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Michelle Ackermann

Michelle Ackermann

Born in South Africa, soccer has always been a part of my life, and was pretty much ingrained in my genes. Journalism is my second love in life, and what better way to combine my two favorite things in life than to write about the one thing I am most passionate about. I follow the New York Red Bulls religiously, but have a deep passion for La Liga. This passion is part of the reason why I have moved to Barcelona to pursue my dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.


An Unlikely Suspect Finds the Equalizer for RBNY

Written by on May 22, 2011 | 4 Comments »
Posted in General, Houston Dynamo, MLS, New York RB

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.

4 responses to “An Unlikely Suspect Finds the Equalizer for RBNY”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    It says lots of a coach (negatively) that an obvious change in set piece taker was enforced by fans and press an not by the coach himself. IMO, Backe is a good asst. at best and lacks the necessary man management and tactical nous to lead ANY team to success.

    Marquez is looking more uninterested as each game passes and is deteriorating before our eyes.

    Will Backe get the winning formula right… I doubt it. Additionally, it seems like Backe (and his staff) lack the proper knowledge to develop talented youth like Ream and Agudelo who have stagnated a bit.

    PS Sutton seems like a more “steady” and taller option than Coundoul but neither impress in terms of commanding the area and decision making.

  2. Well, let me start by saying that I am not sure that he caved due to the pressure, BUT I will say this, during every single post-game conference the question of Marquez’s ability in corner kicks was asked by at least one reporter. Not only was that question directed at Coach Backe, but it has also been a constant one in the locker room. So, do not get me wrong, that is just my personal take from the post-game conferences.

    As for Marquez looking uninterested, I definitely agree with you on that statement, but the fans seem to love him. Maybe he has yet to find his place, but hopefully, sooner rather than later…he too will find his spot like Henry.

    I do hope that Backe can find the “winning formula”, after all, everyone loves to see a team come from behind! As for Ream, I disagree. I find myself drawn to watching him play, however as for Agudelo, I definitely agree. I am not sure why he is no longer in the starting line-up, after all, he is the USMNT golden boy. But I guess Backe has a different plan in mind.

    As for Sutton, he may be taller and steadier than Coundoul but I feel like the net is better protected by Coundoul; who may sometimes make reckless moves, but for the most part, they seem to pay off. Once again, that is merely my opinion.

  3. Soccerlogical says:

    Thanks Michelle… good stuff!

    PS When exactly do you expect a 33 yr old world class veteran like Marquez who is in his second season at NYRB to “find his place”? Perhaps when he returns from Gold Cup and Copa America duty with no gas in the tank? 🙂

    On paper, this team should be defeating all opposition except Galaxy so “coming from behind” reflects bad decision making by the coach which needs to be addressed ASAP.

  4. Haha, well I am not sure, but then again, it took Henry some time to find his, and now he seems to be unstoppable. Let me not jinx it by saying unstoppable,instead he seems to enjoy playing for RBNY, and dare I say it, alongside Luke Rodgers. I am aware that some of the previous comments on my articles made it clear that Rodgers seems to rub people the wrong way, but I for one truly enjoy watching him play.

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