The New York Red Bulls have been almost unbeatable at home over the past calendar year and look to continue their friendly pitch dominance when they square off against the defending Western Conference champion Seattle Sounders on Wednesday at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
The home team has won each of the past four meetings between the Red Bulls and Sounders. New York has three wins and a draw among the most recent six matches at home in MLS play against Seattle, with the lone loss coming in 2010.
New York (7-4-2) returns home after a 1-1 draw on the road versus Columbus on Saturday. It took a near-super-human effort from goalkeeper Luis Robles and a 57th-minute equalizer from Alex Muyl to allow the Red Bulls to earn a point in a match they likely should have lost.
“Sometimes draws feel like draws and sometimes they feel like a win; this one felt like a win because of how hard the first half was for us,” Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said after the Columbus game. “When we went in at halftime I looked at 11 faces and they were searching for answers a little bit, they were exhausted. For us to fight back like we did and earn the point was important.”
New York is led by 33-year-old forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who is one of the most prodigious scorers in MLS history. Wright-Phillips has scored at least 17 goals in each of the past four seasons and already has nine goals in 13 matches this year, bringing him within five goals of 100 in his MLS career, which began in 2013.
The Red Bulls have lost just one MLS home match since last June, and they are first in goals against average (0.6) and second in both goals per game (2.4) and goal differential (plus-25) in that time.
Seattle (3-7-2) heads to the suburbs of the Big Apple after charging back to beat D.C. United 2-1 at home on Saturday. The victory snapped a three-match losing streak for the Sounders, and the two goals scored equaled their total from their previous six matches combined.
After conceding a goal to D.C. United in the 53th minute, Nicolas Lodeiro leveled the match four minutes hence. Magnus Wolff Eikrem produced the game-winner in the 83rd minute for Seattle, which is still 11 points beneath the playoff line in the Western Conference, though it has at least a game at hand on every other team in the West.
The win showed Seattle coach Brian Schmetzer that his team still has a pulse.
“It’s a team game, they came to play and they all understood the place that we found ourselves in the table,” Schmetzer said. “I’ll just caution everybody here — we still have a long way to go, but there are some signs of life and signs of a little bit of momentum for sure.”
The Sounders own a 5-4 advantage over New York in 12 overall matches, with three draws. The Red Bulls beat Seattle 2-1 in the most recent contest between the two teams in Harrison on June 19, 2016.
—Field Level Media