Yes the road game at Gillette Stadium was a letdown; yes the loss to the New England Revolution in mid-week action didn’t look good at all. Yet once again when this club takes a bad game it usually follows up with a solid performance in the next match and this time it was a cross country trip to the Pacific Northwest once again to Portland, Oregon to face the Timbers.
This Timbers team is looking very sad and embarrassing as they showed no fight and no punch after the first twenty minutes of the match and when the Red Bulls opened the scoring, it was an amazing amount of space that was given to Felipe as he smacked home his third of the season in the 42nd minute.
After the Timbers lost the ball by the bench side it was Jesse Marsch who grabbed it and bounced it back quickly to Kemar Lawrence who threw it back into play towards Felipe. Amazingly Will Johnson & Diego Chara gave him so much room that Felipe just decided to take a long distance shot and splashes inside the upper far 90 for a spectacular goal and a late first half lead.
But in first half stoppage time, the French central defender Damien Perrinelle was able to double the lead quickly and throw more doubt into the Timbers defense and question their passion. Sal Zizzo along the far side touchline crossed a beautiful ball that Perrinelle gets his head onto. And just a soft looping ball goes over the head of Timbers keeper Adam Larsen Kwarasey and gently lands over the goal line and inside the back of the net.
That was all the Red Bulls needed to take back to the east coast the full three points and become the first side in the league to clinch a playoff spot & their first win in three tries at Providence Park. Let’s also not forget that it puts the club back to the top of the Eastern Conference and have six matches remaining, along with two in hand on DC United, New England & Columbus. This was a fantastic performance against the Timbers as they were missing Captain Dax McCarty and Connor Lade on suspensions due to yellow card accumulation when they were booked against the Revolution four days ago.
Both Lloyd Sam & Mike Grella got a rest to start this match and in their places was Gonzalo Veron & Shaun Wright-Phillips who has finally started with his brother Bradley on the field for the first time in MLS and since they were with Manchester City of the English Premier League in two seasons from 2004 till 2006.
But the fun fact right now is that there are two races the Red Bulls are involved with and while Jesse Marsch won’t say it, I will. The Shield race with the Vancouver Whitecaps is on and they are threatening Carl Robinson’s side for that regular season title. If they don’t win the shield this season then finish off the regular season with a flourish by winning the Eastern Conference, at least it gives them an opening to return to the CONCACAF Champions League next season.
But once again we are seeing Jesse Marsch’s tactics working to perfection and the way this club has been performing match in & match out they are now posing as a real threat for the postseason and maybe the pundits might start looking at the team in Red & White as a serious contender.