The New York Red Bulls (11-8-5, 38 pts.) and the Philadelphia Union (10-7-7, 37pts.), second and third respectively, in the MLS Eastern Conference Standings, put on a ho-hum display of what should have been an exciting soccer game. First-place in the Eastern Conference was at stake and the near sell-out crowd of 25,355, who showed up at Red Bull arena on a lovely Saturday night deserved better than the goalless result.
It was near-miss after near-miss for both sides, with the Red Bulls the main culprits. It started with Captain Thierry Henry’s free kick in the 23rd minute from 20 yards that he slammed into the Philadelphia wall; then midfielder Tim Cahill missed a header two minutes later off a cross from Eric Alexander; meanwhile, Philadelphia hadn’t gotten even a good look at New York’s goal. At that point it wasn’t sure if Philadelphia came to play. The Union seemed tired and disinterested, and the Red Bulls’ misses added to the frustration.
The saga of mishaps continued in the second half. In the 55th minute, Cahill jumped too late for a good Roy Miller cross and missed the ball totally; in the 61st minute, Peguy Luyindula missed an easy header off a Miller cross in the 61st minute, just moments after he entered the game for Fabian Espindola. Towards the end, Cahill’s header off a Jonathan Steele cross in the 63rd minute seemed dangerous until it fell right into the hands of Union goalkeeper Zac MacMath.
The best chance of the night came when Union substitute Antoine Hoppenot was in the right place at the right time to tuck away a rebound from a Sebastien Le Toux shot that struck the cross bar and fell to Hoppenot six yards in front an open Red Bulls goal, but the Philadelphia forward reacted too late and had the shot partially blocked out of bounds. The Red Bulls travel to CD Chivas USA on Sunday, Aug. 25 at 5:00 PM at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles. The Red Bulls will host DC United on Saturday, night, Aug. 31.
LOS ANGELES WINS
In other MLS games last Saturday, Robbie Keane scored three goals to carry Los Angeles Galaxy to a 4-2win over Conference leader Real Salt Lake. Keane scored in the 56th, 67th and 86th minutes to help the Galaxy (11-9-4) pull four points behind Salt Lake.
Omar Gonzalez, who signed a designated player contract this week, also scored for Los Angeles. The Galaxy could have two more – but those were stopped on the goal line, first by Chris Wingert on Landon Donovan two minutes after Keane’s first goal and by Kenny Mansally on Todd Dunivant near the end.
Montreal Impact, led by Marco Di Vaio, topped DC United, 2-1. Conor Doyle scored for D.C., which is winless in 11 road games. Federico Higuain scored twice to lead Columbus Crew to a 2-0 win over Toronto FC …New England Revolution knocked off the Chicago Fire, 2-0, on goals by Juan Agudelo and Kelyn Rowe. The Fire had scored in 12 consecutive matches.
Two first half strikes by Giles Barnes and one in the second half by Will Bruin carried the Houston Dynamo (to a well-served 3-1 victory over the Seattle Sounders. The win was the second in three games for Houston. The Dynamo (10-7-6) spoiled Clint Dempsey’s first start with the Seattle (10-8-4). The Colorado Rapids knocked off the Vancouver Whitecaps, 2-0, on goals by Deshorn Brown and U. S. international Edson Buddle. The Rapids are in a nine-game unbeaten streak.
Jamaican international Ryan Johnson and Darlington Nagbe scored to give the home team Portland Timber a 2-1 win over FC Dallas. The win puts Portland in third place in the Western Conference and in the hunt for a play-off spot. Dallas is winless in 11 straight matches and slipped to seventh in the Western Conference.
Haiti defeated St. Kitts, 3-0, last Sunday to advance to the semifinals of the local Caribbean Cup tournament at Jefferson High School Stadium in Flatlands, Brooklyn. The Haitians will face defending Champion St. Lucia this Sunday. St Lucia defeated Grenada, 4-3, on penalties two weeks ago. Guyana will take on Jamaica in the other semifinal this Sunday, beginning at 3:00 PM.