Monday, August 15, 2011
So it was yet another missed opportunity for the Red Bulls as they played the struggling Chicago Fire to a 2-2 tie. Not a shocker, considering the Red Bulls and Fire are the Tie-Tans of MLS, with 13 and 14 respectively. This was a must win game for the Red Bulls, if they were to stay within strinking distance of Columbus & Philadelphia. Instead, with two more points dropped (and only 9 games left in their season), RBNY is now in real danger of missing the playoffs altogether and becoming MLS' biggest flop ever. The are several clubs in the Eastern Conference that are right behind them in the standings (Houston, KC, DC), and with games in hand, so the Red Bulls can only hope those clubs start dropping points.
Regarding the game itself, what's there to say except the Red Bulls, yet again, just didn't get it done. It all started well for the home team, with Thierry Henry notching another one of his signature golazos (his 12th of the season) in the 9th minute. But it was all Chicago after that, with their speedy forwards repeatedly burning the Red Bulls backline time and time again. It was 2-1 to Chicago at the half and, in front of a sell-out crowd, the Red Bulls were headed for another embarrassing loss. It was a good thing, for the majority of those in attendance, that Joel Lindpere had other ideas.
Photo credit: Dan Dickinson
The Estonian Maestro decided he'd had enough and one timed a Dane Richards cross into the bottom left corner of the Chicago goal. Instead of celebrating, the fired-up Lindpere proceeded to give referee Jair Marrufo a piece of his mind, earning himself a yellow in the process. Agudelo and new signing Stéphane Auvray were introduced in the 60th minute and immediately created a spark. A victory, however, was not in the cards for RBNY on this day. After the game, Head Coach Hans Backe declared himself satisfied with the effort but Thierry Henry didn't mince words and stated the Red Bulls deserve to be in their current predicament.
A shocking development in this game was the inclusion, in the starting lineup, of Goalkeeper Chris Konopka, most recently seen playing in Ireland. A local product, Konopka made a "dream start" for his hometown team and became the fifth goalkeeper to start an MLS game for the Red Bulls this season. That's all well and good, but to bring in a "pool" keeper, and give him the start over your regular #3 (Alex Horwath - who, thankfully, is still keeping his head high), drives home the point about what little belief Hans Backe has in his reserves.
Another fantastic time in the South Ward. For the first time ever, the supporters were united in song as one Capo was hooked up to speakers and led all three sections. A great development, this. Ronald McDonald was in attendance for this one but he wasn't the real clown @The Cathedral of Football. No - the real clowns were playing defense for the Red Bulls. Slow as molasses, these guys continued where they left off @Colorado & @RSL. They better get with it quick or it's going to be Another Lost Season for us.
Please see the video above for drunken pre-game comments. Please click here for Part II and click here for Part III. Please click here for my photo album or click here for the slide show. You can click here, as well, for a nice album from our own Dan Dickinson. That's it for me. Viper Out!