The New York Red Bulls, who had struggled out of the gate in 2017, scored twice in the first 11 minutes and eased to a 4-0 win over the Chicago Fire, breaking an MLS record for the largest margin of
victory in the Knockout Round that lasted less than three hours. 1. Red Bulls' stars provide early knockout blow.
(17 goals, 1 assist) and Sacha Kljestan
(2 goals, 17 assists) scored four minutes apart, taking advantage of poor defending, to give the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead
after 11 minutes.
“We knew that Chicago was very good when they scored first and not very good when they concede first," said Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch
. "We knew that that
was going to be vital and our team was ready." 2. Wing play is something Red Bulls haven't always had.
The Red Bulls have often hit the wall in the playoffs as they lacked the flank play to break down teams in tight matches, but the Fire had no answer for 18-year-old Tyler Adams
Jamaican Kemar Lawrence
, the two outside backs in their 3-3-3-1 formation.
Adams, who had two goals and three assists in his last three starts in the regular season, beat
on the right wing and played in a curling pass that Kljestan easily put away for the devastating second goal in the 11th minute. The ease with which the Red Bulls scored was a
devastating blow for the Fire. 3. Loss shouldn't put dent on 'amazing job' Fire did.
Last in MLS the
last two seasons, Chicago was 11-3-3 at the halfway point but slumped in the second half of the season, going 5-8-4. Wednesday's game was the first playoff game the Fire has played since 2012 so the
manner of the defeat was a letdown.
But German World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger
, whose arrival inspired the Fire's fast start but who was out of the lineup for most of the
last two months with calf and quad injuries, called the turnaround "an amazing job" and something that shouldn't be forgotten.
"I know the players decide everything," he said, "but you
have to be realistic, before the season, if someone told you guys, 'Chicago Fire would be third after 35 games,' you would probably say 'oh, no, that's not, how would that be the case?' This team
really worked hard, we played very good the first half of the season." Oct. 25 in Bridgeview, Ill. Chicago 0 NY Red
Bradley Wright-Phillips (Damien Perrinelle) 7 NY:
Sacha Kljestan (Tyler Adams, Bradley Wright-Phillips) 11 NY:
Daniel Royer (Sean Davis) 70 NY:
Gonzalo Veron (Sacha Kljestan) 87
--------------------------------------------------- NY Red Bulls --
Robles; Murillo, Perrinelle, Long, Adams, Lawrence (Lade 90+1),
Felipe, Davis, Royer (Muyl 83), Davis, Kljestan, Wright-Phillips (Veron 77). Chicago --
Lampson; Kappelhof, Vincent, Meira (Alvarez 70), Polster, Accam, McCarty, Solignac, Mihailovic
(Schweinsteiger 65), Juninho (Arshakyan 70), Nikolic. Att.: