New York Red Bulls (NYRB) have won their third supporters shield in six years with a 1-0 win over Orlando City SC, whilst setting a new league record for most points in a season.
The Red Bulls entered the day one point behind Atlanta United who fell 4-1 on the road to Toronto FC, enabling NYRB to clinch the 2018 MLS Supporters’ Shield at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
However amidst the celebrations, head coach Chris Armas was quick to point out that the team have their eyes on the MLS Cup to end the team’s 23-year drought.
“This is the beginning,” Armas told fans in a post-game address. “I promise you we are going after MLS Cup.”
NYRV became just the fourth team to win three Supporters’ Shields (2013, 2015, 2018), and only the second to win three in a six-year span, but having won an MLS Cup with the Chicago Fire 20 years ago, he understands the Red Bulls’ need for an MLS Cup.
“We know they want the Cup, and this is the first step,” Armas said. “Some say the Supporters’ Shield, it’s amazing, but they want the Cup and that’s the first step.”
Derrick Etienne was the hero after an inauspicious start to the game. Bradley Wright-Phillips was taken down in the box, but Etienne’s penalty was saved in the 15th minute.
But in the 53rd minute, Etienne redeemed himself, scoring the only goal of the match for the Red Bulls, slotting in a low shot.
Orlando appeared to have equalised 10 minutes later, as Dom Dwyer headed past past Robles from a Mohamed El-Munir cross but the assistant’s flag immediately went up for offside, negating the finish. A few minutes thereafter, El-Munir found Dwyer onside but the striker sent his volley wide from eight yards out.