HARRISON, NEW JERSEY — It took until the final kick of the final game of the 2023 regular season for the New York Red Bulls to finally secure their place in the postseason for a 14th consecutive season. It took all but the first shot on goal in their next game to state their intentions that their stay in the MLS Cup Playoffs will not be a short one.
Striker Elias Manoel scored twice during an electrifying first-half for the New York Red Bulls, who defeated Charloote FC 5-2 in the MLS Cup Playoffs Wild Card round inside Red Bulls Arena. THe win lifts the Red Bulls to a date with the Supporters’ Shield Champions, FC Cincinnati, for a best-of-three series starting on Sunday.
New York squeaked into the playoffs last Saturday on a 94th minute penalty that was converted by John Tolkin in a 1-0 win against Nashville FC, keeping their playoff streak alive, but it only took 10 minutes off the clock on Wednesday to get off on the front foot against the Charlotte team making its first-ever playoff appearance. Manoel took a lofted pass into the box from Daniel Edelman and fired a right-footed volley into the far corner of the net to start the scoring.
Tolkin, the native of Charham, New Jersey, provided the highlight of the first half with an exquisite left-footed free kick from outside the box that found the top corner in the 26th minute, his fourth goal of the campaign.
Manoel and Tolkin combined to complete the dominant first half for the Red Bulls, as the latter’s through ball found Manoel just inside of the box on the left side. Manoel then shaped his body to face the goal quickly before lofting a curling effort into the top corner and complete the three-goal demolition.
*Editor’s note: Above the byline is the photo gallery from Saturday evening’s contest, with photos taken by ALOST staff photographer Danny Suriel. After clicking on the first photo to enlarge the picture, make sure to press the left and right arrow buttons to scroll through the rest of the pictures. There are 25 pictures in total.