Friday, May 27, 2011

RBNY vs Rapids: Deja Vu

At the end of the first half of Wednesday's RBNY/Rapids game, I turned to one of my friends and asked: haven't I seen this game before? Shades of that game, against Chivas USA, where Justin Braun single-handedly burned us for two goals in the first half, then scored the winner early in the second. Like that Chivas USA game, the Red Bulls showed great character by coming back, after being down twice in the first half. Unlike that game, and thankfully for us, RBNY managed NOT giving up a winner to the visitors. That, however, was just dumb luck.

In the 27th minute, the Rapids went up through a bogus penalty kick. Red Bulls left back Roy Miller fouled Rapids forward Andre Akpan OUTSIDE the RBNY box, but the incompetent referee (aren't they all) saw it differently. As my TVN associate Matt Conroy stated: we got "stitched up like a kipper" by both the Ref and his linesman. I mean, really, WTF? Greg Sutton actually saved the ensuing penalty, taken by Jeff Larentowicz, but couldn't hold on to the rebound. The Rapids' man the cooly put it past Sutton's left. Henry answered right back (about a minute later), thanks to a great play by Ballouchy, Lindpere & DeRo, with his sixth goal of the season. Parity, however, wouldn't last very long.

Another foul outside the box would lead to a Colorado free kick. Jeff Larentowicz would take that, as well, and he scored with ease. Apparently, someone in the RBNY wall moved and Larentowicz seemed to pass the ball into the left corner of the goal. Sutton didn't even move. I believe that makes 6 set piece goals (7, if you include the penalty) against the Red Bulls in 4 games. That is just an insane statistic.

The Red Bulls showed even more character by coming back from that one. Just one minute after Colorado's second goal, Luke Rodgers (who is fast becoming my favorite Red Bulls player ever) took a chip from Roy Miller and, from an acute angle, managed to chip Colorado goalkeeper Matt Pickens. It was such a fantastic goal that the great You Suck Corrales quickly dubbed the diminutive Englishman Luke "Messi".

Red Bulls killer Conor Casey would enter the game, twenty minutes into the second half, and I feared the worst. The Deja Vu, however, ended at half-time, as the visiting team would not get a second half winner. We would see another great chance by Rodgers, that was saved by Pickens, and several Colorado chances wasted. By rights, the Red Bulls should have lost this one, in added time, as Sutton pulled a Bouna (an ill-advised run off his line), but a Rapids player (I believe it was Quincy Amarikwa), mercifully, put the ball wide.

Photo Credit: Dan Dickinson

Alrighty then! Another opportunity, at home, wasted. Again, the Red Bulls defense, which was virtually air-tight trough 8 games, was cut like butter by Colorado's offense. If the Rapids had taken advantage of their open play opportunities, the scoreline could have gotten way out of hand (in their favor). Thank the Gods that Omar Cummings and Caleb Folan were not available for this one (and also that Conor Casey only played 25 minutes).

Despite the dissapointing result, there are some positives we can take from this one. First the continuing emergence of Luke Rodgers as one of the deadliest forwards in MLS. A World Class finish today, for his 4th of the season, (which, btw, he celebrated with the great Johnny Toro) and the most unbelievable work rate, is making me wonder if some Euro Team will come in for the "swoop". Everytime Rodgers plays like this, Mr. Backe looks more and more a genious for his insistence in signing the diminutive Englishman.

Photo Credit:

Another positive, to take from this game, was the inspired play of none other than Mehdi Ballouchy (pictured above). I half-jokingly called his performance in this one as being Pibe Valderrama-like. Maybe that was going a tad too far, but Balluchy was putting in great through balls, crosses and passes as if he knew what he was doing. With our luck, he'll be crap again the next game, but here's hoping that's not the case.

On a side note, this game was attended by none other than Arsenal duo Robin Van Persie and Cesc Fabregas. Van Persie even made like a tourist outside RBA and twitted about how much he enjoyed the experience. These guys are, apparently, also Mets fans. You can't get cooler than that!

Please see the video above for pre-game and first half drunken comments. Please click here for our half-time & full-time comments. Please click here for my photo album, or click here for the slide show. You can also click here for a very nice photo album, courtesy of Daily Harrison and here for an album from the official site.

That's all for now. Viper Out!
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