Red Bulls’ Bradley Wright-Phillips, Tyler Adams and Marc Rzatkowski celebrate their win. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. — Marc Rzatkowski scored twice within a seven-minute span late in the second half to turn around a one-goal deficit into a 3-2 victory for the Red Bulls over Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena Saturday night.
Rzatkowski, who replaced Alejandro Romero Gamarra in the 60th minute before 16,793 spectators, struck in he 72nd and 79th minutes as Chris Armas registered his first win as Red Bulls head coach.
The Red Bulls (35 points), who are 4-0-1 after a loss, improved to 11-5-2 while SKC (9-5-6, 33) suffered its fourth consecutive defeat.
Asked why he decided to replace Kaku with Rzatkowski, Armas replied, “Marc, he had a great week of training. In every session, he brought energy and he always has quality, but he showed a lot of life this week. Going into the game, we thought that he would be a guy we’d rely on in some capacity.”
The hosts grabbed a 1-0 lead in the fourth minute. Bradley Wright-Phillips latched onto a through ball by Kaku” and chipped the ball into the net. The goal was had been called offside, but the Video Assistant Referee reversed the decision.
The goal was BWP’s 98th in MLS competition as Kaku recorded his league-high 11th assist.
“I think what makes Bradley Wright-Phillips a special player is that he’s a special person,” Armas said. “You know, he’s an outlier in terms of — I just don’t think you see attackers and goal scorers with the same work rate and commitment to the team, and he putts the team first. You know, No. 9s and humble, does it go together? With him, he’s so for the team.
“And he’s a winner. He’s just a winner. So you can see, he can will himself to goals. He can will the team to victory. He drives this team.”
Four mintues later, SKC equalized as Johnny Russell put home Graham Zusi’s cross. Roger Espinoza lifted the hosts into a 2-1 lead in the 51st minute with a shot from distance.