The New York Red Bulls were on the verge of penalty kicks on Saturday afternoon at Subaru Park, before Philadelphia Union’s Jakob Glesnes scored a 123rd-minute stunner to seal the 1-0 victory.
The goal stands as the latest in Major League Soccer history and marked the end of the New York Red Bulls’ 2021 campaign.
The elimination makes it 26 seasons without raising the MLS Cup for the league original that began competing as the MetroStars.
Despite the downfall, head coach Gerhard Struber shared his excitement for the future of this squad after recognizing the immense progress they have made in just one season.
“I look excited in the future with this team, I think we have made a big step in the season and then right now we are on the level to manage games against the teams like Philadelphia,” the Austrian manager said.
“Philadelphia is of course a team, and everyone knows that, on the highest level, in all of America. This means for me we made many things in the right way. We have some to-dos, but I’m looking forward with a very good feeling with my whole group.”
The Red Bulls had a tumultuous campaign, fighting injuries and a losing streak to come back in midseason and qualify for the playoffs for the 11th consecutive year. The team concluded the year in seventh place in the Eastern Conference table with a record of 13-9-12.
The team’s determination inspired midfielder and captain Sean Davis to remain positive despite the bitter ending to the campaign.
“I think the foundation is really strong now. I think Gerhard’s vision became super clear by the end of the year and the guys all bought it completely. I’m still proud of the guys, the staff, I’ll say that to him blue in the face.
“I think that what’s being built here is really special, and of course, we need to improve, there’s no doubt about that.
“But I think that when you look at the season as a whole that there’s so much that we were able to accomplish, and I just hope that the fans are proud of us for the last two months for the run that we put together, and how the entire organization stuck together and that’s something to be proud of,” Davis said.
The offseason will be interesting for the Red Bulls, who are expected to undergo several roster changes as players come and go.
But the team returns to action on February 26 with one goal in mind. “Ultimately, it is about winning the MLS Cup,” David said.