Red Bulls Advance To Concacaf Champions League Quarter Final

On a bitter cold Wednesday evening at Red Bull Arena, the New York Red Bulls defeated Atletico Pantoja 3-0 and by reason of an aggregate 5-0 score the Red Bulls after leg two of the Concacaf Champions League have advanced into the competition’s quarter-final round.

Box Score

Scoring Summary:
NY - Sean Davis 1 (unassisted) 27'
NY - Daniel Royer 2 (PK) 32'
NY - Andreas Ivan 1 (unassisted) 75'
Misconduct Summary:
PAN - Ernesto Trinidad (caution, unsporting behavior) 21'
PAN - Darly Batista (caution, unsporting behavior) 31'
NY - Michael Amir Murillo (caution, unsporting behavior) 49'
New York Red Bulls: Luis Robles ©; Aaron Long (Sean Nealis, 54'), Michael Amir Murillo (Kyle Duncan, 59'), Tim Parker, Connor Lade, Sean Davis, Marc Rzatkowski, Kaku, Alex Muyl, Danny Royer, Bradley Wright-Phillips (Andreas Ivan, 67')

Atletico Pantoja: Pascual Ramirez; Carlos Rossell (Skarith Taveras, 81'), Nicolas Rebollo, Oscalin Ferreras, Ernesto Trinidad Jean Carlos Lopez (Ronaldo Vasquez, HT), Darly Batista (Robert Rosado, HT), Jean Innocent, Anderley Penaranda, Nerlin Saint-Vil, Luis Espinal

Referee: John Pitti
Assistant Referees: Alejandro Camarena, Christian Ramirez
4th Official: Jose Kellys
Attendance: 3,407
With a 3-0 victory, the New York Red Bulls move past Club Atletico Pantoja on a 5-0 aggregate in the Concacaf Champions League Round of 16 at Red Bull Arena on

Wednesday. New York moves on to the SCCL Quarterfinals for the second-straight season and will face Santos Laguna, who advanced on an 11-2 aggregate over CD Marathon.

New York extended their home scoreless streak across all competitions to eight matches and 757 minutes.

New York extended its unbeaten SCCL streak at RBA to nine matches (6-0-3) since Red Bull Arena was constructed in 2010.
Academy product Sean Davis opened up the scoring in the 27th minute as he stood tall in the box and headed his shot to the far post.
Five minutes later, Connor Lade was taken down inside the box to get New York a penalty kick opportunity in the 32nd minute. Daniel Royer lined his shot up and finished to the upper 90 to double the Red Bulls lead.
Holding a 2-0 lead late in the second half, Andreas Ivan intercepted a ball atop the 18-yard box and finished to the far post for New York's third and final goal.

Captain Luis Robles made one save for his second consecutive shutout of the tournament and seventh career SCCL clean sheet.
Ivan recorded his first career goal for New York across all competitions.

Royer recorded his third career SCCL goal, while Davis tallied his second career SCCL goal.
Massapequa, New York, native and 2019 MLS SuperDraft Second Round Pick Sean Nealis entered in the 54th minute to make his professional debut.
Academy Product Kyle Duncan entered the match in the 59th minute, replacing Michael Amir Murillo. It was the first game action for Duncan since suffering a knee injury during the Orlando City SC match on March 31, 2018.

The Red Bulls open MLS play against Columbus Crew SC on Saturday at MAPFRE Stadium. Kickoff is set for 4:30 p.m. ET.

New York Red Bulls Post-Game Quote Sheet
February 27, 2018 | Scotiabank Champions League
Round of 16 | Club Atletico Pantoja

New York Red Bulls Head Coach Chris Armas

On accomplishments of this round:
“Every round of the competition you want to move on. So we check that box. We wanted to keep building guys in their fitness and sharpness and tactically understand how we’re going about things this year and you can check that box in certain ways. We wanted to see if we could limit their chances which was going to be speed on their counter attacks and I think we did that for the most part, which is a tough task and then we’re trying to create a lot of chances in different ways and we did that. We’d like to score more goals and finish up some plays but I think in terms of creating the chances in putting things on our terms, we accomplished that. So, the most important thing I think was to have the right mentality in a series like this and to start the year off with professional performances and that was impressive from the guys.”

On if he sensed frustration from Pantoja:
“I didn't think too much about that. I'm more focused on our group and to see if we could just stay tuned into the task. Yeah. Didn't sense too much of that.”

On facing Santos in the next round:
“Yeah, we have to have our eye on that one as well as we head into the weekend. We've been prepping already in case we move on and we know they're a very good team. In many ways we play a lot like them and in some ways they can play in tight spaces, they compress the field and counter-pressing is a big part of how they operate. We've gotten a good head start looking at them and I think we’ll have to ramp things up in understanding now we get the first leg in our building. So how does that factor in how we go about the game? But I think in you can expect us to be aggressive in both legs.”

