Red Bulls rebound with strong win vs. short-handed Dynamo

Thierry Henry, Corey Ashe

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN KARELL

HARRISON, NJ — In their first match at home since June 1, the New York Red Bulls finally looked like they were back in their comfort zone.

Tim Cahill and Jamison Olave made their return to the lineup and the Red Bulls used goals from Fabian Espindola and Jonny Steele to defeat the Houston Dynamo, 2-0, on Sunday afternoon in front of a sold out crowd of 25,483 at Red Bull Arena.

Goalkeeper Luis Robles rebounded from last Sunday’s poor performance with his fifth shutout of the season.

“It was a huge result, very important after the two league games that we lost to get back to a winning mentality against a solid side,” Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said after the game.

The victory snapped a three-match winless slide for the Red Bulls, while the Dynamo’s loss extended their own winless skid to seven matches.

The Dynamo were missing injured midfield stars Brad Davis and Oscar Boniek Garcia, which left their attack virtually non-existent for most of the day. And though they had a midfield duo of Ricardo Clark and Adam Moffat in central midfield, the Red Bulls seemed to bypass them with ease. Thierry Henry had two one-on-one opportunities with the goalkeeper in both halves, but over dribbled the first chance and poked the second one just wide of the Dynamo goal.

Despite going into the locker room without a goal in the first half, Cahill was of sound mind that a goal would come soon enough.

“I knew in good time that we would score,” Cahill said. “I felt confident from the start and I felt that we had the upper hand.”

After wasting multiple chances, the Red Bulls finally made full use of an opportunity in the 60th minute. Midfielder Eric Alexander fed Espindola into space with a great through ball, racing on goal and calmly scoring past Dynamo goalkeeper Tally Hall to give his side the lead.

“I said to Fabian yesterday that he was going to score, I told the manager too,” Cahill said. “He’s a really important player that does so much extra work and doesn’t really get the plaudits for it. He’s a great footballer, he’s a player that every team needs. When he gets his goal today it’s the icing on the cake.”

The goal was preceded by a Warren Creavalle miss in front of goal, as the Dynamo just couldn’t find their front men Giles Barnes and Will Bruin in enough good positions. Hall kept the score tight with a terrific double save in the 79th minute on Red Bulls substitute Peguy Luyindula and Henry.

“We’re getting the ball, we’re getting wide, we’re possessing real well, we’re just not having that killer instinct in the box,” Bruin said of the day’s performance. “We need to get that back.

There was nothing Hall could do in the 88th minute, as Henry found a wide-open Steele on the left side of the box, finishing with aplomb into the top corner to ensure the Red Bulls all three points.

“I’m glad Johnny (Steele) got the goal for all the hard work that he does,” Petke said. “It’s not very flashy, but he’s a hard worker and he was rewarded for his work.”

It was just the third league match in the month of June for the Red Bulls due to a quirky part of the MLS schedule, but despite that, the Red Bulls as a whole felt that the game was very good because it helped them get back to basics.

“The mindset we had tonight was to match Houston’s intensity,” Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty said. “They’re always a team that battles really hard, so we just had to match their intensity and then our quality players and our skill and talent shined through today.”

Added Cahill: “I thought it was really important because we needed to bring back some stability to the team, a bit of shape, discipline, and the game plan today was to keep our shape.”

An airtight defensive performance helped the Red Bulls win their fifth match at home, but according to Henry, it was Alexander’s performance that made all the difference.

“I think for me the key today was Alexander,” Henry said. “He turned every time he had the ball, that is a key in football. Every time he had the ball he tried to turn and go forward. He unlocked the game with his passing.”

As the Red Bulls now prepare for this Thursday’s match at Dicks Sporting Goods Park against the Colorado Rapids, Cahill may have summed it up best when commenting on the team’s mindset after the victory.

“When you win those aches and pains don’t hurt so much,” Cahill said. “I was playing with a smile on my face today. I was relaxed.”

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24 Responses to Red Bulls rebound with strong win vs. short-handed Dynamo

  1. Zac Mac says:

    RSL-East Represent!

  2. TomG says:

    Just got back from the game. NYRB completely dominated. Very few chances at all for Dynamo. They had no ideas other than lumping the ball into the box and hoping it finds a head. Henry was off tonight but still managed a pretty a$$ist to Steele. An in form Henry converts at least two more. Despite the domination, I didn’t think NYRB completely clicked. Alexander and Steele with a goal and an assist but they had a ton of space all day and missed a bunch of opportunities to make the right play. It’s funny that Henry thinks Alexander is the MOTM because he was none too happy when Eric tried to chip the keeper and floated it over the bar. My girlfriend thinks Henry is a total jacka$$ for all his antics. He was in rare form today.

