This was the best playoff series within the structure of Major League Soccer as the two sides fighting for the Eastern Conference Title were on Gillette Stadium field turf to try and stamp their ticket to either Los Angeles or Seattle for the right to fight for the championship of MLS.
But sadly for the Red Bulls it wasn’t meant to be as they fell short in the goal aggregate series as they fell to a final of 4 goals to 3 in favor of the surprising New England Revolution, but at the start of this contest it was the Red Bulls who got on the board first as the most maligned attacker had a bad season.
Thierry Henry delivered a fantastic ball towards the New England area and saw Tim Cahill challenging Jose Goncalves for position near the goal. Then out of nowhere as the ball bounced Cahill shot a toe poke between Goncalves legs and past Shuttleworth to level the aggregate score in the 26th minute.
But the Revolution retook the aggregate lead in the 41st minute as they took a short corner and after the cross was made it looked like Charlie Davies handled the ball and deflected it past Luis Robles. Sadly referee Baldomero Toledo missed this, but from his position being so far from the area and a lot of bodies blocking his vision, there was no way he was able to see that hand ball and take away the goal.
But the Red Bulls once again were able to grab a second and force the situation on the Revolution and this time it was Peguy Luyindula who found pay dirt and got the lead back again. Lloyd Sam gets the ball at midfield and tries to cross it towards Cahill who was double covered, but it deflects of a defender and Luyindula sneaks in out of nowhere and retook the lead in the game in the 52nd minute.
That meant the aggregate was tied at three & the Red Bulls matched New England’s two away goals from the 1st leg, if the game ended in regulation with a tied aggregate this game was headed to extra time. But once again Charlie Davies took advantage of a mental gaffe from Ambroise Oyongo and converted his second of the game and fourth of the playoffs.
In the 70th minute Oyongo had a miscommunication with Luis Robles as you saw these two collide a bit & then Robles cleared the ball, but not far enough. The Revolution took advantage of the mad scramble and on a cross by Chris Tierney Davies headed in the aggregate winner.
After 20 minutes of regulation and 3 to 4 extra minutes of 2nd half stoppage time, the Red Bulls once again fail to make a trip to their second MLS Cup Final. But while this was another tough heartbreak by the club not getting to the promise land, this one is easier to handle.
Because these two seasons under the direction of head coach Mike Petke has shown plenty of progress for the 2nd year manager and local hero. He went through a tough and mediocre regular season with an early exit from the US Open Cup & crashing out of the CONCACAF Champions League, but made it up with a solid playoff run.
We shall see what happens during the offseason to rebuild this roster for the 2015 season, but you should be proud of how far this club has come and how far Mike Petke has come as a head coach.
Author: Daniel Feuerstein
Join Daniel Feuerstein & Rick Laughland as they Preview the Monday Night Match Up as the New York Jets host the Miami Dolphins at Met Life Stadium.
Join Daniel Feuerstein and Rick Laughland as they Review the first game back from the Bye Week as the New York Jets were romped in Western New York by the Buffalo Bills.
Join Daniel Feuerstein & Rick Laughland as they Preview the Week 12 match-up as the New York Jets return from the Bye week and take a trip to Western New York & face again the Buffalo Bills with Rich Stadium Dreams blog writer Earl Reed.
This was a knock-em out, drag-em out type of game as the two sides that reside along Interstate 95 was going to battle it out to see who will take advantage in the 2nd leg at Gillette Stadium and with five minutes remaining in regulation time it would be Jermaine Jones who would slide into the ball and convert for the 2nd away goal for the Revolution and take a 2-1 lead on aggregate.
That one defensive breakdown that was so crucial for both sides went against the Red Bulls as Lee Nguyen made a nice pass to Teal Bunbury who stayed onside along with Jones and as Luis Robles came out to stop that ball, it was too late and Jones slid into it and converted.
It was a raucous start to the game as Red Bull Arena was 25,000 strong with over 1,200 visiting fans coming down from the Boston area that made you feel proud to be a fan of the game from the United States.
The first two goals of the match came quick and hard with a beautifully struck ball from Teal Bunbury who bent it from distance and splashed the inside of the far post for the first away goal of the match. But the Red Bulls found a way to climb back into this tie with a beauty of their own.
27th minute and the Red Bulls nearly lost the ball, but Ibrahim Sekagya found a way to retain possession and gave it to Ambroise Oyongo who sprinted down towards the net. A quick pass to Peguy Luyindula who took his first shot and a save by Bobby Shuttleworth, yet allowed a rebound chance to Luyindula again on the ground and a hard swing that nailed the post.
But it was Bradley Wright-Phillips who got to the rebound and headed it home to level the score and his 31st goal of the season in combined regular season & playoffs. But this game wasn’t just hard fought; it was also filled with Yellow cards that Referee Allen Chapman didn’t have to deal to both sides.
Questionable calls by this referee were aimed at both sides and once again this game which was a fantastic effort from both sides was ruined by Chapman who continues to fail as a so-called top official from either PRO or US Soccer. Bradley Wright-Phillips who was carrying a yellow card got booked for Encroachment on a free kick foul will now miss the 2nd leg on Saturday at Gillette Stadium.
But for Head Coach Mike Petke he felt the start was a bit slow as usual for his side. “We usually start a little bit on the back foot almost every game. They stepped up and pressed, they had the header from (Jermaine) Jones which was one of about three of four clear chances they had and that woke us up a little bit. And then our passing was very good in the first half. Our ability to find Eric (Alexander) and Peguy (Luyindula) behind the line and free Bradley (Wright-Phillips) up, Lloyd (Sam)” had a good day.
