The New York/New Jersey area welcomed another foreign club to our shores, this time English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspurs was the guest of the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena in Harrison (NJ) Tuesday night for the annual Barclays New York Cup Powered by Under Armour. Unfortunately, this game wasn’t powered by anything! Despite Tottenham’s 2-1 win, the game paled in comparison to the recent highly technical and tactical display at Yankee Stadium on Sunday, July 22 between two other foreign teams: the 1-1 duel between France’s Paris Saint Germain and Chelsea FC of the English Premier League.
The exciting moments Tuesday night were few and far between. Two of the three goals scored came from set plays: Kenny Cooper’s penalty in the eighth minute for the Red Bulls and Gareth Bale’s header in the 59th minute from a Gylfi Sigurdsson corner kick to tie the game for Tottenham. Sigurdsson’s winner in the 64th minute caused a stir among the 21, 701 fans when he dribbled toward the penalty box and unleashed a shot from eighteen yards that shook the inside right corner of the net. Neither team developed any passing rhythm; hardly any combination play was evident; and the game, especially after a slew of second half substitutions on both sides, was not aesthetically pleasing.
If there was an outstanding performer in the game, it would have to be New York Red Bulls goal keeper Bill Gaudette, who pulled off two outstanding saves, one in each half. In the 20th minute, Gaudette leaped to nudge Bale’s free kick just over the crossbar to bring the crowd to its feet; he repeated the save midway in the second half when Aaron Lennon let loose a blistering shot from close range that the goal keeper parried out of bounds to save the Red Bulls further embarrassment. The fans saw the Red Bulls’ latest signee Tim Cahill in action.
The night wasn’t totally lost; New Red Bulls season ticket holders got a chance to play 12th man as fans’ names were woven into the fabric of the jersey to create the numbers on the jerseys worn by Red Bulls players; for their cooperation, the 600 or so subscribers got a chance to win an autographed jersey worn by one of the players. The promotion was but one of several put on at the game by the hosts. The Red Bulls play at Houston Dynamo on Friday night, 8:00 p.m.
CONCACAF teams are doing well at the London Olympics. The USA women’s team won its group with a 3-0 record in group games to capture first in the group; the Americans defeated France (4-2), Colombia (3-0) and North Korea (1-0) and was scheduled to play New Zealand last Thursday in a quarterfinal game. Canada’s women’s team also advanced to the quarterfinals.
Honduras and Mexico men’s teams advanced to the quarterfinals. Honduras knocked off Spain, 1-0, and eliminated it from the tournament in an upset; three MLS players helped Honduras prevail. Scorer Jerry Bengston, who scored his third goal of the Olympics, plays for the New England Revolution, and Kansas City’s Roger Espinoza and D.C. United’s Andy Najar combined for the assist.
The New York Red Bulls (11-6-5), still leading the Eastern Conference, lost 3-1 at Montreal on Saturday. The team also announced that it has signed 25-year-old defender Babajide Ogunbiyi from Danish First Division club Viborg FF, where he played since 2010; the defender was a Red Bulls 2009 MLS SuperDraft in the second round. The team also announced that it acquired a 2013 international spot and a 2013 conditional draft pick from the San Jose Earthquakes for midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy.
In other MLS results last weekend, Real Salt Lake beat Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-1; Houston Dynamo dumped Toronto FC, 2-0; Los Angeles Galaxy topped FC Dallas, 1-0; Columbus Crew got past Sporting Kansas City, 1-2; Seattle Sounders over Colorado, 2-1; San Jose Earthquakes and Chivas USA played to a 1-1 draw; and Philadelphia beat New England, 2-1.