  3. TomG says:

    Just got back from the game. NYRB completely dominated. Very few chances at all for Dynamo. They had no ideas other than lumping the ball into the box and hoping it finds a head. Henry was off tonight but still managed a pretty a$$ist to Steele. An in form Henry converts at least two more. Despite the domination, I didn’t think NYRB completely clicked. Alexander and Steele with a goal and an a$$ist but they had a ton of space all day and missed a bunch of opportunities to make the right play. It’s funny that Henry thinks Alexander is the MOTM because he was none too happy when Eric tried to chip the keeper and floated it over the bar. My girlfriend thinks Henry is a total jacka$$ for all his antics. He was in rare form today.

  4. Jeter says:

    If the Dynamo can stop getting injured during practice then they might actually win a game.

  5. Adam says:

    Did a read that correctly? RBA sold out?

    • Yevgeniy says:

      Yes. A t-shirt giveaway and a month break after the last home game gave the team enough to market this game to a sell-out

      • slowleftarm says:

        Do you really think people showed up because of a t-shirt?

        • Alceste says:

          RBs used the T-shirt as a hook to actually market the game. Normally there’s nothing locally. (And why they don’t do more to publicize fact it’s a 20-minute path ride to the arena I have no idea.)

    • TomG says:

      Good crowd, great environment, singing all match, loud. It’s a truly great place to watch a match. They do some nice things there for kids (spaces for playing 3 v 3 matches, etc.) so, to some extent NYRB gets a bit of a bad rap. They are trying. I went through a living social deal that was a great value and they were smart in making the tickets at the singing end above the ESC. I just wish it didn’t take an hour and a half to get there (and 2 hours to get back due to the messed up entrance to the PATH. I think they run extra trains now which is fantastic but it doesn’t matter much because you can’t get into the PATH station. It’s a giant bottleneck.

      I think that, long term, NYRB will be okay because the bottom line is that going to a match in that arena is a fantastic experience. That experience will build a following, but it may be a slow, grass roots kind of thing. In ten years, when the kids who are going to the games now are old enough to buy tickets of their own you may see an explosion. If they win a cup or two or sign A giy like Kaka as well, enough people might take an interest for it to reach critical mass.if you can get enough people from lower Manhattan and the surrounding areas to the Arena, you’re going to get a lot of return visitors.

    • Sly says:

      In NYC sold out means scalpers bought the rest and either couldnt sell them back for the outrageous markup they always charge or the cool people who bought tickets couldnt bother to show up or the corporate accounts that bought chunks of seats was running late after dinner and decided to stay in midtown and drink instead going to harrison, despite having a stretch limo.

      You have no idea how many sporting events youll go to in New York and just talking to “fans” who work in the mailroom of Douche, Brown, and Wollensky who got primo seats because noone else in the whole company wanted to use them. This counts as a sell out.

    • TomG says:

      Good crowd, great environment, singing all match, loud. It’s a truly great place to watch a match. They do some nice things there for kids (spaces for playing 3 v 3 matches, etc.) so, to some extent NYRB gets a bit of a bad rap. They are trying. I went through a living social deal that was a great value and they were smart in making the tickets at the singing end above the ESC. I just wish it didn’t take an hour and a half to get there (and 2 hours to get back due to the messed up entrance to the PATH. I think they run extra trains now which is fantastic but it doesn’t matter much because you can’t get into the PATH station. It’s a giant bottleneck.

      I think that, long term, NYRB will be okay because the bottom line is that going to a match in that arena is a fantastic experience. That experience will build a following, but it may be a slow, gra$$ roots kind of thing. In ten years, when the kids who are going to the games now are old enough to buy tickets of their own you may see an explosion. If they win a cup or two or sign a guy like Kaka as well, enough people might take an interest for it to reach critical ma$$. if you can get enough people from lower Manhattan and the surrounding areas to the Arena, you’re going to get a lot of return visitors.

  6. Bean says:

    The Dynamo forwards need to put an extra hour a day of practice in shooting, and penalty taking. Chances were terribly squandered.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Bruin is dependent on service and runs hot and cold, and Kinnear doesn’t have much support for him at second forward. I like Barnes but he’s really a middie playing out of position. I liked Ching but no goals this season, he’s past it. Weaver doesn’t have a goal in two years. Cummings is being played as a middie not a forward even though we have plenty of midfielders. I think they have to deal with the speed forward spot, our leaky defense is still solid enough for MLS (though perhaps not a title) but we have the fewest GF by about 4 in the playoff spots. That can’t continue if we have any aspirations.

      I mean, we can focus on the hurt people but the issue was more that Bruin was all alone and we were hoofing it to no one and when we did have a chance we shanked it.

