(Derrick Etienne, Jr. – @NewYorkRedBulls)
The Red Bulls beat Orlando City SC, 1-0, on Sunday at Red Bull Arena to clinch the Supporters’ Shield, their first since 2015 and third overall in franchise history.
Derrick Etienne, Jr. scored the game-winning goal in the 53rd minute, as he dribbled past two defenders and beat Orlando goalkeeper Adam Grinwis with a low shot for what turned out to be the game winner.
The Red Bulls clinched the best record overall with a record of 22-5-7, with 71 points. They leapfrogged Atlanta United (21-6-7, 69 points), who lost to Toronto 4-1 on Sunday.
The Red Bulls set many records with this Decision Day win, including: their 71 points are the most ever for a team in MLS history; an MLS single-season wins record (post-shootout era, since 2000) with their 22nd win; and they tallied an MLS-best 43 home points, and on Sunday they earned their 200th league home win.
“Listen, it’s tremendous.” Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas said of the record-setting win. “We haven’t talked about the breaking the record for points. Like towards the end of the year, when we were asked many questions about the Supporters’ Shield, the result of getting better each game would be you put yourself in this spot tonight you know, to end up with 71 points, something that maybe stands for a bit, you know, talked about some great teams. But we know there’s real work to do for the ultimate prize.”
The Red Bulls are unbeaten in 12 of their last 13 matches and have outscored opponents, 20-11. They closed the season with five-game winning streak, tied for the longest active winning streak in MLS with Seattle.
Armas, who took over halfway through the season when Jesse Marsch went to Red Bull Leipzig in Germany, became the third coach in franchise history to lead the Red Bulls to a Supporters’ Shield in his first season as manager, joining Mike Petke (2013) and Marsch (2015) in the exclusive club.
Armas said of the role that Marsch played in this team earning this title, “Yeah, he’s here and with us in so many ways. That’s why I acknowledged it out there. I’ve said it a few times along the way, I don’t think he gets enough credit. No one does it for the credit but Jess, again, it’s a success story, the job that he did when he got here, the culture change, the way people work changed. In every which way he took this thing on and we were right there with him.
“There’s so many people that are a part of it. Yeah, to not acknowledge Jesse, the work that he’s done here, and then when he leaves, yeah, we’re ready to run with it. We’re ready to run with it, and the team is primed to do that. As a coaching staff, we’ve now put our stamp on things in many of the same ways, but you know, with our taste. So Jesse is part of this whole thing, right. We all know that, but shouldn’t be afraid to say that.”
Red Bulls goalkeeper and Captain Luis Robles recorded one save for his league-best 14th league shutout and 63rd of his career. Robles moved into sole possession for ninth in league history with 63 shutouts.
After allowing three goals in back-to-back matches to begin September, the Red Bulls have tallied four clean sheets in the last five games and have outscored their opponents, 9-1.
With a first round bye, New York will wait for their semifinal matchup after the Knockout Round. The Red Bulls Eastern Conference Semifinals Leg One and Leg Two are set for Sunday, November 4 and Nov. 11, with the Red Bulls hosting the second leg of the series.