Red Bulls complete improbable turnaround, clinch top seed with win

LindpereRichards (GettyImages)  

A year after enduring the worst season in the club's history, the New York Red Bulls have completed an incredible turnaround after beating New England on Thursday to clinch first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Bulls posted a 2-0 win against the Revolution on Thursday night to secure first place in the Eastern Conference and the No. 1 seed in the East playoffs. Dane Richards and Joel Lindpere provided the scores on a night when New England provided little resistance.

Richards scored his fifth goal of the season after racing onto a perfect pass from Juan Pablo Angel and blasting a right-footed shot. Lindpere finished the match with a stoppage-time insurance goal.

Thierry Henry missed the match with a knee injury, but head coach Hans Backe said after the match that he expected Henry to be back in training ahead of the first round of the MLS Playoffs.

Richards and Lindpere picked up the slack, outplaying their Revs counterparts and finishing off a pair of impressive regular seasons.

Backe used the match to give Jeremy Hall a look at right back and the second-year defender did well playing in place of Chris Albright.

The victory completed the club's second worst-to-first turnaround. The 2000 New York-New Jersey MetroStars finished first in the Eastern Division a year after the club posted a nightmare 7-25 season.

The night included a ceremony honoring long-time Red Bulls Mike Petke and Seth Stammler, who are both retiring at the end of the season.

Here are the highlights:

What did you think of last night's match? Can you see the Red Bulls building on the win heading into the playoffs? Looking forward to seeing New England's roster completely overhauled?

Share your thoughts below.

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42 Responses to Red Bulls complete improbable turnaround, clinch top seed with win

  1. Aristophanes says:

    I’ve been very impressed with Lindpere all season, beginning with the first goal scored in RBA.

    This team is fun to watch, well organized, and good for the league.

  2. SoccerInATL says:

    Was it just me or was that game bordering on unwatchable? I have definitely seen NYRB play better. It seemed that neither team had any idea of how to link up passes and instead relied totally on random moments of pure athleticism to create and the Revs just waited on NYRB to make mistakes in their own 1/3 to rattle off impossibly bad shots. NYRB deserved to get destroyed 5-2 due to just poor defensive clearances and dropped balls by the goalie a-la Manu’s Van Der Sar’s past weekend. I was sad to have that showcase on ESPN2 since it was just such poor play.

  3. SoccerInATL says:

    perhaps you don’t watch anything other than the MLS or you work for the MLS to promote the league on the web ;-)

  4. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Worst-To-First.

    Never thought I’d see the day. I remember sitting in the stands at Giants Stadium (with 46,000 fans) during the team’s first home game, proud to be a season 1 season ticket holder. Heading for a 0-0 tie, and with just a few minutes left, our very own Nicola Caricola inadvertently hits a cross into our own net. New England 1. Metrostars 0. And that my friends is how it began.

    A great big THANK YOU to Hans Backe and Red Bull. You commitment and passion have been proven. And this is one fan who appreciates it.

    Now on to The Cup!

  5. mike says:

    I’m not sure you can call it an improbably turnaround given that they increased their total team wages by 500 percent (or something)

  6. GSScasual says:

    it was just you.

  7. Aristophanes says:

    nope, neither. But I have been trying to promote MLS lately. Mostly because the quality is really improving.

  8. kahlva says:

    They were doing well (2nd in the East) before Henry/Marquez came over.

    This is a team that started their transformation well before the other DPs arrived.

  9. SoccerInATL says:

    If you are on this site that means you are pretty in to soccer in general and have hopes that american soccer will grow and understand its a long slow process for this to occur. So why do you feel the need to come plug MLS to people that already follow it anyways through Ives’ blog? Thats like the conservative tea party people showing up to promote the Republican Party to a Baptist Congregation in the south.

  10. lolshorts says:

    Lindpere for MVP… no doubt about it, he has been the spark that turned this team around. Also, lots of credit to Hans for teaching Dane to lift his head up when dribbling… its made all the difference and last nights first goal was a direct result of that effort.

  11. SoccerInATL says:

    I highly doubt it. Even stevie nicol was grimmacing several times through that match at what he was watching and the announcers were left saying “he really should of done better” a thousand times.

  12. Matt says:

    I think the whole RBNY turnaround has been a bit overplayed. I mean there have been major turnaround stories in the team (see Dane Richards), but they did build new stadium, hired a new coach, and bought Marquez, Lindpere, and Henry, as well as drafted a sharp young defender in Ream. Moreover, the East was considerably weaker than the West this year, with Columbus being the only quality side in the conference all year (minus recent poor form). It’s not like the same team from last year turned it around. That being said, RBNY is a great success story for the league this year, but I want to see what they do in the playoffs.

  13. ernj says:

    Ives — no stoppage time video for this one? Richards strike could well be GOTW.

  14. BrooklynFC says:

    For the Revs the Game was most def a poor one, but for the bulls it was from that…. they maintained possession for whole first half… Was the unwatchable at times sure but when RBNY were stringing passes together it was beatiful… the revs were playing with 9 behind the ball and one striker as an outlet for counter attacks, Against a more attacking minded opponent RBNY’s possession game looks a lot prettier but the revs played scared and that is what STEVE NICOL WAS LOOKING AT AND GETTING UPSET ABOUT

    By the way you my friend come across as bitter because you have no team to follow in America’s first division….

  15. frank from sf says:

    yea, it was you.

  16. john.q says:

    does it really matter that the Eastern Conference is weaker this year? its a completely balanced schedule. Let’s not forget the pre-World Cup half of the season where Backe was working with a lot of the guys from last season.
    Point is last overall to 3rd overall is a huge leap.