      I also think the defense has issues, but, priorities…..

    • H-Town says:

      I will say this…

      I am sick of the ball over the top, and a forward heading the ball on to no one but the opposing defense. That must have happened 15 times yesterday. It happened 3 times in a row…

      • Bean says:

        I’m sick of every shot going over the crossbar. The Dynamo had 11 attempts on goal with only three being on target, and if I remember correctly, they were soft shots. Even with our star midfield back, the forwards have to put the ball in the back of the net. They are not lacking in service.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Yeah, Bruin has not played well the last few games, it was the same against TFC. Open headers in front of the net got hit either at the keeper or over the bar. He has only 4 goals and I’m surprised he’s getting a US call, I think that’s more of a Klinsi pecking order decision — next perceived man up — than a form reflection.

      • Jose from the Bay says:

        Long, hopeful passes to the forwards (or really the other teams defense) is a sign of no control in the middle. Dynamo need some help. Dom, here is the answer:

        ——- Hall
        Kofi — Bobby — Cory
        — Rico —- Adam
        Boniek — Giles — Brad
        — Omar — Will

        you can pay me later.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        My impression from live at TFC was the ground play was too slow and predictable, switching the ball too slow, which probably then results in hoofing it when they can’t move the ball downfield or get it side to side fast enough to flank a team.

        I think part of the problem, though, is that Barnes is traditionally a middie and doesn’t always sit up there right by Bruin. They need another good forward who can attract defensive attention from Bruin and be a second attacking passing option.

        I think you will see the forward playing it to no one like this if you have a target forward assuming help but not getting it. When I played forward and headed into space and no one’s there that’s because you’re expecting support you’re not getting.

        Last thought, Kinnear is not helping the problem because he is often bringing on a third forward before he subs a middie. Probably reflects desperation but by leaving tired middies in between hoofing defenders and 3 forwards you’re asking for the defenders to skip the midfield. Which is ironically our strength right now if Kinnear can keep it fresh.

  7. Smith says:

    For all the grief RBNY gets on attendance, they outdraw quite a few teams, particularly those other MLS originals:

    Team Average
    1 Seattle Sounders FC 41,501
    2 Los Angeles 21,948
    3 Montreal Impact 21,283
    4 Portland Timbers 20,674
    5 Kansas City 19,504
    6 Houston 19,465
    7 Toronto FC 19,347
    8 Vancouver Whitecaps 19,340
    9 Real Salt Lake 18,547
    10 New York Red Bulls 18,401
    11 Philadelphia Union 17,591
    12 FC Dallas 15,060
    13 San Jose 14,811
    14 Colorado 14,701
    15 Columbus 14,148
    16 New England 13,669
    17 DC United 13,645
    18 Chicago 12,723
    19 Chivas USA 8,896

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      The criticism comes from two places. First is history, the team would have been down in the bottom few when it was in the Meadowlands drawing 10K. That’s not really fair because the attendance has gone up and generally stayed up. Second is performance relative to expectations. That’s a fairer critique because you’re talking a subcapacity NY team that is merely midtable in attendance. People want NYC2 but they don’t support NYC1 that exceptionally. I think people expect NYC to be up there with LA — like the USMNT games and friendlies and Cosmos history suggests is latently possible — and yet they can’t even fill Red Bull Arena most nights.

      It’s a tad harsh but it does beg the question why that list of teams is ahead of them.

      • Brain Guy says:

        I agree that RBNY attendance can and should be better, but I would challenge the first, and half of the second, of your stated reasons for the criticism. First, as you acknowledge, it’s more than a little unfair to criticize current attendance figures because attendance in the past, at a different stadium, was poor. Second, not everybody in this area wants NYC2; I, for one, think it is, for now, a bad idea that will only undercut RBNY, Finally, the Cosmos phenomenon of the mid- to late 1980s can’t be your measuring stick. It was a bubble that burst as soon as its economic unsustainability became apparent. And by that reasoning, the MNT’s ability to fill the Rose Bowl should mean that LA should draw closer to what Seattle draws. Don’t get me wrong — I agree that RBNY need to do more to improve attendance. But they had to recover from some very lean final days at Giants Stadium, when attendance averaged around 12,000. I have always thought that 20,000 is a realistic target.

  8. Smith says:

    NY also has the highest % of soccer snobs….”Oh. I like English footy! I eat crisps! I support Arsenal!”

    The Cosos drew because there was no soccer on TV back in the day, save the ocassional Chanel 13 german game.

    Alos. RBNY has to contend with more teams from other sports & more urban-area entertainment than most teams.

    hell, they draw more people than Knicks or Rangers. Let’s keep it real & focus on real disasters like Chivas