Patryk Klimala celebrates his goal. (Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
Needing a win to keep their slim playoff hopes alive, the Red Bulls got much more than they bargained for, playing their most complete game of the season, surprising 10-man Inter Miami CF with a 4-0 victory in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. Friday night.
Fabio scored on either side of halftime and Patryk Klimala and Omir Fernandez added goals to power the visitors to only their second road win and their best game of the season of the season.
The Red Bulls (7-11-5, 26 points), who had won but once in their 11 previous matches, remained in 11th place in the Eastern Conference, but they earned three valuable points with 11 matches remaining in the MLS regular season. Eighth-place Miami (32) dropped to 9-10-5. The top seven teams qualify for the postseason.
“We have a unique playing style and that requires everyone to be on the same page for 90 minutes,” Red Bulls head coach Gerard Struber said. “I think it is really important for our group, especially being a younger team to stick with our principles, to stick with the process to show up every day with the right intensity that when our backs are against wall, it is important to show who we really are.
“To have a game like this, it gives us a lot of momentum going forward. Again, it is important to be realistic and honest at this point, we cannot get too far ahead of ourselves, but I think it is huge for our group and the way that we wanted to approach these tough moments and again, it just gives us a lot of confidence going forward. I could not be happier for the big performances from so many guys tonight.”
Goalkeeper Carlos Coronel earned the clean sheet, though he wasn’t tested. New York outshot Miami, 26-2, as the south Florida faithful at DRV PNK Stadium booed their heroes after the final whistle.
“We’re going to allow them 24 hours to feel sorry for themselves and then on Sunday morning when we go back in training we’ve just got to get back at it,” Miami head coach Phil Neville said. “We’ve got to get back on the treadmill, and work and run and fight even harder than we did tonight. I’m sure that this is just a one off because of the fact that we’ve been on a good run. The confidence is high, we’ve got momentum. There’s going to be plenty of twists and turns left in this season.”
The Red Bulls played more like the host side than the visitors as they were on attack most of the time and dominated the opening half. Combined with an undisciplined Miami squad that seemingly fouled at the wrong time, New York surged to a 2-0 halftime lead.
“The plan was the same every game the last three games,” Klimala said. “We just had to keep going with our pressing, our mentality. The last two to three games was not good enough. This is what we spoke about after the last game. We made up ourselves and we did this today everybody was motivated before the game. I think you could see this during the whole game.”
Klimala struck for his team-best sixth goal of the season in the 18th minute. Wikelman Carmona found his teammate running down the left side as he fired a shot to the near post past goalkeeper Nick Marsman.
G O A L
Wiki with the perfect pass, Patryk with the perfect finish.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) September 17, 2021
In the 31st minute, Tom Edwards started the second scoring sequence with a throw-in. The ball bounced in the area before a charging Fernandez headed it past Marsman from close range for his first goal of the season.
The @NewYorkRedBulls are firing on all cylinders. 🔥
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) September 17, 2021
Miami, which was awarded three yellow cards in the first half, did not help itself when Jorge Figal was given his marching orders for an off the ball foul in the 38th minute.
The Red Bulls added to their spoils in the 65th minute as Fabio headed in a John Tolkin corner kick one bounce into the net before Fabio put a bow on the win with his second goal in the 89th minute.
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) September 18, 2021
“He played all game,” Klimala said of Fabio. “He had more chances, and he just did this. This is what we need on the pitch. It does not matter who is playing, we just have to, when we have the chance, we have to score. I think we showed this tonight.”