Apparently the impetus for the New York Red Bulls to finally win a game is the absence of the two best field players. With Rafa Marquez suspended and Thierry Henry nursing a niggling injury, Red Bulls needed some luck on Saturday night. That’s exactly what they got.
FC Dallas nearly controlled the entire game at home in Pizza Hut Park. New York’s back line was makeshift best, with Stephen Keel playing centrally and (my boy) Carlos Mendes playing left back where he hasn’t really played since his first year in Rochester back in 2003. Frank Rost proved me wrong in this game and I’m afraid I have to eat my words of scathing criticism of the German goalkeeper. The speedy wingers of FC Dallas exposed huge gaps in the defense (even though Keel and Mendes had the pace to close down after getting beat) and without Rost coming up huge on a number of occasions, the game could have quickly gotten out of hand. Highlights after the jump.
The win, first since July 6 (that’s 73 days!!), puts New York back into the playoff picture. Here is the MLS table as it stands today, the top three from each Conference and the next best four teams advance to the postseason. Right now the Red Bulls occupy the last wild card playoff position by way of goal differential over Portland.
If New York wins its game in hand they’ll leapfrog Houston and it won’t matter if D.C. wins out. If New York performs better than Philadelphia (NY wins and PHI loses) then the Red Bulls have a chance to jump up to third in the Eastern Conference which gives them a bye in the first round of the playoffs. However, if New York loses and Portland or D.C. win then we’re right back out on the curb.
The good news is that our postseason destiny is in our hands, the bad news is in the quality of sides we play in the rest of the season. Wed Sept 21, at home against Real Salt Lake; Sat Sept 24, against Portland; Sat Oct 1 at Toronto FC; Tue Oct 4 against L.A. Galaxy; Sat Oct 15 at Sporting KC; and Thurs Oct 20 against Philadelphia Union. Four of the six remaining games are at home, but 4 of those teams have better records and the other two are on resurgent runs of form at the moment.
|x- LA Galaxy||58||29||21|
|Seattle Sounders FC||51||29||15|
|Real Salt Lake||48||27||16|
|Sporting Kansas City||40||29||6|
|Wild Card Race||PTS||GP||GD|
|New York Red Bulls||36||28||5|