Mike Grella scored two goals as the New York Red Bulls defeated the Seattle Sounders, 2-0, at Red Bull Arena on Sunday.
Grella scored the match's opening goal in the 18th minute. Sacha Kljestan's shot rebounded off the post and into the path of Grella, who slotted the ball into an empty net.
The Red Bulls doubled the lead in the 59th minute when Grella latched onto a loose ball and chipped it over Sounders goalkeeper Stefan Frei's head.
The Red Bulls improve to 7-7-1 with the win. New York plays Real Salt Lake in Salt Lake City, Utah on Wednesday.
It's not enough for a team to have one player as a scoring option. Bradley Wright-Phillips, for all his talents and abilities, cannot be expected to provide all of the offense on his own. For the umpteenth time in his Red Bulls' tenure, Grella stepped up and single handedly delivered much needed goals leading his team to a win.
Since joining the club last year, Grella has emerged as a reliable supplementary player on the attack. He's a literal and figurative outlet when Wright-Phillips is being double teamed or misfiring shots.
Despite Seattle being kept off the scoreboard, the Sounders were the more dangerous team for the majority of the match. Jordan Morris had his way with the Red Bulls defense and was very unlucky not to score multiple goals in the first half. Clint Dempsey is currently playing with the United States national team at Copa America. One can only imagine how much more clinical the Sounders attack would have been if he was present at Red Bull Arena.
Although he began his career as a fullback, Chris Duvall made another start at center back, and the Red Bulls seem intent on utilizing him in the middle of the field. Duvall struggled against Seattle's attackers, but he didn't make any mistakes leading to a goal.
New York's defense was unimpressive, and Jesse Marsch was forced to make two subs on the back line. However, the defense can't be judged too harshly because it has put up four straight shutouts.
The Red Bulls are now 7-7-1 and in second place in the Eastern Conference. They have made it back to .500 after a truly atrocious start to the season. They most likely won't repeat as Supporters' Shield winners, but should comfortably make the playoffs.