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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.


Playoff Fever Grips Big Apple as RBNY Clinch Spot

Written by on October 21, 2011 | 5 Comments »
Posted in General

As much as I enjoy seeing the underdog succeed, I am also a realist and strongly believe that teams that have been consistent and hard working all season are far more deserving of clinching a playoff spot than a team that may have been consistent, if one were to count “ties”. Then again, this is no time to delve into my gripe of how the MLS is set up.

It was a night for the history books; a clash considered by many as the “El Clasico” of the MLS Eastern Conference; New York Red Bulls v Philadelphia Union. A match that carried much significance for both teams; RBNY needed a win or a tie to clinch a playoff spot, while the Union, who had already secured their spot were playing for home field advantage.

“The Sons of Ben”-the loyal supporters for the Union made their presence well known at RBA, travelling down with approximately 1000 fans in tow, but the “South Ward” was definitely prepared to bring the noise and ruckus to show their support of the Red Bulls.

With Henry’s suspension following his red card against Kansas City last weekend, there were rumors that Coach Hans Backe was contemplating using Richards as a forward in this crucial match up. It was a decision that would lead to the much needed goal for RBNY, and one that came early in the match; 7th minute to be exact. The ball was a controversial one as it hit the post, then Union GK, Mondragon before hitting the back of the net. The goal was called as an “own goal” to the dismay of Richards, but the fans could not be silenced; RBNY was in the lead, and judging by their history, scoring the first goal is crucial for this team. MLS did review the goal, and corrected the call of the officials at the time; it would indeed be a goal by Richards.

The rest of the match would see RBNY fight for a second goal, with numerous chances at their disposal and an abundance of shots coming from Rodgers and Richards; the duo paired in front for RBNY. Defensively the team played as one; not allowing French National, Sebastien Le Toux anywhere close to the goal, and Backe confessed that that had been one of their main goals.

The second half saw both sides playing a more aggressive game, but RBNY managed to hold onto their lead and defended when it really mattered. As the final whistle blew, both relief and joy filled the faces of the players as they had managed to clinch a playoff spot, despite the inconsistent and somewhat doubtful season they have had. Ream described it best when he said; “Crazy. It has been a rollercoaster for sure, and I never want to experience it again.”

Backe was all smiles in the press conference; “It has been a rough season, but now we are in.” However, he confessed that he never would have thought that the season would come down to the very last game, especially considering the tremendous start they had, but that in order to succeed, key players will need to take chances in the next game.

As for the performance by Richards, Backe was beyond content: “It seems as though Dane has found his peak.” He also stated that other players fear Richards as a striker due to his immense speed on the pitch, and was content with the progress he has made this season; “His runs seem more well timed”. Here is to hoping that Richards and his speediness will be enough to help RBNY cling on to those dreams of raising the MLS Cup.

RBNY is set to face one of three contenders; RSL, FC Dallas or Colorado Rapids next Wednesday or Thursday, depending on the matches this weekend, but if the playoffs were to start today, they would face FC Dallas. Is it the year for the last placed wild card to win the Cup again?

5 responses to “Playoff Fever Grips Big Apple as RBNY Clinch Spot”

  1. Soccerlogical says:

    Great stuff as always Michelle.
    FYI, “the “El Clasico” ” = the The Classic. 🙂

    PS And yet an inept Marquez continues as set piece taker while Luke Rodgers constantly pushes off defenders and throws them to ground woithout even a warning from refs.

    Gotta love the farce which is MLS!

  2. whoops, my mistake! I know, I was quite tempted to go on a rant about the MLS and how it is set up etc etc……but that is not why I am here 🙂

  3. Ed Gomes says:

    I have been very critical of the MLS, and have found it tough to follow. I even pitched an series titled, An MLS Virgin, that was accepted but I still couldn’t bring myself to follow or watch.
    Granted it’s hard to be critical if you haven’t watched or followed a league. But as long as “stars” treat the league as a retirement haven, why should I follow it.

    I am of the belief that soccer is more than fine in the US, it’s just that most follow foreign leagues. Someone like myself that loves “football’, would rather follow the EPL, LaLiga, Serie A, etc… which I do. If you add the Champions and Europa Leagues along with the Euro’s and World Cup qualifiers and tourney’s, there’s only so much time. Maybe I need to get a third DVR.

    Does the League (MLS) still own all of the player contracts, or are the teams and owners for real now?
    The reason that I’m asking is that if the MLS still has control of trades and signings, how come they still haven’t produced a winner out of LA and NY.
    As much as everyone supposedly loves parody, most leagues thrive when there’s powerhouses that dominate. Soccer is no different than baseball, basketball and even football.

    Yes I am an European soccer snob. But the fact remains that the MLS has done nothing to bring me on board. And no, signing old stars is not going to get done.
    I will admit that I haven’t found it necessary to make the effort. So that’s on me, but frankly I don’t think I’m missing much.

  4. Russell Berrisford says:

    Ed- “As much as everyone supposedly loves parody”. I’m guessing that you mean “parity”, but then again maybe not.

    The MLS is still the employer but individual clubs decide who they will sign, not MLS itself.

  5. Gus Keri says:

    I guess people will continue to criticize the MLS system until they see an exact replica of the EPL here on these shores.

    And to tell you the truth, it’s getting to my nerves.

    Here to all of you who love the European, or whatever, systems.

    We have a league champion which has just won the championship and qualified to the regional champions league. It’s called the LA Galaxy.

    Let me repeat:

    LA Galaxy is the league champion.

    It is so happened to be called the “Supporters’ shield”

    So, remember every one:

    LA Galaxy is the league champion.

    Now, there is a new competition, called the “MLS cup”. It starts at the end of the league competition.

    10 teams from the league season qualify depending on certain criteria being met.

    NYRB met those criteria and qualify deservedly. And I don’t care what people think.

    The winner of this cup also will qualify to the regional champion league.

    So, let’s sit back and enjoy it.

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