By scoring two away goals and with no league game this weekend to worry about, New York is in the best spot to advance of the three MLS participants in the preliminary round. D.C. United must travel to San Salvador after tying Luis Angel Firpo, 1-1, at RFK Stadium Tuesday, and Toronto FC faces a tougher task reversing a 1-0 defeat it incurred Wednesday at BMO Field against Puerto Rico Islanders. All second-leg matches will be played next week.
Recent signing Ernst Obster's shot took a deflection off a defender to tie the match in the 48th minute, and Alfredo Pacheco's shot 12 minutes later nicked two opponents and looped under the crossbar to put the Red Bulls in front, 2-1.
But a glaring defensive gaffe by Pacheco provided W Connection a chance to equalize in the 72nd minute. He stumbled trying to head a ball out of danger and missed it completely; Hughton Hector teed it up with a pair of touches before hammering a rising right-footed shot that caromed into the net off the inside of the crossbar.
W Connection had taken a 1-0 lead in the 40th minute when Hector's corner kick came off the head of Juan Pablo Angel and onto the crossbar for Jonathan Fana Farias to bang into the net.
Obster, making his debut for the Red Bulls, converted a chance created by Dane Richards, whose run down the right flank and centering pass evaded several defenders on its way to Obster, whose shot nicked off Kern Cupid and past keeper Jan Michael Williams. Pacheco scored from outside the penalty area when his low shot hit two opponent and skied over Williams into the net.
Concacaf Champions League
Preliminary round, first leg
July 30 in Marabella, Trinidad
W Connection 2, New York Red Bulls 2