The New York Red Bulls (12-10-11, 47 pts.) coach Mike Petke must have some serious concerns about his team after a very lackluster performance in a 3-1 loss to playoff rival, Columbus Crew, last Sunday afternoon at Red Bull Arena. With the playoffs only a game away, the Red Bulls should be picking up steam and see themselves as fortunate to be in the playoffs; instead, the New Yorkers were embarrassingly outplayed and allowed the Columbus to leapfrog into the fourth place playoff spot, while New York dropped to the fifth and final playoff position in the MLS Eastern Conference.
The Red Bulls’ last regular season game is at second-place Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, Oct. 26, a difficult place to win. Judging from last Sunday’s performance, it seems New York may well end the season in the fifth spot and will have to travel to Columbus for the single elimination game. The Red Bulls would be hard-pressed to win considering the psychological edge that the Crew established with the win at Red Bull Arena.
Columbus totally outplayed New York last Sunday. Ironically, leading the way for the Crew was midfielder Tony Tchani, a player traded away by New York just three years ago. Aaron Schoenfeld scored twice (17th, 87th minutes) and Ethan Finlay (30th min.) once to lift the Crew; midfielder Lloyd Sam tallied for the home team with a hard shot just inside the right goalpost midway into the second half.
In other MLS games, in the Eastern Conference, Toronto FC and Montreal Impact, two teams that are just waiting to close out dismal seasons, played to a 1-1 draw. Felipe equalized for Montreal after the host Toronto FC led in the game through Warren Creavalle’s goal. Conference leader DC United knocked off the Chicago Fire, 2-1, in DC as Chris Pontius and Eddie Johnson scored for United; Harrison Shipp pulled a goal back for Chicago.
Host Philadelphia Union topped Sporting KC by the same 2-1 margin at PPL Park; Brian Brown scored for Philadelphia just before the half time, but Dom Dwyer equalized for Sporting early in the second period to equalize. Pedro Ribeiro registered the winner for Philadelphia. The New England Revolution also won, 2-1, over host Houston Dynamo. Lee Nguyen scored twice for the playoff bound winners and Giles Barnes tallied for Houston, which will have a new coach next season. Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear is moving back to the San Jose Earthquakes.
In the Western Conference, the Earthquakes and Vancouver Whitecaps played to a goalless draw while FC Dallas defeated the Colorado Rapids, 1-0. Panamanian Blas Perez got the winner for the playoff-bound Dallas, which is now in the third playoff spot in the West, a point ahead of Real Salt Lake, which played to a goalless draw with the Portland Timbers. Also during the week, the Seattle Sounders rallied from a 2-0 deficit to tie the Los Angeles Galaxy and increased its chances of winning the MLS Supporter’s Shield, the trophy that goes to the team with the best regular season record.