New York Red Bulls 2, Seattle Sounders FC 0 | 2016 MLS Match Recap
The Seattle Sounders carved out plenty of possession and no shortage of decent chances on Sunday evening, trying out a new-look lineup with several young faces on a cross-country road trip to visit the New York Red Bulls.
But they didn't have anyone with Mike Grella's ruthless finishing.
Grella struck twice to sink the Sounders as the Red Bulls tweaked their usual approach to good effect, soaking up pressure and breaking out opportunistically in a 2-0 win at Red Bull Arena.
Grella was the quickest to react in a crowded Sounders penalty box in the 18th minute after Sacha Kljestan's curling effort clanged off the far post. Seattle subsequently controlled most of the play, only for the Long Island native to ice the result on the hour mark with a well-taken strike from 18 yards.
The win marks RBNY's fourth consecutive clean sheet, while the Sounders have lost four of their last five.
1. JOEVIN THE WINGER: Sounders coach Sigi Schmid tried the speedy Joevin Jones, usually a left back, in an attacking role on the left side of the front line in Seattle's 4-3-3 formation. The Trinidad & Tobago international showed some promise and brought useful verticality to the system, but didn't look entirely comfortable and came out in the 68th minute. Was it a one-off experiment, or will we see it again in the future?
2. GRELLADINHO THE GREAT: The man who started 2015 as a Red Bulls trialist -- and perhaps a "whatever happened to...?" subject -- has become one of RBNY's most important players. His OPTA stats vs. Seattle hint at his value, and his versatility: Two goals on three shots, tidy passing in a variety of situations and plenty of defensive work. The striker's instincts he showed on the opener are tougher to pin down, but crucial just the same.
3. RED BULLS, CLEAN SHEETS: After leaking 18 goals in their first eight games, New York have not allowed a goal in more than 400 minutes of league play, a shutout streak that dates back to the 43rd minute of their 2-0 loss at D.C. United on May 13. It's been a team effort, from the boost provided by recent arrival Aurelien Collin to the savvy and hustle of role players like Connor Lade, who might have changed the course of Sunday's game with his sliding block of an Erik Friberg shot in the first half.
- NY: Wednesday at Real Salt Lake (10 pm ET, MLS LIVE)
- SEA: Saturday vs. New York City FC (5 pm ET, ESPN)