I’ve been to a fair number of New York Red Bulls games over the past two year. I have always been impressed by the South Ward and its rabid supporters. More often than not, I’ve found the arena to be empty with the exception of one massive four-section area to the right of my seat in press row. I have lauded their performances time and time again both in game on twitter and in every day conversation.
And yes, I laughed at “You Suck, A------“ the first few times I heard it.
Ryan Meara saw no action this week after picking up a knock on his hip. Coach Backe said that the Fordham graduate could go, but the team did not want to risk further injuring the rookie keeper. Even though he missed the action, there’s still no doubt that he’s been very important to this club.
You wouldn’t expect the New York Red Bulls to have a commanding 3-2 victory over their opponents, having been scored upon 26 seconds into last Sunday’s game against the former conference leaders, D.C. United. But they did. However, before fans even had time to take a bite of their nachos, D.C. striker Chris Pontius headed the ball past a stunned Ryan Meara. A record crowd of 25,187 “D.C. Haters” had all of sudden lost their voice.
Thierry Henry’s hamstring was starting to get in playable condition this week, but the notoriously poor turf at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium kept one of the game’s most prolific strikers sidelined yet again. Despite the Impact’s home turf advantage (keeping Henry off the pitch), the Red Bulls would not be denied as they stretched their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory.
Give some credit to the New York Red Bulls. They won again without Thierry Henry (hamstring), Rafa Marquez (due back from suspension by injured his ankle in training), Stephen Keel (back sprain), Teemu Tainio (right knee sprain) and Wilman Conde (left groin sprain). Somehow they found a way to win starting rookies at three back line positions. I hardly imagined New York picking up three points against the Houston Dynamo with a lineup featuring a 5’5” rookie left back (Connor Lade), a center back with 225 minutes of playing time in the MLS (Tyler Ruthven), a four year pro who never seemed to latch on with D.C. United (Brandon Barklage), and a rookie keeper fresh out of college (Ryan Meara). Admit it, you didn’t expect a win either. And even if you did think they would manage to pull out a victory, you had to know it would come in another 1-0 affair.
A number of Red Bulls have gone down with injuries early in the 2012 campaign, and while Saturday saw the Red Army pick up three points in Harrison versus New England, the win came at an enormous cost as captain Thierry Henry left the match with a right hamstring strain. The Frenchman was an early season MVP favorite, carrying the Bulls offense with a league leading nine goals and five assists. Henry managed to notch what proved to be the game-winning effort early against the Revolution, before the strain occurred.
The New York Red Bulls have shown spurts of offense throughout the season, including five goals versus Montreal, four against Columbus, and another four while hosting Colorado. Overall, New York is first in the league by far in terms of goals scored with sixteen tallies on the year; after them is Real Salt Lake who sit with eleven marks. There is one issue surrounding the Bulls however, the offensive production has largely been due to the performance of only two players: Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper.
Maybe the New York Red Bulls aren’t quite as good as they played the first sixty minutes on Saturday. Maybe the Crew decided to finally show up in the sixtieth minute to give New York a game after falling behind by three. It’s also possible the Red Bulls packed it in at the end of the game. Yes, the Red Bulls won the game in Columbus, but the Crew showed just how inconsistent RBNY can be.