(Bradley Wright-Phillips celebrates with Ethan Kutler -@NewYorkRedBulls)
The Red Bulls outlasted Seattle Sounders FC, 2-1, on Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena, with Bradley Wright-Phillips getting the winning goal.
The Red Bulls improve to 8-4-2, with 26 points, in fourth place in the Eastern Conference, just one point behind Columbus, two behind NYCFC, and seven behind Atlanta for the top spot with two games in hand. Seattle dropped to 3-8-2 with 11 points, in 10th place in the West.
The Red Bulls extend their home unbeaten streak to three league matches and has outscored its opponents, 6-1, during the stretch.
The Red Bulls got on the board in the 37th minute. Ethan Kutler began New York’s counterattack on the near sideline and sent a through ball to Florian Valot. Valot took a few touches to the 18-yard box, sent his cross across the face of Stefan Frei to the far post for Daniel Royer, who finished to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead.
Royer now has four goals in his last eight league matches.
Kutler was at it again when then he sent a cross into the box for Wright-Phillips, who flicked it with his head to the far post to make it 2-0 Red Bulls in the 52nd minute.
This was Wright-Phillips’ fourth consecutive goal on a header and it was his 10th goal of the season. He became the fifth player in MLS history to record five consecutive 10-plus goal seasons.
BWP raised his career league total to 96 and 113 across all competitions, and he moved into a tie with Kenny Cooper for 14th all-time in league history with 24 game-winning goals.
Seattle’s Harry Shipp tallied his first of the season in the 87th minute to cut the deficit to one, 2-1, but it was too little too late for the Sounders.
Kutler continued his incredible week, which began with a nice outing against NYCFC in the US Open Cup a week ago Wednesday.
This was Kutler’s first career MLS start and, with the two assists, he tallied his first two career MLS points. He tallied a secondary assist on Royer’s goal and a primary assist on Wright-Phillips tally.
Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of Kutler, “You know, he’s a very gifted player, passer, on the ball and we’re continuing to try to build in more defensive sophistication and more of a defensive edge with him but he does provide us with that ease to be able to pass, put plays together, see the next play and on certain days, that’s really valuable, and we knew that we — that Seattle would be defending a lot.
“We knew we would have the ball a lot and we were hopeful he than would be able to find moments in the game and he did. That part was good.”
Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles, in his second game back from injury, tallied five saves for his seventh win of the season. Robles improved to 87-54-44 all-time in net as a Red Bull.
Marsch said of the win, “Yeah, for sure. I mean, you know, there’s some frustration that we don’t handle the game better because if we are better on the day, it can be much more in hand. I told the guys, there’s no negativity right now. They have all had to dig so deep. Tyler (Adams) and Tim (Parker) coming back across the continent (from US team play), or across the ocean and a bunch of guys that have had to play game after game after game, turn around, different demands.
“So the three points is massive, and as much as on another day, you know, we could have — we could have been much better, like right now, the focus is to be happy about the three points and now find a way — I already told them that they have three days off after Philly (in US Open Cup Saturday).
“I already rewarded them for the effort that they have put in but we’ve got to find a way now to turn around, find as many guys as possible that can really go after the game on Saturday because it’s going to be a big challenge.
“But good three points. Really good three points.”
The Red Bulls’ success against the Western Conference extended with the 2-1 win over Seattle. New York is 5-1-0 this season against teams from the West and have outscored their opponents, 14-4.
The Red Bulls switches back to U.S. Open Cup action as they travel to face Philadelphia in the Round of 16 on Saturday. Kickoff is slated for 7 p.m. ET with coverage on NewYorkRedBulls.com and New York Red Bulls Radio in English on TuneIn.