  17. afc says:

    The only thing that was unwatchable was the Revs keeper. Terrible decision making but thats why he is 3rd string. He didn’t look comfortable or confident at all.

  18. john.q says:

    definately just you. having a bad friday? or are you normally this bitter?

  19. lolshorts says:

    Lindpere strike blows it away. They call it composure, friends, they call it composure.

  20. SoccerInATL says:

    only the revs keeper? did you not pay attention to the nyrb keeper dropping the ball on a simple pop fly so to speak. I am sure the announcers didn’t because they talked about the NYRB keeper’s “adventures” for the next 8 minutes or so.

  21. The Dude says:

    Lindpere GOTW. Angel was also brilliant with his passing. Shalrie Joseph was correct to say that it’s “stupid” that we’re letting him slip away.
    Hat’s off to Richards, too. He’s one of these beguiling athletes who suddenly gets some confidence and becomes unstoppable.
    I hope to see Henry back for the playoffs. He’s still finding his rhythm, and it helps to have leadership in the playoffs.

  22. inkedAG says:

    When Joel Lindpere first signed and mentioned that he is here not to just play for RB, but to see America. I groaned reading this thinking he was going to be yet another Euro here on vacation and will half-a$$ it on the field once the summer heat comes or the team is not up to his standard.

    Joel Lindpere has been above and beyond any expectations I have had and has been such a key asset for the team. Great player who fights every game. I am so happy I was wrong about him.

  23. SoccerInATL says:

    I will watch quality soccer no matter where it is just because I love watching, playing, and coaching it. That last night was exactly why EPL, La LIGA, and Bundesliga fans use MLS as the butt of most jokes. Would you sit down your young son and show them this game as how a soccer game should be played? Would you want to be on the field playing if your team loses the ball every 2nd pass? Have you ever felt the frustration that comes when you are making runs that your team has no prayer on connecting with you on due to their quality? Just because you support NYRB doesn’t mean you can’t admit when they play bad and get a bad win. If I lived in NYC I wouldn’t come out to watch them if they played like that every week. I’m glad they don’t.

  24. Aristophanes says:

    haha ok buddy.

  25. Dan in New York says:

    Nah, it was you. I was at the game. It was a blast. Red Bulls looked sharp throughout. The Revs…well.

  26. SoccerIn ATL says:

    The bottom line for me is the league is still looking to expand itself which is good, but quality throughout the league suffers so bad because of it. If you guys are so in love with MLS play now in ten years you won’t even recognize it as the league and the teams starts to focus on quality of product not quantity of teams. In the meantime fans like me with a discerning eye will just have to be left frustrated watching MLS player’s athleticsm trumping true technical soccer skill

  27. rph says:

    That’s interesting concern about Lindpere seeing as how he’s Estonian and not really played for big clubs like the other Euro-failures we’ve had.

  28. Lee from NYC says:

    Get off that high horse dude. Turn that “discerning eye” to your post. You really come off as a jerk and snob.

    And btw, I’ve seen plenty of HORRIBLE games in the euro leagues.

  29. Aristophanes says:

    good lord how obnoxious was that post ?

    “people like me with a discerning eye…” hahaha who is SoccerinATL and where did he come from?

  30. Aristophanes says:

    This would NEVER happen in the Premier League!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have the best keepers in the world, like Van der Sar. IDIOTS!!!!!!

  31. Lee from NYC says:

    obnoxious enough for me to write something lol

    seriously though, if the guy really plays it, watches it and coaches it, then he should be able, with his discerning eye, appreciate the progress of the league has made and not sound douchey.

  32. Waterlewd says:

    Get over yourself, and have some perpective. It was the last game of the season. Revs have nothing to play for – NYRB have one eye on the playoffs and knew they had the game in the bag after 20 mins. I could tell the NYRB were going to win in the first 10 minutes. It had two pretty good goals, but was really brought down because the Revs are awful. But we’ve known that for awhile now. So like, OMG, why do YOU feel the need to come on here and plug the suckiness of the Revs when we already know that by coming to Ive’s blog? Hah!

  33. Jfreedman13 says:

    You’re a bitter eurosnob who’s alone in his opinions here. Go away.

  34. C John says:

    it was just you, bro. stfu and stick to watching your european soccer. mls has been fine without the likes of you all these years.

  35. SoccerInATL says:

    I’m not trying to win friends on a anonymous msg board I am just out to speak the truth so do I care what I sound like? No. I get that you NYC guys are defending your club, but it doesn’t take away from my point. That game was HORRIBLE last night and nearly unwatchable. I hope you big MLS supporters keep on supporting it like you do because someone needs to keep the league alive until they stop adding quantity at the cost of quality..

    (SBI-We get it, the game was bad, but you’ve crossed the line between being contrarian and being an outright troll. Move on.)

  36. Scott A says:

    FORZA METRO

  37. Joamiq says:

    Dude, the guy posted his opinion. He doesn’t need to consult you before doing so. His comment added more to the discourse here than yours did.

  38. Joamiq says:

    So basically you’re saying the team had an uncharacteristically bad game. And we should care if snobs joke about MLS based on an unrepresentative game… why, exactly?

  39. Joamiq says:

    1. You’re pretentious as hell.

    2. You clearly weren’t watching MLS ten years ago.

  40. Joamiq says:

    I remember that day man. I was there as well, and I remember just standing there in shock and disbelief at the way the game ended.

    The team, and the league, have come a long, LONG way since then.

  41. Joamiq says:

    Yes, because every DP MLS has signed has been sooooo good. Signing DPs is obviously a guarantee of success.

    The play of Dane Richards alone is an improbable turnaround.

  42. Joamiq says:

    I love the smile on his face in this photo. Dude is truly into it. Awesome to see.