Alianza FC 1, New York Red Bulls 1 | 2016-17 CCL Match Recap
Newly-arrived New York Red Bulls striker Omer Damari opened his account with his new team at a crucial moment, tapping home a game-tying goal to earn a critical CCL road point in a 1-1 draw vs. Alianza FC in El Salvador.
Neither side could find the net in the first half of a physical contest that featured eight fouls, 31 duels and three yellow cards during the opening 45 minutes. Finding themselves in hostile territory far from home, the Red Bulls adopted a more cautious approach than usual, often opting for long balls over building from the back.
A brilliant left-footed free kick taken by Alexander Larin from well beyond the box gave the home side a 1-0 lead early in the second half.
But RBNY rallied and were rewarded for setting a more attacking tempo, as Damari played the hero for his new teammates in the 71st minute, securing a well-earned point that keeps them in pole position in CCL Group F.
- INSTANT RETURN ON DAMARI: New York brought in some much-needed attacking depth when they signed Omer Damari in the summer transfer window, and he showed his worth in just his second-ever RBNY appearance. The Israeli scored four minutes after entering the game as a substitute, drawing New York level. With RBNY fighting on both the CCL and MLS fronts, fans will be salivating over Damari’s early contributions.
- DAVIS COOL IN MIDFIELD: Sean Davis has been huge for New York of late, stepping in for injured captain Dax McCarty and helping set the tone for the Red Bulls’ midfield. The Homegrown tempo-setter did not let the intimidating San Salvador crowd rattle his nerves, connecting on 80 percent of his 45 pass attempts.
- MARSCH MIXES IT UP: It can often be difficult for MLS coaches to manage their lineups on distant midweek CCL road trips. Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch chose to put out a mix of regulars and reserves in El Salvador on Tuesday evening. First-choice striker Bradley Wright-Phillips was joined in attack by less-used players like Derrick Etienne, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Gonzalo Veron, while maestro Sacha Kljestan entered in the second half in search of a point. The onetime US international's presence helped get New York on the front foot in the latter stages of the contest.
NY: Sunday, August 21 at D.C. United (3 pm ET; ESPN in US, MLS LIVE in Canada)