Reaction to Murillo’s second yellow and suspension for next leg:
“It was factored in coming into the night. So we tried to prepare our players, not just Amir, but other guys to not pick up any yellow card needlessly and, sometimes it doesn't take much to get one, and that might have been the case there. But it's a reminder for other players moving forward if we keep going in this tournament and for him, it's tough and for us it's tough for Amir, if he wants to play in all games in big games. Part of the plan was to get them off early in the second half. And maybe I could have made that move at halftime. The plan was to get them off for that reason. So, we move on, right. It’s something to think about, in terms of him. We move on, we have other guys that will step in.”

On the approach to rotating the squad:
“Well, squad rotation. We've said it, I've said it, we have a deep roster and we believe in it, and we have to be calculated in how we utilize it and especially on short rest. So we will rotate some players on the weekend and we know that we can trust the guys that we have and that we’ll go to Columbus and be aggressive and go after three points, understanding it’s their home opener and that it’s a difficult game. And then, as a club, the Champions League means a lot to us so I think that you can expect that we go strong on Tuesday as well.”

On his post-game message:
“After the game, the talk on the field is going to be a rhythm again this year so we're not waiting around too much in the locker room but basically, to talk about it, just a couple of comments were made that over two legs, we didn't give up much defensively, we stuck to who we are in many ways and then the reminder about yellow cards, because that wasn't the only one that could have been given. For our guys, it's a reminder to say, you have to have discipline at all moments. So while it's fresh we made that comment, we talked about the next day schedule, getting ready for the weekend.”

More on lineups and rotation:
“We're still in a bit of a preseason mode in terms of fitness and sharpness. So using the game, you know we have to take care of business. We have to not take anything for granted. We'll come in with a two-goal lead which against a team like Pantoja which is very explosive, it could change quickly. So we had to put out guys that we thought could put it on our terms right away and leave no doubt. That was the plan. And I'd say it was the right way to go. So then you think of different ways and different players that we can factor in for Saturday and then keep guys fresh for Tuesday, so there's a lot of things to consider. We went over so many different scenarios. So every move that we made had a little bit of method to the madness behind it. I mean the yellow card changes things a bit because if Murillo can’t play Tuesday, he can play more on Saturday. So yeah, things change as you went along, and Brad, we keep bringing him along and we took him off and gave him some rest too. Part of it’s getting other guys on the field and getting their legs going and confidence going. So a lot went into it but we were pretty happy with the way we managed.”

On the weather and forecasting next Tuesday night:
“We don't mind playing in the cold. When it's really cold, it does start to affect the quality of playing and we couldn't water the field tonight because when they tried doing it, water froze on the field and turned to icicles and that's not ideal because we want the game to be fast. You can see with some of the shots and crosses, there’s just not a lot of life in the ball. But in our building, we love being here and we love playing when it's cold, so we’ll take this night again.

On Concacaf teams from smaller nations competing:
“Well I think as a starting point, based on the lineups that we put out in leg one and two, we have a lot of respect for the opponent. And you know for a long time, years ago when I was in the national team as a player, there seemed to be I mean, Mexico U.S., there was a bit of a gap and then for sure, Costa Rica and Honduras. By the time I started to the time I ended, the gap was narrowing. I think in the world of football, around the world this is the case. But in CONCACAF, I think it's really the case that you can see, a Dominican Republic, a team that can step on the field. There is tactics, there is a plan that says a certain way, that you have to be ready, because they're credible in so many ways. So our opponent we have a lot of respect for them as a staff, and as a soccer team that is more than capable. Again, I think around the world you've seen the gap is narrowing. The coaches are getting smarter, better. The players can do more, the physical part of the game is no different. At times you're outmatched. So, it keeps us moving forward to and forces us to be better and constantly thinking forward. “

On roster continuity:
You said it all. You really answered the question in there. I think it's so important. It was essential, from my perspective. When myself and Denis sat down at the end of the season and talked about the needs and where we want to go and who to re-sign. That can he keep it together and certain players and shoring up the back line. Denis did a great job and it's never easy when you have salary cap and constraints that way. But you can see that the chemistry is key, especially the way we play such a specific style of soccer that not everyone is a good fit for us. We're not a good fit for everyone. So, identifying the right people, the right players. Even a guy like Kaku how he fits in. You can say what's more impressive sometimes what he does with the ball, which is magical at times, or the work he puts in where he's running 90 yards back to defend. So, to have guys that understand how we play that give to the team, the way we ask, that understand the tactics, that can do all that and run the way we need to run. And then have experience together and then important games. For the head coach, it's necessary and does make my life easier I believe.

