Improved Red Bulls tie Sporting KC

By DAVE MARTINEZ

HARRISON, NJ- It may not have been the victory the Red Bulls were hoping for, but by the end of the night, it didn’t quite matter.

For the first time in three meetings, the New York Red Bulls got the better of Sporting KC for most of their 90 minute encounter.  A brilliant Jimmy Nielsen held a relentless New York offense at bay earning KC a scoreless draw on the road in front of the largest announced crowd in Red Bull Arena’s history (25,219).

Though the result was hardly cause for celebration, the Red Bulls were awarded for their play.  Saturday’s draw along with the Columbus Crew’s 3-2 loss at DC United clinches New York’s spot in the playoffs for the third time in three years under Hans Backe.

“It’s definitely one of the better games so far we have played,” Coach Backe observed.  “Over 90 minutes, very intense, a lot of energy, many, many chances to score and of course we should have won the game 3-0, 4-0.  That should have been the normal result.”

New York came out the gates slowly to open the match perhaps to remedy their pentiont of allowing a goal in the opening 20 minutes.  A series of safe passes and possession allowed the new look midfield of McCarty on the left wing, Lloyd Sam on the right and Tim Cahill with Teemu Tainio in the middle to gel.

By the 25th minute, the Red Bulls began knocking on the door of the Kansas City goal, and hardly looked back.  Kenny Cooper missed a sharp angle shot off of a McCarty rebound that sailed above the net.  Cooper would again threaten prior to the half but Nielsen, who enjoyed a solid outing, was more than up to the task.

The second half was dominated by the Red Bulls offense.  In perhaps their best sequence, Thierry Henry single handedly created space in the box and took a pulverizing shot on net that Nielsen batted away with authority.  New York continued to buzz around Sporting KC’s net, but could not get one past their veteran keeper.

“I thought we did better,” team captain Thierry Henry said.  “I’m never happy if we don’t win, but sometimes you have some draws, especially the way we have played against the top teams since the beginning of the season … we scored but we never controlled the game.  The way we played against them the other day and at their place, we were never in control of the game.  I thought tonight we were in control of the game.

“We were creating a lot of chances,” he continued.  “I thought for once we showed a good attitude.”

Luis Robles was hardly challenged on the night but made perhaps the most consequential save of the evening. Graham Zusi spotted Kei Kamara in the box and the Sporting striker connected on a header that forced Robles to stretch for the save, preserving a vital result for the home side.

“We closed them down until the 85th minute when they had their first chance,” Backe remarked.  “One of the few games you can say that you can be pleased with when it ends 0-0, but I must say, I’m very pleased with our performance tonight.”

New York currently sits fourth in the Eastern Conference and can conceivably place as high as third in the tables. They visit the Philadelphia Union in PPL this Saturday for a matinee encounter.

Here are the match highlights:

 

What did you think of the match? See the Red Bulls being a threat in the playoffs? Think Sporting KC is still the team to beat in the East?

Share you thoughts below.

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17 Responses to Improved Red Bulls tie Sporting KC

  1. Chupacabra says:

    The place was half empty, and RBA has had several announced sellouts previously. What was so different about tonight that some alleged attendance record was set?

    Or do you get a bonus payment from the Rec Bulls like Cangilosi does for mentioning a “sell out” when it’s obvious to anyone with vision that there were a multitude of empty seats?

    • Adam M. says:

      It was easily one of the better attended games I’ve seen and if capacity is 25 k there must have been about 22 in attendance. The attendance issue is largely season tix holders in the lower bowl not showing. That is a big problem because its a bad visual and distracts somewhat from the otherwise outstanding atmosphere, but the tickets are sold so they can call it a sell out if the upper level is full (which it mostly was). . This has to be an issue that the new GM addresses.

      • Chan says:

        I agree about the visuals. The problem is that the logo made of seats manages to stand out no matter what the attendance. When those STH do not show, it adds to the view. The vast majority of RBA was full and rocked hard.

    • GSScasual says:

      Do you know your fractions? that was easily full. Maybe not 25, but at least 23k. this argument is tired, NYRB brings more people than most other teams.

      • Georkt says:

        I’d go 23 to 24k and the place was rocking. The previous poster was correct in stating the most expensive season tickets no shows are the visual problem. I don’t care because an evening at RBA is a blast; from the march across the Jackson Street Bridge to the South Ward rocking the arena it’s a top notch football experience

        As for the “should have been 3-0 comment”, if Red Bull plays the rest of it’s matches like this no one will want to face them in the playoffs.

    • Jake says:

      What game were you watching? The place looked crowded on TV

  2. Gabe says:

    Half empty? I was there and the place was at least @ 80% capacity, well over 20K

    • Chupacabra says:

      If you ever saw the actual turnstile numbers you’d see that your scientific estimate is way off the mark. There is a good reason why the team is called Red BULL New York.

      • Douchacabra says:

        It wasn’t full but it wasn’t empty. 70 to 80%. Please share with us the actual turnstile numbers.

        • Georkt says:

          Top quality response sir.

          • slowleftarm says:

            The team announced in the middle of the week that the match was sold out. I highly doubt the team would stop selling tickets if there were still tickets available. The lot I park in is often half empty but there wasn’t a spot to be had last night and the lines at concessions etc. were longer than usual. There were also people in the top rows of the stadium so I actually believe it was sold out.

            Obviously not everyone showed up but at any given time lots of people are dealing with the incompetent folks at the concessions. I personally don’t get that. The game is 90 minutes long. Why are you spending any of those 90 minutes buying french fries? Watch the match!

  3. whoop-whoop says:

    It always amuses me when you hear people say things like,”it should have been 3-0″. What…. but for the minor detail of the ball not going into the goal? Like your team didn’t have anything to do with that? As if finishing isn’t one of the most important and sought after skills there is in the game? Sorry, but… the rules couldn’t be any more explicit in dictating that not only should you have exactly Zero points on the scoreboard, it is not at all coincidence that at games end, that is all did have on the scoreboard. I know, an obnoxious, petulant post, but…. I can’t help myself when I hear comments like that. Semantics but… it would be more accurate to say something to the effect of,”If we did a better job of finishing our opportunities, the score could have been…
    Cheers?

  4. JRP says:

    With a payroll like that, isn’t it embarrassing NYRB just clinched a playoff birth when the tourny starts in less than two weeks?

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  6. eric says:

    If skc had a quality finisher like henry…they would be ridiculous