Now with five days between games can the Red Bulls ratchet up their intensity and try to return the favor like the Revolution did against them. One away goal won’t be enough as the Red Bulls need two to force the situation on Aggregate, we shall see what happens.
Author: Daniel Feuerstein
Join Daniel Feuerstein and Rick Laughland as they review the last game on the Jets Schedule before the team goes on the by week as the Green and White hosted the Pittsburgh Steelers.
Sunday’s matinee at the Barclays Center was a seesaw affair that saw Lionell Hollins and company pull away late to earn their fourth victory of the season.
The Nets eclipsed the 100-point mark for the fifth time this season as 25-year-old rookie Bojan Bogdanovich dropped in a season-high 22 points on 9-of-12 shooting to go along with six rebounds.
Brook Lopez, in just his third game back from injury, added 12 points and five rebounds but proved to be a defensive liability as Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic poured in 27 points and 12 rebounds.
Hollins benched Lopez in the final quarter and moved Kevin Garnett to center, a defensive shift that paid dividends down the stretch.
The Nets embark on a three game West Coast swing facing Phoenix on Wednesday, Golden State on Thursday and Portland on Saturday before returning home to square off with Miami next Monday.
Brooklyn has feasted on bottom feeders this year earning all four victories against sub .500 squads.
The Nets new-look offense is producing results as they rank No. 5 in the NBA in scoring at just under 105 points per game. Deron Williams looks rejuvenated under Hollins’ leadership and has an extra bounce in his step following orthoscopic surgery on his balky ankles this offseason.
As the Nets prepare for the toughest stretch of their 2014 campaign, fans will soon find out where they stack up in a wide open Eastern Conference.
Join Daniel Feuerstein and Rick Laughland as theypPreview the Week 10 match up as the New York Jets host the Pittsburgh Steelers before Gang Green's bye week.
New York Jets and Giants Insider for Fox Sports and Scout.com, Rick Laughland joins Chris Plank and Arnie Spanier to recap Michael Vick's loss to the Chiefs before previewing the Giants Monday Night Matchup versus the Colts
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Join Daniel Feuerstein & Rick Laughland as they recap the Week 9 road match up as the New York Jets travel back to the Midwest and face the Kansas City Chiefs & talk about the Philadelphia reunion of Marty Mornhinweg & Andy Reid.
Since the league got started back in 1996 the last time the New York Red Bulls earned a playoff victory over their hated rivals in DC United it was a shootout win with Peter Vermes limping on the Giants Stadium Astroturf field trying to convert a chance to win that game and he did.
But since then the Metros/Red Bulls haven’t had any luck beating DC United in that first playoff series and the next three as the team from our Nation’s Capital have found ways to defeated and befuddle this club every playoff chance they got.
But the first playoff win against DC United finally came to fruition as the New York Red Bulls within a 72 hour period came out on their home field and dominated the first leg of this goal aggregate tie with a 2-0 victory.
DC United came out putting a ton of pressure against the Red Bulls, but somehow the side that should’ve been out of breath started to turn it around and created plenty of chances to take advantage of the match. Their first tally came in the 40th minute with some pretty passing and a connection that has been perfect Since April 23rd.
Lloyd Sam from the far side gave Thierry Henry a beautiful ball down the field and just inside the DC area, but with a defender on him Henry was able to hold the ball and a quick back heel flick across the field. It had enough pace on it as Luyindula left it alone and Bradley Wright-Phillips took a hard shot that beat Bill Hamid for the lead with five minutes left before half time.
All throughout the game the Red Bulls were dominating the regular season Eastern Conference winners and every single time they had a chance to get a second Bill Hamid was right there to keep DC United in the game, till the 73rd minute when the Red Bulls put an exclamation point on the match. Another brilliant ball from Henry as he crossed it from the far touch line to the middle of the field as Peguy Luyindula with a gentle touch collected the ball with his right foot and when Hamid came off his line, all Luyindula had to do was slot it underneath Hamid’s leg and roll it inside the net.
“It was a big victory.” Said Head Coach Mike Petke, “It started off, in the first 10-15 minutes it was obvious that they were rested and physically up for it, and we looked a little slower than usual. They put it on us a little, great pressure by them, I think after that it opened up a little bit, and once we were able to find the wings and play a couple of penetrating balls, I think from then on, especially in the second half, we found a lot more success.”
But on the DC side of things Ben Olsen was not happy with the performance from his side. “I think New York put a whooping on us. They were very good and we weren’t. We weren’t great for large stretches of that game, they’ve got a lot of class out there and the way they pass the ball and I thought their midfield in particularly was very sharp and (Thierry) Henry, when he chooses to, is one of the best players in this league.
Now with the road goals rule being involved for the first time in the MLS Cup Playoffs the Red Bulls have a chance to take advantage in six days to convert on the road and force more pressure on DC United and advance to the Eastern Conference Final and that would be the next best thing for this run to get better.
Author: Daniel Feuerstein
The Giants Beat publisher joins the Michael Harmon show to preview the New York Giants upcoming contest against the Indianapolis Colts and talks about the New York Jets Sunday afternoon match-up with the Kansas City Chiefs at Arrowhead Stadium.
Join Daniel Feuerstein & Rick Laughland as they preview the next road game for the Jets as they head back to the Midwest and face one of the top teams in the AFC West taking on the Kansas City Chiefs and the reunion of their Philadelphia Days between Andy Reid, Marty Mornhinweg and Michael Vick.