Daniel Royer and Isaac Brizuela leap high for the ball in the first half.  (Vincent Carchietta/USA TODAY Sports)

By Michael Lewis
FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

HARRISON, N.J. — The Red Bulls played their hearts out in their CONCACAF Champions League semifinal against Chivas.

However, they left the Red Bull Arena field with their hearts broken.

Their Mexican foes survived an onslaught of shots and possession Tuesday night to earn a berth in the confederation’s final. Chivas will play the winner of the Toronto FC-Club America series.

New York did everything but find the bac of the net in its scoreless draw with Chivas in the second leg as the Mexican side won the series, 1-0, by virtue of its 1-0 home win last Wednesday.

“It’s almost impossible, right, the way the game plays out,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said. “It’s almost impossible that you can somehow not find a way to score a goal and find a way to be so dangerous around the goal all night long but not make that final play.

“It’s obviously disappointing but you know, I told the team after the game that I was very proud of them, very proud of them. I thought they established themselves in the series as the better team, a very good team. And that this group has a really bright future.”

The match was arguably the most exciting 0-0 tie in the 23-year history of the Red Bulls.

“I told them I would go down swinging with them, any day, any day,” Marsch said. “It’s a bitter pill to swallow right now. We had our hopes very high that we can push it over the hump and really, you know, make a run at this all the way to the end.”

Added Red Bulls center back Tim Parker: “I think that’s exactly how we wanted this game to go. We wanted to completely run the show and defensively we were sound, like you said. We gave away one shot, that’s really good. Offensively, we created chances. Sometimes it’s just not your day.”

The Red Bulls outshot Chivas, 20-0.

“No goal. There was no goal,” Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “Twenty shots, it doesn’t matter. I’d rather have one and score. Like I said, I don’t want to be too negative on the performance because it was a good performance but we’ve just got to create more and get more clear-cut chances.”

The Red Bulls got off to a rousing start, dominating every facet of the game but the scoreboard before a season-high crowd of 23,623.

Paced by Daniel Royer and Derrick Etienne, Jr., the hosts placed a ton of pressure on the Chivas net, frocing goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota to sweat and make a couple of vital saves.

Perhaps Cota’s most memorable stop came in the 10th minute as he produced a two-handed save on Sean Davis’ header, which was set up by Michael Murillo’s right-wing cross.

Cota, however, was far from perfect as he was caught for time wasting by referee Walter Lopez, who slapped him with a yellow card in the 28th minute. That meant Cota will miss the first match of the CCL final series against Toronto FC with a suspension.

Given a stay of execution in the opening half, Chivas showed some punch early on in the second half, pushing forward for the killer away goal. But the Red Bulls held fast.

In the 58th minute, Wright-Phillips, better known for scoring goals than creating them, send Etienne, Jr. a through ball out of thin air. The Red Bulls attacker managed to place a shot in the goal mouth before it was cleared by a defender.

Despite second-half substitute appearances by Alejandro Moreno Gamarra and Carlos Rivas to give the hosts some fresh legs, the Red Bulls could not find the equalizer.

Scoring Summary:

Misconduct Summary:
GUA – Rodolfo Cota (caution, time wasting) 28′
GUA – Edwin Hernandez (caution, argument) 88′

New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles ©; Michael Amir Murillo, Tim Parker, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence, Daniel Royer (Alejandro Romero Gamarra, 58′), Tyler Adams, Sean Davis, Florian Valot, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Derrick Etienne, Jr. (Carlos Rivas, 76′)


C.D. Guadalajara: Rodolfo Cota; Carlos Salcido ©, Edwin Hernandez, Isaac Brizuela, Oswaldo Alanis, Alan Pulido, Carlos Cisneros, Michael Perez, Orbelin Pineda, Rodolfo Pizarro, Jose de Jesus Godinez (Angel Zaldivar, 90+ 2′)


Referee: Walter Lopez
Assistant Referees: Juan Francisco Zumba, Osvaldo Luna
4th Official: Hector Rodriguez