The New York Red Bulls sealed a maiden CONCACAF Champions League victory on Tuesday night, with the 2-0 defeat of Salvadoran outfit FAS in New Jersey.
Though the Red Bulls were knocked out at the preliminary stage of the 2009/10 campaign, this was their first appearance at the finals of the competition, and they netted through Saer Sene and Lloyd Sam.
This result eliminated the Tigres, who’d previously lost home and away to the Montreal Impact – the side New York beat in Major League Soccer action at the weekend.
In the game’s first opportunity, Roy Miller rifled towards Tim Cahill from the left, but the ex-Everton man’s downwards header bounced harmlessly over the cross-bar.
However, a cross from the same area in the 11th minute led to opening goal. Cahill this time directed the ball back to strike-partner Sene, who coolly finished into the far corner.
Cahill then thought he’d doubled the lead moments later when he met a deep delivery to side-foot a volley in off the post, but he was denied by a tight offside call.
FAS hit back
The first FAS response followed quickly afterwards, and though Alejandro Bentos’ low thump was spilled, no visiting forward was on hand to take advantage. Armando then had to make last ditch challenge to prevent the same player from shooting again, after the Argentine had streaked away from Damien Perrinelle.
A second Metrostars goal should have been forthcoming, however, when Ambroise Oyongo completed one of several successful dribbles, before squaring to Cahill, who was brilliantly blocked by Adolfo Menendez.
With chances coming thick and fast at either end, Sene was the next to misfire, as he stumbled in front of the target from Sam’s lay-off. Eric Alexander screwed his attempt when another centre fell his way, and Cahill’s nod created a goal-mouth scramble.
More near misses
Nestor Renderos’ flick was then saved by Ryan Meara, while Sene and Cahill were both blocked, but somehow the score remained 1-0 heading into the half-time break, and it was more of the same after the restart, as Sam fired over and the hosts’ first goal-scorer failed to convert having rounded Menendez.
But, with twenty minutes remaining, Sam was able atone for his earlier miss. Peguy Luyindula carried the ball forward and slipped the tricky winger in, and the 29-year-old steadied himself before lashing beyond the goalkeeper.
Cahill was still looking for his goal though, and he was again kept at bay by his nemesis Menendez, despite another firm header. The second notch had slowed a previously frantic clash though, and New York were able to see out the win.