New York Red Bulls Reach East Semis
Added by Aydin Reyhan on October 27, 2011.
The New York Red Bulls had all odds stacked against them tonight when they played a wild card match away at a tough FC Dallas. NY has been inconsistent all season but tonight, they knew they had to shake off the cobwebs and step up to the plate. After a lack luster game from both sides, NY was the one on top.
The game began with Dallas missing chance after chance with NY counting their blessings. Brek Shea curled a cross towards Jackson but veteran NY keeper Frank Rost dove in front of him to punch it away.
In the 61st minute, Dane Richard’s back heel was crossed in sleekly by Mehdi Ballouchy which reached the foot of Joel Lindpere who slotted home to take the lead. It was a well run play that led to the cheeky finish by the man who has come up big for NY all season. He is also the only player to have started every single one of the 34 games NY has played.
Dallas would push for an equalizer and their job was supposed to become a bit easier when Solli’s tackle on Hernandez earned him a straight red; forcing him to be ejected from the game. Dallas would gain a few chances, but to no avail.
To make matters worse, right back Zach Lloyd was forced off with injury. Since Dallas had already used all three of their subs, Dallas had to play the remainder of the game in the same way as NY did—with ten men. This did not help them in the slightest.
In the final seconds of the game, everyone but Thierry Henry was on NY’s side of the field. After a failed Dallas attack, Keel of NY cleared the ball away from danger and it reached Henry who was on a breakaway. Hernandez was right behind him but he couldn’t do much as Dallas keeper Hartman did get a shot on Henry’s shot, but it deflected towards goal. Henry jogged over and tapped it home to seal the 2-0 victory.
NY played a tough game tonight and were very fortunate that not a single one of Dallas’s shots were converted into goal. Luckily for New York, two decent plays ended up as goals and earned them a ticket to Sunday’s Easter Semi-final first leg match up against LA at home.
They tied 1-1 in LA in the first game they played this season, and NY took the second 2-0 at home. Now is a totally different ball game as LA will have a full squad to field as NY will be without Solli. This shouldn’t be a problem as Pedro Mendes will be more than ready to fill in his shoes on the right side of the defense.
NY will play the first leg on Sunday at 3:00 p.m. EST with the second leg to be played next Thursday from LA at 11:00 p.m. EST. These two matches should be tightly contested as records no longer matter. LA certainly has the better regular season record but they were not able to defeat NY this season. Now they will look to do so when it matters most.
NY will have to be on the more consistent side as they play an LA side that will finally be able to use the connection of David Beckham and Landon Donovan. Those two seem to work better together than Henry and Marquez. However, Henry did score tonight and Marquez played very well defensively as well as offensively with his passes. Those two combos will have to be at their very best for their respective clubs.
NY should be able to defeat LA by at least one goal at home but it will be an entirely different ball game in LA. The Galaxy is never an easy side to defeat at the Home Depot Center so the RedBulls cannot let that become a factor. If they succumb to the pressure, it will be good night Charlie as they will have to bid farewell to their season.
A season ago, NY was knocked out in the first round by San Jose, who was the 8 seed in their Conference. NY were first in the East and after winning 1-0 in San Jose, they lost 3-1 at home in the return leg. It is a loss they will want to forget and by defeating Dallas against all odds tonight, they began to do so. LA is next up in this adventure so let’s see if they can provide yet another remarkable victory. This could be their year if they surpass the challenge posed by the number one overall seed Los Angeles.