Monday, September 13, 2010

Red Bulls Show Their Horns in 3-1 Win vs. Colorado

Slowly but surely the pieces are falling into place for the Red Bulls, just in time for the home stretch - and what now seems certain to be a playoffs appearance.  Thanks to two glorious team goals by Thierry Henry and Tim Ream (his first as a professional), as well as an opportunistic third by the revitalized Dane Richards midway through the second half, the Red Bulls coasted to what was probably their most comfortable league home win of the season.  Unbelievably, this was the first time the Red Bulls had put more than two past an opponent in an MLS game since moving to Harrison.

Despite the undeniable home field advantage provided by Red Bull Arena, nailbiters have been par for the course at the Cathedral of Football.  For once on Saturday afternoon fans could enjoy the last fifteen minutes of the game and bask in the glorious sunshine.  Could it be that the epic flood that resulted in the cancellation of the Arena's soft opening has driven off the bad weather demons for the remainder of the season?  Or am I tempting fate?  In any case, the mood around the place after the game Saturday was upbeat to say the least.  Viper will be along later with his video and - this week at least - Arsenal-centric wrap-up (he was in the upper deck on Saturday with a sizable group of US-based Arsenal supporters and even got an audience with Henry after the game).  I may even put up some video if I can get around to editing it.  I have to say that I'm not hating the occasional early start.  Get in, get a few pre-game beers at Bello's, hit the stadium, then enjoy a nice dinner in the Ironbound afterward.  No complaints here.

OK enough about the food and drink - it's the football that matters most.  When Marquez, Henry and Angel are all on the pitch together and all of the other pieces are in place this is a team to be reckoned with.  Hans Backe seems to have settled for now on a best XI that has Marquez paired with Tchani in the middle of the park, Lindpere and Richards running the show on the flanks, and Stammler and Kandji as first choice subs.  Assuming that everyone stays healthy (and that's a big assumption), I can see this team matching up favorably with almost any other in MLS.  While it could be a while before the Red Bulls' eventual playoff opponent is decided, the potential is certainly there for this club to make some waves.  Special mention has to go to the Estonian bulldog Lindpere, who seems to have developed an excellent understanding with Henry.  His perfectly weighted backheel for the opening goal was a thing of beauty.  What a find this guy has been!

Before they return home the Red Bulls go on the road for what could be two very challenging games, in Dallas and Los Angeles.  There is still a chance for New York to make a run at the Supporters' Shield, but it would seem to be a longshot, even with Columbus losing in LA this weekend.  Then again, who knows?  In any case, with the recent string of results at home, RBNY has set themselves up nicely.  They now have a 12 point cushion on Toronto and 13 and 14 point advantages over Kansas City and Chicago, respectively (both with two games in hand).  A second place finish in the East seems a near certainty, though finishing top of the conference is still not out of the question.

If you want to hear me babble on about the MLS games this weekend, check out my appearance on World Soccer Reader's Inside the Six this morning - I'm on in the final segment with Kevin McCauley.  In addition to WSR and Talking Bull (Ben and I will have another episode for you this week before the Dallas game), I am also writing a weekly column on Serie A for All Things Footy.  You can check out last week's preview here.  For those of you who think that Serie A is "boring," I implore you to watch a replay of the Juventus-Sampdoria and Napoli-Bari games from this weekend.  Thrilling stuff!

Finally, our condolences to Carl Robinson, whose father passed away recently.  The players wore black armbands on Saturday in Mr. Robinson's honor.  Stay strong, Carl.  We hope to see you back on the pitch soon.
blog comments powered by Disqus