Chicago Fire 0, New York Red Bulls 1 | 2018 MLS Match Recap
Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his 15th goal of the season as the New York Red Bulls continued their sizzling form with a 1-0 victory over the free-falling Chicago Fire on Saturday night at Toyota Park.
Wight-Phillips became the first player in MLS history to hit at least 15 goals in five consecutive seasons as New York won their eighth out of 10. In the process, he helped the Red Bulls into sole possession of second place in the Eastern Conference for at least an evening, three points ahead of New York City FC and one behind Supporters' Shield leaders Atlanta United.
Chicago, meanwhile, have now lost seven straight in a skid that has seriously damaged the Fire's hopes of back-to-back postseason appearances for the first time since making five straight from 2005 to 2009. They began the day six points beneath the playoff line.
Fire coach Veljko Paunovic held forward Nemanja Nikolic and midfielder Aleksandar Katai out of his starting XI after both players went 90 minutes in Wednesday's 3-0 U.S. Open Cup semifinal defeat at the Philadelphia Union. Nikolic would eventually register Chicago's first shot on goal Saturday as a substitute, forcing Luis Robles' exceptional 71st-minute leaping save.
- 55' - RBNY - Bradley Wright-Phillips | Watch
- THE BIG PICTURE: The Red Bulls will finish the weekend as the only team in MLS currently earning more than two points per game (2.04). Meanwhile, it's fair to wonder if Chicago's slide will have Paunovic focusing at least one eye toward next season. While the Fire's points deficit is not impossible, their nine matches remaining are the fewest of any East team outside the playoff places.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: If Wright-Phillips' goal was the textbook example of a poor defensive giveaway turned into a clinical defensive finish, then Robles' save of Nikolic on the other end was one of an otherwise idle 'keeper making the one huge stop his side needed.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: In a surprise to no one who has closely observed the 19-year-old this season, Tyler Adams again won the battle of the midfield in a contest that took a while to open up. It was his pressure that forced Dax McCarty's giveaway leading to Wright-Phillips goal. Adams was also unlucky not to have an assist or two of his own late on.