The New York Red Bulls closed out the 2019 regular season with a 3-0 defeat Sunday afternoon against the Montreal Impact. The result, and due to the other results around the league on Sunday, means they will end the season in sixth place and not have a home game during their upcoming playoff run. The Impact, who did not qualify for the playoffs and will be undergoing major managerial and player changes in the offseason, looked to thoroughly embrace the role of spoiler.
New York looked devoid of any real attacking threat for most of the 90 minutes, only producing eight shots with one on goal. One of their best chances to score came in the 5th minute. Daniel Royer hit the crossbar after Aaron Long delivered the assist to the right side of the six yard box. Michael Murillo also hit the crossbar with a shot in the 80th minute.
The 23rd minute saw the turning point of the game. After a Montreal throw in and a kick upfield by Samuel Piette, Tim Parker lost the ball at his feet and Orji Okwonkwo took advantage. Dispossessing the defender and sprinting down the right flank, Okwonkwo found Bojan Krkic with a short cross back towards the top of the box and the Spanish striker buried it past Luis Robles. More importantly for the Red Bulls, New York defender Kyle Duncan pulled up with what appeared to be a hamstring injury sustained during the sprint back to stop the counterattack. Michael Murillo was subbed on in his place after the goal was confirmed.
Fourteen minutes later, the Impact again took advantage of a momentary lapse of concentration by the Red Bulls. A through ball was played to Jukka Raitala who charged down the left flank towards Robles’ goal. Raitala looked to have been pushed inside the box by Murillo but no whistle was blown and play continued. Murillo took possession after Raitala fell but was dispossessed as quickly as he gained it by Maximiliano Urruti. Meanwhile, Robles had come out of his goal to argue a possible offsides against Raitala. Urruti, aware of the goalkeeper’s lack of cognizance, took his shot from a very sharp angle and found the opposite side of the net, putting the Impact up 2-0.
The final goal came in the 62nd minute. Saphir Taïder hit a long, swooping cross from about 30 yards out on the right flank to the far post. The cross had caught Tim Parker out of position and found Okwonkwo, who was unmarked behind Parker and he chested it in from three yards out past a helpless Robles.
The Red Bulls will now have to put this result behind them and prepare for the Philadelphia Union in two weeks for the start of the playoffs. Head coach Chris Armas will hope his strikers can find their rhythm again after going two straight games without scoring a goal. He will also wait for the status of the injury to Kyle Duncan. The Brooklyn-based defender has been playing extremely well and has become a regular in Armas’ starting XI this season.