The Seattle Sounders sent a significantly revamped lineup into Red Bulls Arena on Saturday, and they came out with their first loss since mid-August.
Major League Soccer goals leader Bradley Wright-Phillips scored his third hat trick of the season in leading New York to a 4-1 home win before a sellout crowd of 25,000.
"I would like to apologize for the poor performance tonight," defender Djimi Traore tweeted after. "We will come back stronger and we will never give up."
The onslaught came against a Sounders lineup lacking usual starters such as Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins at forward, Gonzalo Pineda and Brad Evans at midfield, and Leo Gonzalez and DeAndre Yedlin on the back line.
Dempsey and Martins came on for the final half hour, with the Sounders already trailing 3-0.
Dempsey scored two minutes after taking the pitch, cutting New York’s lead to 3-1. However, Tom Cahill scored in the 65th minute to set the final score.
The result ended Seattle’s five-game unbeaten steak and four-game winning streak.
The Sounders fell to 17-8-3, while the Red Bulls climbed to 10-8-11. The all-time series between the clubs clicked even at 3-3-3.
New York jumped ahead in the first half-minute as goalkeeper Stefan Frei punched away a shot by Ambroise Oyongo, but the deflection went to Wright-Phillips who returned it into the net.
Wright-Phillps made it 2-0 in the 53rd minute on a penalty kick called when Seattle defender Dylan Remick knocked down Lloyd Sam on the right side deep in the penalty area. Frei got his hand to the PK, but couldn’t deflect the ball off frame.
Two minutes later, Wright-Phillips got completed his hat trick, splitting defenders Chad Marshall and Djimi Traore.
That was Wright-Phillips’ 24th goal of the season, leaving him three short of the MLS record shared by Roy Lassiter and Chris Wondolowski with five regular-season games remaining.
Down three goals, there seemed the possibility that coach SIGI Schmid would give his resting players the entire night off, with another league game looming Wednesday at Dallas. Instead, he sent Dempsey and Martins onto the field within second of each other.
And the move paid off quickly as Dempsey took a pass from Lamar Neagle and knocked in his 12th goal of the season.
However, hopes of a Sounders comeback were snuffed in the 65th minute when Traore misplayed a clearance directly to Tim Cahill, who sent the shot through the Seattle defense and inside the far post.Final:
Series between the teams moves to 3-3-3 all-time.
66' Cahill splits about four Sounders defenders. NY, 4-1. Followed brutal defensive touch by Traore.
60' GOAL Sounders. Dempsey finishes break and finishes strong. Assist Neagle. NY, 3-1.
58th and 59th minutes: Perhaps surprisingly, Martins and Dempsey on for Barrett and Cooper.
56' GOAL NY. Wright-Phillips scores again, splitting Marshall and Traore for the hat trick. Red Bulls, 3-0.
54' GOAL NY. Wright-Phillips scores. Frei gets a hand to it, but not enough to knock it off frame. NY, 2-0.
53' PK awarded to Red Bulls as Remick misses tackle and dumps Sam in area.Second half: ... has begun. No changes on either side. Yet.
Halftime: New York, 1-0.
Schmid to NBCSN: "It took us about 10 minutes to wake up."
And regarding using his star-studded bench in the second half: "We'll see how it goes. ... Give this group a little more time in the second half and then see about making changes."
Through 30: Still, 1-0, Red Bulls. Game has evened out for last 15 minutes or so. Kenny Cooper has been dangerous.
First 15 minutes: First 10 was all Red Bulls. Sounders finally started to get forward thereafter, with Cooper putting the best chance over the bar.
1' GOAL NY. MLS goals leaders Bradley Wright-Phillips 22nd goal of season on a rebound. Red Bulls, 1-0.
First kick: ... has been struck. We're under way. Sounders in pitch black; Red Bulls in white/red.
Lineups: For Seattle: Sounders: Frei; Anibaba, Marshall, Traore, Remick; Neagle, Rose, Alonso, Pappa; Cooper, Barrett. Reserves: Hahnemann, Scott, Dempsey, Martins, Azira, Yedlin, Pineda.
For Red Bulls: Robles, Duvall, Olave, Sekagya, Miller, Sam, Alexander, McCarty, Oyongo, Henry, Wright-Phillips. Reserves: Meara, Eckersley, Armando, Christianson, Stevenson, Luyindula, Cahill.
Pregame: The Sounders return to league play at the New York Red Bulls this evening. Coverage on NBCSN will begin at 4:30 PT. We'll also have updates and comments on Twitter @donruiztnt and will keep this blog going before, during and after the match. The game also cane be heard on the usual radio outlets.