTAL SHOTS: 14; SHOTS ON GOAL: 4; FOULS: 14; OFFSIDE: 2; CORNER KICKS: 7; SAVES: 1
Referee: Alan Kelly
Assistant Referees: Matthew Nelson, Eric Weisbrod
Fourth Official: Daniel Radford
VAR: Jair Marrufo