Brian White races after the ball in the second half. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
HARRISON, N.J. — Despite sitting down five regulars, including leading goal-scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips, the Red Bulls managed to pull off a 1-0 victory over the Houston Dynamo and move atop the Eastern Conference and the Supporters Shield race at Red Bull Arena Wednesday night.
Rookie forward and Flemington, N.J. native Brian White scored the lone goal of the match in the 56th minute, his first goal in his first MLS match, as the Red Bulls extended their unbeaten streak to six matches (4-0-2).
The Red Bulls (17-6-4, 55 points) lead Atlanta United (16-4-6, 54), which has a game in hand, by a point while the Dynamo (28), Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup finalists, fell to 7-12-7. New York’s 17 victories is one shy of the franchise record set in 2015.
For only the third time in franchise history, New York wrapped up the month of August unbeaten. The Red Bulls finished the month at 4-0-2 with three clean sheets, all by goalkeeper Luis Robles. He has 10 shutouts this season.
Robles was one of six regulars head coach Chris Armas used. With the team in the midst of playing five games in 15 days and three matches in eight days, Armas decided to rotate some players and give them a much-needed rest. Among the missing from the Starting XI were Kemar Lawrence, Aaron Long, Marc Rzatkowski, Daniel Royer and BWP. In their place were Fidel Escobar, Connor Lade, Cristian Casseres Jr. Andreas Ivan and Brian White. Ivan and Casseres made their first starts.
White made the most of his first start to score his first MLS goal.
Following a Michael Amir Murillo cross into the box, Houston goalkeeper Chris Seitz deflected the ball back into play. Alex Muyl picked up the loose ball at the end line and sent it back into the box for White, who redirected it in for the eventual game winner.
White became the second New York Red Bulls II player to be called up and score his first career MLS goal in his first career MLS start, joining Ben Mines this season.
“He just has a knack,” Armas said of White. “Guys like him, guys like Wright-Phillips, these guys know how to feel the movements, sniff the plays out around the goal. When you even talk about him, it’s not the guy outside the box. He just knows how to show up at the right place, right time, and he works. He loves scoring. He’s a proven goal scorer, and now it starts the tally sheet in the MLS. When you see these guys come through, you never ignore the PDL goals. We didn’t. We didn’t ignore it in college, with USL.”