Fire get their first road win of 2018 against the team that ended their 2017 season

HARRISON, N.J. – Last fall, it was the New York Red Bulls that brought an end to one of the better turnaround seasons in their history. It was rather decisive, too.

On a chilly night at Toyota Park, they came into Bridgeview and dominated for 90 minutes, handing the Fire a 4-0 loss in their first playoff game in five seasons.

About six months later, Veljko Paunovic’s team faced the Red Bulls again for the first time in 2018, struggling a bit in the early going with a 1-3-1 record in the first month of the season. After 90 minutes, the Fire not only had a small bit of redemption after the playoff blowout, but arguably the biggest win of the season to date.

The visitors struck with a goal in the first half and then one in the second half, using strong play in goal by Richard Sanchez to hold off New York down the stretch in a 2-1 win Saturday afternoon at Red Bulls Arena. The Fire keeper stopped nine shots on the afternoon as the aggressive Red Bulls put 11 shots on target for the afternoon.

Aleksandar Katai got the Fire on the board with his second goal of the season in the 30th minute. Nemanja Nikolic got his fifth goal of the season on a penalty kick in the 69th minute and that would be all Sanchez would need, as he allowed just one score on the day in the 81st minute to Bradley Wright-Phillips.

He shut down the Red Bulls the rest of the way in a critical win towards a great run in 2018 after the same team ended a breakthrough season six months earlier.