As the New York Red Bulls entered the stadium, the humidity and heat was merely one of the factors working against the team which up until this point, enjoyed a 4-game winning streak. It was 85 degrees in Houston, and prior to the game, the fitness squad had ensured the players stay hydrated by drinking 4 ounces every half hour. The humidity was clear from simply looking at the faces of the players, all drenched in their dark blue RBNY away kits.
From the minute the whistle blew, the crowd was in for an amazing game, which started with a goal from Dane Richards in the 39th second. It was a long ball from midfielder, Teemo Tainio that found Luke Rodgers and finally the boot of Richards. The goal by Richards was also the fastest goal in the RBNY franchise.
It did not take long for Houston Dynamo to equalize, and in the 11th minute they did just that through a penalty taken by Brad Davis, which seemed to pass by the 6’6 goalkeeper, Greg Sutton, without any problems. This was the first game for Sutton after Bouna Coundoul’s seceded 3 goals in last weekend’s match against Chivas USA.
Sutton was not the only change to a line-up that fans have become accustomed to; Thierry Henry also did not make the trip out to Houston, and instead Coach Hans Backe paired up Juan Agudelo and Luke Rodgers in the front for the Red Bulls.
After pressure from fans and press about the quality of Rafa Marquez’s cornerkicks, that seem to never find anyone, Backe decided to switch it up by putting Joel Lindpere and Dwayne De Rosario in charge of corner kicks. Marquez himself stated that he was open to other players taking corner kicks, following the match last weekend.
By the end of the first half, the score was 1-1. The second half brought two anxious teams to the field, battling for that winning goal. Players seemed to get reckless in their quest, and the first player to falter was Rafa Marquez who received a yellow card in the 62nd minute. Merely a minute later, a yellow was given to Davis for a reckless foul on Marquez. Houston kept putting the pressure on with two chances in both the 65th and the 71st minute.
In the 80th minute, the game took a turn as Davis took a free kick for Houston, which led to the corner kick off of Jan Gunnar Solli. Sergio Koke would find the net for Houston Dynamo in the 81st.It was his first goal of the season, and put Houston Dynamo in the lead.
This left RBNY chasing for an equalizer, and the pressure was clear. De Rosario came close in the 87th minute, but it would be the three minutes of additional time that would lead to a Lindpere-corner which found Ballouchy and granted him his first goal of the season; the RBNY playmaker has only played one full game for the team this season. Ballouchy came on in the 79th minute and was substituted for Agudelo.
The game did not live up to expectations for most RBNY fans, although personally I enjoyed watching Backe utilize alternate players to try out corner kicks, which clearly seemed to bring better results than those taken by Marquez. Unfortunately, RBNY fell to the second spot in the East, following Philadelphia Union’s win over Chicago Fire.
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