There was much irony in the New York Red Bulls 1-0 win over the New England Revolution last Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. As Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said in his postgame comments, his team accomplished probably its best result so far this season with what was his weakest lineup.
The Red Bulls (4-3-1), because of a plethora of injuries to starter, were forced to give first-time starts to defenders Brandon Barklage and Tyler Ruthven, while Connor Lade was making only his second start in the backline; the makeshift defense, with only one regular starter, Markus Holgersson, came up with the team’s first shutout of the season, which garnered Red Bulls rookie goalkeeper the man-of-the-match award. Absent from the regular defensive lineup were wing backs Roy Miller and Jan Gunnar Soli and Stephen Keel.
The midfield was also thin with Teemu Tainio out with injury and Rafael Marquez out serving a three-game suspension for dangerous play, but Joel Lindpere, Mehdi Ballouchy, Dax Mc Carty and Dane Richards held up the middle.
Thierry Henry scored the winner in the seventh minute when he won the ball in a battle with Stephen McCarthy to tap it over the head of Revs goal keeper Matt Reis. Shortly after, Henry, who leads the league with nine goals, went down with a strained hamstring injury and was taken out of the game; Henry could be out for up to three weeks.
The result was also ironic because the Revolution (2-5) dominated play throughout the contest and created more opportunities to score but were let down by poor finishing on offense. Revs forward Saer Sene muffed two opportunities early in the first half when on both occasions he had only Meara to beat. Sene was indecisive on occasions in the second half and teammates Lee Nguyen and Jose Moreno also failed to register easy chances. Nguyen came close to scoring when his stunner from 20 yards was heading for the upper left corner of the net near the end but was parried wide of the goal by Meara’s left hand.
The Revs were led by Grenadian Shalrie Joseph and Reis, the only leftovers from a New Revs midfielder, took charge in the off-season and has fielded an entirely new team with Joseph and Reis the exceptions. The Red Bulls next play at home on Wednesday, May 9 versus the Houston Dynamo. The Los Angeles Galaxy hosts the Red Bulls on Saturday night, May 5.
In other MLS results last Saturday, the Los Angeles Galaxy (3-3-1) managed a 1-1 tie with FC Dallas (3-3-3) when substitute Pat Noonan came up with a goal in stoppage time for the defending champs. Dallas’ goal came from a Brek Shea penalty in the 61st minute; Galaxy’s Robbie Keane missed a penalty in the 47th minute that would have put Los Angles ahead. Also, the Montreal Impact topped the Portland Timber, 2-0; the San Jose Earthquakes bettered the Philadelphia Union, 2-1; The Vancouver Whitecaps beat the Columbus Crew, 1-0; DC United beat the Houston Dynamo, 3-2; the Colorado Rapids pummeled Chivas USA, 4-0; the Seattle Sounders topped the Chicago Fire, 2-1; and Real Salt Lake knocked off Toronto FC, 3-2.
English FA Cup
The prestigious English Football Association Cup, known as the FA Cup, will be contest at the famous Wembley Stadium on Saturday, May 5 (Fox Sports) when Chelsea takes on Liverpool. Chelsea will also battle Germany’s Bayern Munich in the European Champions’ League final at Bayern Munich Stadium on Saturday, May 19.