Chicago goalkeeper Richard Sanchez walks dejectedly back to the net while Bradley Wright-Phillips celebrates the lone goal of the match. (Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports)
BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — The Red Bulls recorded a 1-0 victory over the reeling Chicago Fire to move within a point of idle Eastern Conference leader Atlanta United Saturday night.
Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips tallied the lone goal of the match in the 55th minute for the Red Bulls at Toyota Park.
The result left the Red Bulls (15-6-2, 47 points) breathing down the necks of Atlanta (14-4-6, 48), which doesn’t play again until Aug. 19, while 10th-place Chicago (6-14-5, 23) dropped its seventh consecutive match.
The Red Bulls became the first Major League Soccer team to reach 15 wins this season. They also are only three victories away from the club record, set in 2015.
Ironically, the lone goal was set up by confrontation of defensive midfielders, one current Red Bull, the other a former one.
Tyler Adams forced Dax McCarty to cough up the ball and the Wappinger Falls, N.Y. native quickly passed to Daniel Royer at the top of the penalty area. The Austrian midfielder found BWP, who tapped the ball past goalkeeper Richard Sanchez from close range.
The goal was another milestone in Wright-Phillips’s outstanding Red Bulls career.
It was his 101st MLS career goal as BWP moved past former Red Bulls forward Edson Buddle and into a tie with ex-New England Revolution striker Taylor Twellman for ninth place on the list.
He also became the first player in MLS history to score at 15 goals a year in five consecutive seasons.
Until that goal, the Red Bulls played down to their opposition. They dominated the early parts of the match before the Fire started to pick up some momentum and confidence late in the opening half.
Goalkeeper Luis Robles, who denied second-half sub Nemanja Nikolic, last season’s MLS Golden Boot winner, on a spectacular save on a chip-shot attempt in the 71st minute, recorded the shutout.
The Red Bulls continue their three-game road trip at Vancouver Whitecaps FC next Saturday.