Goaltender Richard Sanchez had nine saves and Nemanja Nikolic scored what proved to be the game-winning goal on a penalty kick as the Chicago Fire held off the New York Red Bulls 2-1 on Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
Aleksander Katai also scored for Chicago (2-3-1) which got revenge for a 4-0 home loss to the Red Bulls in the MLS Cup Playoffs last October at Toyota Park. It also snapped a six-game winless streak (0-4-2) against New York for the Fire, who won for the first time since May 10, 2014, at Red Bull Arena.
Bradley Wright-Phillips scored the lone goal for New York (3-3-0) which lost despite a 22-4 advantage in shots, including 11-3 on goal, and had a 62.8 percent margin in possession. Luis Robles had one save for the Red Bulls, who lost for the first time in four games at home this season.
New York dominated the first half in possession (63 percent) and shots (11-4) but trailed 1-0 thanks to five saves by Sanchez, including a rare double-save with his leg on Daniel Royer followed by a diving stop on Alejandro Romero Gamarra, and a highlight-reel strike by Katai.
Katai, signed on loan from Deportivo Alaves in early February, scored his second goal of the season in the 30th minute when Red Bulls defender Aaron Long headed a corner right to the Serbian forward just outside the top of the box where he connected in mid-air and fired a strike into the right corner of the net.
Katai missed a chance to make it 2-0 just before intermission when he misfired on a 2-on-1 with Nikolic, firing a right-footed shot to the left of the goal.
Nikolic extended Chicago’s lead to 2-0 with his fifth goal of the season in the 69th minute when he blasted a penalty kick into the left corner of the net after Robles was yellow carded for tripping Katai in front of the net.
Wright-Phillips finally put New York on the board in the 81st minute when he tapped in a rebound of a Long shot into the left side of the net for his fifth goal of the season and 91st in his Red Bulls career.
—Field Level Media