Posted by Rick Laughland Posted on 1:44:00 AM with No comments
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