September 10, 2011
It was a game that was considered a “must win” by both Thierry Henry and Coach Hans Backe. Fans were hopeful, as the opponent was last placed, Vancouver Whitecaps; a team that RBNY should be able to beat if they are still hopeful of making the playoffs.
The game was off to a slow start, but then again that has been the pattern for RBNY this season. Backe chose a 4-4-2 formation with Coundoul guarding the net. Back four consisted of Solli, Mendes, Ream and Albright, while the midfield saw Auvray, Mccarty, Marquez and Lindpere. On attack was Dane Richards and Captain, Thierry Henry. On paper, it seemed like a formation capable of beating a team that has not had a stellar season.
The first half saw a few attempts from RBNY; a lot of footwork between Richards, Henry and Mccarty, but the trio could not seem to capitalize on any of their opportunities. Defensively, RBNY appeared frazzled in the first half, and in the 23rd minute the weak defense would allow Vancouver to take the lead with Davide Chiumiento breaking through five RBNY defenders, leaving Coundoul helpless. It would be the striker’s second goal of the season.
Once again, RBNY found themselves down a goal and before thinking about a win, they would once again have to focus on equalizing. The prospect of the chase led to frustration, quite evident all over the field as RBNY players started playing recklessly. It started with Rafa’s yellow in the 31st for a reckless tackle. That being said, one would assume a player would be more careful when attacking other players, yet it seemed that the card had simply fueled the anger.
It was the red card in the 46th minute that changed the game; Jan Gunnar Solli was called on a foul for denying a goal scoring opportunity. A foul that many considered not worthy of a red card, further adding to the fire; the fans made themselves heard following the red card and Solli was clearly angered as he stormed off the field cursing. RBNY were now down a man, and still trailing by one goal.
The second half saw a Red Bull team emerge from the locker room ready to find that equalizer, and perhaps a win. However, Eric Hassli made the RBNY defense look nonexistent as he literally ran circles around them, making more than one break away during the second half. In the 60th minute, Backe chose to take Auvray off and bring in youngster, Juan Agudelo. Less than ten minutes later, an amazing pass from Rafa to Agudelo, who was in the perfect spot, found the net for his 6th goal of the season.
No longer were they trailing, but the referee kept calling every little action taken by RBNY, with another yellow card given to Henry in the 73rd, following Vancouver clearly wasting time, forcing Henry to walk over to the referee and make his thoughts known. The referee seemed to get more attention than the players during this game, as he let two clear handballs by Vancouver slide, yet not granting the same freedom to RBNY.
RBNY did keep the fight alive until the very last minute; a few chances late in the third coming from Richards and Henry, but both being unable to break through Vancouver GK, Cannon. There was a glimmer of hope in the 86th as RBNY was granted a free kick, one taken by Henry and done so unsuccessfully. Many fans relieved that Rafa was not to take the kick, but Henry didn’t seem to do any better than Rafa in those situations. As the final whistle blew, it would be the 15th tie for RBNY this season, having not won a game in two months.
With the accumulation of all these cards, RBNY will be without Miller, Marquez and Solli when they take on powerhouse, FC Dallas. The remaining seven games are all against strong teams, and considering a tie is the best RBNY could do against a mediocre team like Vancouver, it may be time to face the reality that RBNY will most likely not make the playoffs.
Backe was his usual positive self post game claiming that “We are still in it.” He said it was frustrating, as RBNY is forced to change their lineup all the time due to injuries and cards, making it harder for the team to find momentum.
Mccarty was forthcoming with his thoughts stating that “It hurts. I don’t want to use the word devastating, but we are under no illusion. We are hanging on by the thinnest thread.” Concerns for the match against his former team, FC Dallas was clear; “I know how good they are. There are a lot of talented players; it is going to be tough.” The same sentiment was shared by Coundoul , stating that it is down to “do or die.” Everyone is well aware of how strong FC Dallas is, and RBNY will have to pray for a miracle if they have any hope of a victory over FC Dallas.
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