The New York Red Bulls are off to a winning start in the first round of the 2010 MLS playoffs. The Red Bulls defeated hosts San Jose Earthquakes, 1-0, on a Joel Lindpere goal in the 55th minute of play at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara, CA. last Saturday night. San Jose, the lowest seed in the playoffs, is in the playoffs for the first time in the franchise’s history.
The Red Bulls, missing former French international forward Thierry Henry and midfielder Tony Tchani due to injury, saw Lindpere step up for the winner when the Earthquakes failed to clear the ball from their goal area as the ball dropped to the former Estonia international, who hammered home a shot that beat goalkeeper Jon Busch to his left and settled in the back of the net.
“I think we played really well,” New York coach Hans Backe said. “It’s probably one of our best away games. (We were) so composed.” New York will host the second leg of this home and way series at Red Bull Arena on Thursday night in Harrison, N.J.
San Jose came in with the league’s leading scorer Chris Wondolonski (18 goals), who had a chance for the equalizer in the 83rd minute, but to no avail. The winner of this two-game series, which is based on most goals, meets either Colorado or Columbus.
“We said we have to try to stress them high, force them as much as possible to long passes,” Backe said. “Don’t give them time and space. The work ethic was great today, the pressing game from the whole team, and that’s the key to the defense.”
In other MLS first-leg games in the first round the playoffs, Colorado won game one, 1-0, over the Columbus Crew, Dallas beat defending champion Real Salt Lake, 2-1, and a first half goal by Edson Buddle was enough to carry Los Angeles to a win over Seattle.
Canada tops Trinidad and Tobago
Canada defeated Trinidad and Tobago, 1-0, in the teams’ opening match of the CONCACAF 2011 Women’s World Cup qualifying tournament in Cancun, Mexico on Friday night. Midfielder Melissa Tancredi scored from a counterattack to give the Canadians to only goal they needed for the win.
In the second game that day, Mexico defeated Guyana, 7-2, to lead their four-team, Group A after the opening matches. Trinidad and Tobago, still with a chance to reach the semifinals, will meet Mexico next and Canada will play Guyana.
In Group B, the U.S. defeated Guatemala, 8-0, on Saturday, and Costa Rica knocked off Haiti, 3-0, both in second round matches. The U. S. got three goals from Amy Rodriguez and two from Abby Wambach. In first round games in Group B last Thursday, the U.S. beat Haiti, 5-0, and Costa Rica bettered Guatemala.
Costa Rica and the U.S. will play for the Group B title, but both teams have qualified for the semifinals. Two teams from Group A will complete the four-team field for the semifinals and final later this week. Two teams will eventually qualify for the Women’s World Cup in Germany next summer, while the third-pace finisher will playoff against a European team for a final berth in the tournament.
Four teams in Trinidad and Tobago were scheduled to kick off the 2010 Digicel Caribbean Cup second round of games for qualification for the eight-team finals in Martinique in December. Guyana and Haiti were expected to kick-off the group matches on Tuesday, Nov. 2 at 5:00 p.m. at the Manny Ramjohn Stadium in Marabella, with Trinidad and Tobago going against St. Vincent and the Grenadines at 7:30 p.m.
On Thursday, St. Vincent and the Grenadines will play Haiti and Trinidad and Tobago will take on Guyana; on Saturday, it will be Trinidad and Tobago versus Haiti and St. Vincent and the Grenadines going against Guyana.