The clock was ticking towards the 90th minute and the score was tied at one a piece. It had to be the perfect moment for the Red Bulls to try and get that tally and hold on thru four minutes of stoppage time. A solid pass to Ambroise Oyongo towards the near side and a botched cross that popped up in the air put thoughts into everyone’s head that this game was headed for extra time.
But it was Bradley Wright-Phillips who scored the winner as he was left alone to create a glancing header towards the far post and caught Eric Kronberg off his line and no Matt Besler who failed to cover him as the ball deflects inside the net to bring an explosion from the Red Bull Arena crowd that no one expected.
After allowing a bad pass in the midfield and it was converted by Dom Dwyer in the 53rd minute, those feelings of past Playoff losses and the curses of yesteryear were brought back to haunt the fans that have been supporting this club since the league began in 1996, but for some strange reason this side never panicked and never lost their shape.
The Tying goal was scored in the 77th minute as the Red Bulls continued to face a Sporting Kansas City side that brought nine men back towards their net and tried to defend a one goal advantage, but that defending was unlocked as Peguy Luyindula gave Thierry Henry a fantastic pass through the defense and a quick cross to Wright-Phillips who toe poked the shot that deflected off a defender and past Kronberg to level the match.
“The guys showed resiliency and guts, which is perhaps something I’m more proud of than any goals, any tactics.” Said Head Coach Mike Petke, “Kansas City is a great team, they really are. Peter Vermes is someone that I admire, being older, having played against him in the league when he was going out of the league and now seeing what he’s done with them, they’re a great team. They’re a quality side, they got a goal and the guts we showed, I’m very proud of our guys.”
After ninety minutes of hard working playoff soccer the Red Bulls with their red hot goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips defeated Sporting Kansas City by a score of two goals to one and will now host their bitter rivals in DC United in a two legged playoff format in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals this Sunday.
Author: Daniel Feuerstein