Cory Burke celebrates his delayed goal. (Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports)
Hmmm. It certainly looks like Troy Lesesne has given the Red Bulls some new life.
Since taking over the for the departed Gerhard Struber on May 5, the team is undefeated in four matches across all competitions under its new head coach.
The Red Bulls extended their unbeaten streak to four games behind a 2-1 win over CF Montreal at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Saturday night.
Andres Reyes and Cory Burke tallied first-half goals for New York (3-4-7, 16 points) against Montreal (5-8-0,15). The Red Bulls are 3-0-1 overall under Lesesne and 2-0-1 in the league.
“I think we continue to make a lot of positive strides in the last 12, 14 days,” Lesesne said. “Most importantly, it’s been the players. I told them on Monday, whenever everything went down 12 days ago, we are responsible for the position, everyone in this room, for where we are. And by the way, we are going to be the ones responsible for getting ourselves out of it. Our players have taken on the accountability, and that’s the difference, ultimately.”
Added captain and defender Sean Nealis: “It’s good momentum. Good home victories. It’s two in a row. I think we want to keep building on it. We have another game against Cincinnati in the Open Cup this week. The guys fought tonight from the start and I think they’re up for the challenge. It’s a big three points.”
Reyes lifted the hosts into a 23rd-minute with his second goal of the season, which was unassisted.
Montreal defender Joel Waterman answered six minutes later when he converted a George Campbell pass for his first goal of the campaign.
After a neat passing combination by the Red Bulls, Burke’s second goal of the season boosted his side into the lead. The assistant referee flagged Burke for being offside, but after a VAR check, the goal was good.
“It’s great,” Lesesne said. “We have been on the other side of it. I tried to say this maybe a week ago, but we have to figure out ways to create our own luck and not just blame it on decisions. So, I think we were knocking on the door and we were creating chances, and luckily we got the right call in our favor.”
After the goal was certified, Burke had a chance to celebrate.
“It was an important one for me to score at home in front of the home fans,” he said. “I’ve been working on myself to try my best each game to help this team. I know where we are on the table. We need to start winning more games to make a push to go up top to put ourselves in a better position for the playoffs.”
Forward Dante Vanzeir, who returned from a six-game suspension after he uttered a racial slur against the San Jose Earthquakes, replaced Burke in the 67th minute.
Goalkeeper Carlos Coronel made one save while his Montreal counterpart Jonathan Sirois had four.