Bradley Wright-Phillips and his teammates had a difficult time finding space to shot against Chivas. (Photo by Matthew Levine)
GUADALAJARA, Mexico — For the first time in the competition, the Red Bulls learned how the other side lives in the CONCACAF Champions League as they dropped a 1-0 decision to Chivas in the first leg of their semifinal series Wednesday night.
Ten-man New York was forced to chase most of the match at Estadio Akron and will be under pressure to score at least one goal in the second leg back home next week.
After four positive results in CCL action (3-0-1), the Red Bulls tasted defeat for the first time in the knockout round.
Isaác Brizuela scored the lone goal of the encounter in the 26th minute.
The result turned out to be quite costly for New York, which will have two players sitting for the second leg at Red Bull Arena Tuesday as midfielder Alex Muyl and center back Aurelien Collin earned their second yellow cards of the tournament. Collin was given his marching orders by referee John Pitti in the 73rd minute, picking up his second yellow of the match after tackling Alan Pulido.
Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch deployed a more defensive-minded Starting XI, using three center backs — Aaron Long, Collin and Tim Parker — and Kemar Lawrence (left) and Michael Amir Murillo (right) as wingbacks.
The Goats connected for the lone goal of the opening half in the 26th minute on a sequence in which Rodolfo Pizarro intercepted Tyler Adams pass at midfield. Pizarro started a quick counterattack, feeding Brizuela, who beat goalkeeper Luis Robles from atop of the penalty area.
Robles, who stood on his head in the Red Bulls’ 2-0 win in the quarterfinals in Tijuana, tested but once in the first half as he punched away Alan Pulido’s attempt in the 23rd minute.
Chivas held striker Bradley Wright-Phillips in check for most of the match. Seconds into the final half, the Englishman tried a shot from distance that missed its mark. In the 47th minute, BWP was pushed down in the penalty area, but he could not sell the play as a foul to Pitti.
The Red Bulls thought a penalty kick should have been awarded in the 60th minute, when the ball hit Chivas defender Carlos Cisneros in the left hand in the box, but no call was made.
Goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota wasn’t tested much, but made a vital stop in the 79th minute, when he dove at the top of the box to deny Wright-Phillips.
The hosts did an excellent job of closing up passing lanes and denying the ball to Wright-Phillips.
GUA – Isaac Brizuela (Rodolfo Pizarro) 26′
NY – Alex Muyl (caution, argument) 21′
GUA – Jair Pereira (caution, unsporting behavior) 43′
NY – Aurelien Collin (caution, unsporting behavior) 44′
NY – Aurelien Collin (ejection, second yellow) 73′
GUA – Rodolfo Pizarro (caution unsporting behavior) 83′
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles ©; Michael Amir Murillo, Aurelien Collin, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence, Daniel Royer (Derrick Etienne, Jr., 76′), Tyler Adams, Sean Davis, Alex Muyl (Florian Valot, 61′), Bradley Wright-Phillips
TOTAL SHOTS: 5; SHOTS ON GOAL: 1; FOULS: 21; OFFSIDE: 0; CORNER KICKS: 2; SAVES: 2
C.D. Guadalajara: Rodolfo Cota; Carlos Cisneros, Edwin Hernandez (Gael Sandoval, 77′), Jair Pereira ©, Oswaldo Alanis, Alan Pulido (Jose Macias, 82′), Isaac Brizuela, Michael Perez, Orbelin Pineda, Rodolfo Pizarro, Jose de Jesus Godinez
TOTAL SHOTS: 6; SHOTS ON GOAL: 3; FOULS: 17; OFFSIDE: 3; CORNER KICKS: 4; SAVES: 1
Referee: John Pitti
Assistant Referees: Gabriel Victoria, Christian Ramirez
4th Official: Kimbell Ward