Daniel Royer scored his sixth and seventh goals of the season in the Red Bulls’ 2-1 win over New York City FC at Red Bull Arena on Sunday in a game rocked by controversy.
Royer scored from the penalty spot before halftime to tie the match at 1-1. He then scored quickly after a disputed throw-in in the 60th minute for his first multi-goal game of the season. The win in the Hudson River Derby lifted the Red Bulls (9-7-4, 31 points) three spots to third in the Eastern Conference standings.
Royer headed the Red Bulls into the lead in the 60th minute on a sequence that left NYCFC protesting the decision to award the hosts a throw-in instead of a corner.
After the visitors cleared the ball, assistant referee Corey Rockwell appeared to point his flag downward toward the corner flag, the signal for a corner kick. Instead, the Red Bulls’ Marc Rzatkowski took the throw-in quickly and Cristian Casseres Jr. crossed into the box, where Royer headed it beyond goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
Johnson and several of his teammates pleaded with referee Alan Kelly after the goal, and Kelly and Rockwell held a discussion, but the goal stood. According to the telecast on FS1, Rockwell had in fact ruled for a corner, but Kelly then overruled the decision.
“I said ‘You made a mistake, and you know that’,” said NYCFC coach Dome Torrent, who was restrained twice by his own players after trying to confront Kelly. “He decided the game. I said to him ‘You decided the game and you know that. You decided the game. You are not brave, you decided the game.’
“What is the reason why? Maybe he made a mistake, and it’s not a corner. I accept that. But when you say corner, two, three seconds and tell my player it’s a corner, it’s a mistake.”
Earlier, Royer’s penalty kick leveled the match in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. Kelly immediately pointed to the spot as NYCFC’s Maxime Chanot caught Brian White with an outstretched leg as White tried to take down Alex Muyl’s cross from the right. Royer ripped his spot kick into the top left corner beyond Johnson’s dive.
NYCFC had the lead after seven minutes. After a give-and-go with Heber, Maxi Moralez sprayed the ball wide right to Anton Tinnerholm, who curled in a cross toward goal with his first touch. Heber ran onto it, side-footing it with his first touch off the underside of the crossbar and over the goal line.
It was Heber’s seventh goal for NYCFC (7-3-8, 29 points), which fell one spot to sixth in the East with their second consecutive defeat.
Before those losses, NYCFC had gone 12 games without a defeat, but they fell to 1-5-1 all-time in away matches against their rivals.
“Today, I’m so sorry for the soccer because it’s not fair what happened in this game,” Torrent said. “I don’t like to talk about the referees, but it’s impossible not to talk about the referees tonight. Everybody knows what happened. If you have a doubt, you can watch the TV. It’s clear.”
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