Q: Can you compare last season to this season in terms of roster stability?
Yeah, I think to quantify, it’s hard to say exactly. But for sure it's having, even a guy like Kaku, Tim Parker was like off the plane, and jumps into a Champions League game last year essentially you know. So, you got Tim with us and that partnership in the back line, it's two guys thinking like one of the bring it all together. Again, up the field, Kaku, how he fits in with the team on the field, off the field, tactically. I think that you have those two guys right and then you know Marc Rzatkowski the same now and Sean growing. So, I think some other guys, other pieces there I think can compliment. But some new guys that are were there last year, have a whole year under the belt in the system, in the philosophy. I think it helps us ever have a quick start this year.

On Kyle Duncan’s return:
Yeah, he’ll be a consideration for sure. We have a few options and a few different ways we can play to fill that void. But we like Kyle. It hurt us last year when he got hurt because he was off to a great start. And he worked hard to get back, and here he is he had a great preseason. He has different qualities, he can defend one v one in a certain way, his engine to get up and down, he's good in the air and he tactically understands, so it was great and part of the plan even to see him get some minutes tonight as we approach Tuesday and even on the weekend. He's fearless and he's a breath of fresh air when he's out there. Glides around the field. He loves playing. He fits in many ways. So, I think we'll be relying on in the next few games.

New York Red Bulls Midfielder Sean Davis

On his goal…
“It was a cross that was sent in and I think I, what we call fore-checking the defender, which is framing the box. It's something we talked a lot about in preseason and it's nice when it all comes together like that and I'm happy everyone here was able to witness my, probably, one and only header goal in my career so I'll take it.

On the series against Atlético Pantoja, in hindsight…
“When we look back at this series, we’ll be proud of it because it was a professional performance from start to finish. We know what these games are going to look like. I think our experience in this competition helped out a lot. Some takeaways are that we can continue to be sharper and clean up around goal but it's still early in the season and, you know, it's just nice to put this series behind us now and look forward.”

On the next series against Santos…
“First of all, it's a little different than last year where we played on the road first. But we obviously know they're a strong team, they're having a good start to their season down in Mexico and, you know, these are the kind of games that every player wants to play in. So, we're all really excited for that we want to put our best foot forward and have a really strong series and advance.”

New York Red Bulls midfielder Daniel Royer

How does it feel to advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament…
“It’s a good feeling for sure. That's what we wanted. 5-0 overall, I think that could have been way higher, we're still at the beginning of the season and trying to get sharper. But I think it was a good step in the right direction. I'm looking forward to the MLS start and continuing the CCL.”

On the team's performance side overall…
“I think it was a good. We got the clean sheet again, scoring three goals. Like I said we could have scored way more goals but overall, I think we did a good job. I think we had a couple of giveaways that were unnecessary. But you know it's the beginning of the season and I think overall, we did a great job. Overall, there was no doubt in the game that we don't succeed.”

On using Champions League to start the season strong…
“Yeah, I hope so. I think we had the same situation last year and I think we handled it really well. When you look back, when we had the MLS start last year against Portland at RBA, I think we put on really young and new team. I think everyone did their job really well. I think we won 3-0. That's going to be a real tough game against Columbus away. It's always tough to play there but I think we have a good depth in our squad and I'm sure we're going to handle it the right way and I think it's good that we had the experience last year. So, we know what to expect.”

New York Red Bulls midfielder Andreas Ivan

On his goal…
“It feels very good. I'm happy about it and more importantly that we win. It was a great night.”

On making his CCL debut…
“It feels great. It has the title of Champions League, it’s something special. Yeah, it's a pleasure to be here and play.”

Again on the goal…
“Yeah, I just saw the ball coming and the first touch was great after the fake shot. I knew that I was going to shoot straight on goal. It feels great. First goal and all the emotions and my teammates come and celebrate. It was a great moment.”

New York Red Bulls Goalkeeper Luis Robles

On tonight’s match…
“I think it was a very professional performance. We've been in this situation before, a lot of guys had last year's experience, so I didn't feel like we're dealing with anxiety and yet last week when we played against them in Dominican Republic we observed right away that they were a good team. They were a lot better than we could have imagined. So, we had to respect our opponent, and I feel like that's what we did. We brought the right approach. And of course, once we got that first goal it put us in the driver's seat.”

On the team’s preparation with the quick turnaround ahead…
“Well I think this is why the front office, they put in so much work in the offseason because they know that we compete in a lot of competitions and rotation is going to be very important. And yet in the preseason the guys that got opportunities to play, they're ready to go. So whether we rotate or we don’t, this is something Chris and his coaching staff have to figure out. But we also know that it's an important matchup against a team that is probably going to be very excited with a new coach, with some new faces. They're also the team that we kicked out the playoffs last year so maybe there's going to be revenge factor. But we take it one game at a time. And tonight we got the result, we did what we needed to do, and we're looking forward to Saturday.”

Last edited by Dave Birnbaum; 03/02/19 12:57 AM.