Photo by ISIphotos.com
By THOMAS FLOYD
After a two-month slump caused by a combination of injuries, international absences and inconsistent play, a nearly 100 percent New York Red Bulls squad reminded MLS just how lethal it can be Wednesday, dismantling Toronto FC for a 5-0 win.
After taking a 2-0 lead into halftime, New York coach Hans Backe emphasized how important it was for the team, which had won just one contest since April, to come out and finish off the match in convincing fashion.
“The thing at halftime was that we needed to do 90 good minutes,” Backe said. “It was good that we had a clean sheet, good that we could control the game. The decision making — when to have possession, when to go forward — that was phenomenal. I’m very happy.”
Added midfielder Joel Lindpere: “We knew that today, we needed this really badly. Everybody was mentally ready. That’s an important three points for us.”
Here is some more news from around the Eastern Conference:
After missing a point-blank opportunity in his one game played for Houston this season, striker Dominic Oduro was shipped to Chicago in exchange for Calen Carr. The Ghanaian has responded to the change of scenery by notching five goals, but he knows his finishing still has room to improve.
“I will guarantee that I’m going to get chances and try as much as possible to get the ball on frame,” Oduro said to ESPN Chicago. “It’s better for me to get the ball in the right spot, or hopefully for a rebound for one of our midfielders to get the ball into the net.”
When Jeff Cunningham re-joined the Crew this past offseason, his drawing even with Jaime Moreno’s all-time MLS scoring record seemed like an inevitability when considering the 132-goal scorer needed just one tally to do so. Although it took a bit longer than most anticipated, Cunningham finally got his first goal of the seasonto draw even with Moreno, nodding home the 90th-minute game-winner in Columbus’ 1-0 triumph over Vancouver on Wednesday.
“This is a milestone that means a lot to me,” Cunningham said to the Columbus Dispatch. “This is the longest I’ve gone without scoring. [There has been] a lack of confidence a little bit.”
As United prepared for Saturday’s trip to New York by watching the Red Bulls pick up a 5-0 win over Toronto on Wednesday, the D.C. players were surely reminded of the 4-0 shellacking they suffered at the hands of the Red Bulls at RFK Stadium in May. In that match, Thierry Henry scored two first-half goals and New York never looked back.
“What really killed us was Henry dropping back into midfield,” midfielder Chris Pontius recalled. “It’s something we need to communicate through [Saturday], especially when Henry is playing in a free role to go find the ball.”
Nearly four months into his tenure with Houston, Calen Carr still hasn’t played a minute due to a concussion suffered while playing in the preseason with Chicago. Although Carr still hasn’t gone through a full training session, he is making progress.
“I’ve started to notice some real gains, and I’m feeling much more myself,” Carr told the Houston Chronicle. “Increasing activities is actually making me feel better. Right now it’s just a matter of getting back on the field and seeing how it goes. Right now I’m still limited. I’m just doing some fitness work and some ball work and getting acclimated. I think it’s a good start for me. I think I’m on a good path.”
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
The Revolution back line has been plagued by injuries to nearly every one of the unit’s key players throughout the first half of the 2011 MLS season.
New England fans, therefore, will be relieved to see that defender Kevin Alston, who exited Monday’s thrilling 3-3 draw with Real Salt Lake late in the contest with hamstring tightness, is listed as probableon the Revolution’s injury report. The player who replaced him, Didier Domi, is also probable with Achilles tendinitis.
A 10-man Philadelphia side may have defeated San Jose 1-0 at PPL Park in April, but the Union knows the Earthquakes are a potent offensive team that has turned the corner since that encounter as the club prepares to visit San Jose on Saturday.
“They have all different types of players on offense, all of which bring something different to the table,” left back Jordan Harvey said to PhiladelphiaUnion.com. “Defensively we need to study their tendencies. We played them well last time, so we just need to stay organized in the back.”
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
Kansas City may have extended its unbeaten streak to nine matches with Wednesday’s 1-1 draw against Colorado, but coach Peter Vermes was none too pleased with the tactics Colorado used to get the result on the road.
“For me, it’s about entertainment,” Vermes said to the Kansas City Star. “When you go somewhere, it’s your responsibility to also play. … To take as much time as [they did] on every single set piece, it gets old.”
Despite the 5-0 score that accompanied Toronto’s defeat at New York on Wednesday, the consensus among the visiting players after the game seemed to be that they weren’t thoroughly outplayed, necessarily, but that they has a few mental lapses and New York had the finishing potency to punish them.
“Simple mistakes led to all of their goals,” defender Dan Gargan said. “Mistakes that are easily correctable and easily fixable.”