New York Soccer: Jorge Gonzalez

RBNY Recap: Henry salvages draw vs. FCD

July, 24, 2011
For a club with championship aspirations, the Red Bulls likely wanted to level the 2010 MLS Cup runners-up rather than draw level with them.

New York accumulated their league-leading 12th tie of the season in a 2-2 draw with FC Dallas at Red Bull Arena on Saturday. Thierry Henry collected his league-leading 11th goal of the season for an equalizer in the 85th minute that built upon a goal before halftime by Juan Agudelo and a second-half brace by FCD midfielder Martin Chavez.

All appeared lost as Chavez netted his second goal in the 78th minute and Dane Richards was sent off with his second yellow card two minutes later. Then Henry picked up a Dax McCarty chip and badly beat FCD right back Zach Loyd before firing a strike high and inside the near post for a brilliant goal that allows New York to enter the All-Star break on even footing.

A win over the Portland Timbers helped the Columbus Crew (8-6-7, 31 pts) leapfrog the Red Bulls (6-5-12, 30 pts) to join a two-way tie for first place in the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Union (8-4-7, 31 pts), who fell to La Liga powerhouse Real Madrid in a World Football Challenge friendy on Saturday.

Red Rover. Henry scored the equalizer for New York despite the Red Bulls being shorthanded in the final 10 minutes of the match. Referee Jorge Gonzalez sent off Richards the 80th minute after the Jamaican winger received his second yellow card in the second half. The resulting red card means Richards is now automatically suspended for the Red Bulls' next MLS match at Real Salt Lake on August 6.

Play of the Game: FCD's Decision to Draw Back. Perhaps following the Colorado Rapids script that led to Wednesday's rout, FC Dallas attackers pressed up to restrain the Red Bulls to only one goal in the first half. However, it also appeared to handcuff the visitor's ability to build their own attacking efforts. As a result, FCD led New York in ball recoveries in the middle and attacking thirds but had not registered an attempt on goal at the half.

FCD coach Schellas Hyndman appeared to call off the dogs in the second half with the midfield substitution of Eric Avila for Bruno Guarda, which opened up the visitor's possession game and unlocked the pressure that ultimately resulted in Chavez's double. Both goals started from a passing chain that started from dead balls (the first a throw-in, the second a free kick) and let Dallas get back to what it does best.

Cheap Shot Stopping. Earlier this week, Canadian 'keeper Greg Sutton told the Winnipeg Free Press that his departure made him the fall guy for the troubles holding back the Red Bulls this season. Presently, current Red Bulls netminder Frank Rost has allowed six goals while blocking only five shots during his three-game honeymoon period. If Rost can't fix that differential soon, he will inevitably start feeling the heat that exiled Sutton.

Collateral Damage. Agudelo arguably played his best game as a pro on Saturday with his clever chip shot in the 39th minute giving his team a lead and giving his solid performance an exclamation point.

But a rookie mistake may resonate longer. Agudelo received a yellow card in the 88th minute for what the referee deemed a dive. While that would ordinarily be the end of it, Real Salt Lake benefited in their match against the San Jose Earthquakes from a more obvious dive by Alvaro Saborio that resulted in a penalty kick and ultimately the first goal for RSL.

The MLS Disciplinary Committee already made an example of D.C. United forward Charlie Davies with a $1,000 fine for his dive against Real Salt Lake in June. Should the league decide to make another statement about diving after Saborio's antics, Agudelo could feel the repercussions as well.

Rerun in Real Time. Speak up if you've heard this one before: The Red Bulls claim an early lead, only to concede two goals to the opposition before summoning a late strike for an equalizer and an inevitable draw.

Saturday's match represents the third time the Red Bulls followed that script, with early leads and late strikes salvaging draws at Houston on May 22 and at San Jose on July 3. Henry's goal was the only one to occur at home, though both he and Joel Lindpere scored their game-tying goals in the 85th minute. Mehdi Ballouchy netted his equalizer against Houston in the 91st minute.

New York now enters the All-Star Break but will have little time to rest as they prepare for next week's Emirates Cup tournament in London. In the interim, Red Bulls coach Hans Backe along with Henry, Agudelo, and Tim Ream will stick around for the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes).

RBNY Recap: Rapids takeaway NY's finish

May, 26, 2011
It should always be easier to attack with the ball, even if the Red Bulls keep producing evidence to the contrary.

Despite a 62%-to-38% edge in possession over the Colorado Rapids during Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena, the defending MLS Cup champions put more shots on target than New York by a margin of 10 to six. A stout Rapids defense kept the potent Red Bulls attack in check with a +10 giveaway/takeaway margin, which was largely fueled by Colorado's execution of 30 takeaways as compared to 18 by New York.

"We couldn't break them up," said Red Bulls coach Hans Backe. "The creativity in the last third left not much and space and time for our players. Also, the passing game left too many unforced errors."

To improve on that disparity going forward, forward Luke Rodgers suggests picking up the offensive pace to create more pressure on opposing defenses.

"High tempo game," said Rodgers. "Keep pressing them aggressively. Do that and you’re going to score more goals."

Rodgers's sentiments about increasing the offensive pressure were also echoed by Dwayne De Rosario. "We just have to be a little more nasty and a little more hungry on winning every ball,” said the Canadian midfielder.

Miller Maligned. While much will be made of New York's continued troubles with defending against set pieces, the foul which set up Jeff Larentowicz's penalty kick gave New York a reason to gripe.

Referee Jorge Gonazlez awarded a penalty kick to Colorado after apparent contact in the penalty area by Red Bulls defender Roy Miller sent Rapids forward Andre Akpan to the ground. Replays showed that Miller made contact to right of the arc outside of the area, which would have resulted in a free kick but not an unobstructed penalty kick.

"I think it was a rash decision," said De Rosario. "I think the lineman should’ve stayed his ground and pointed outside the 18. It was what it was. The penalty is definitely questionable."

Jack of All Trades. Midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy played another solid game for New York and should expect to see his playing time increase with De Rosario and Dane Richards departing for the Gold Cup. The Moroccan midfielder admitted his desire to support his club in any way he can from the top three midfield positions.

"Whatever works for the team," said Ballouchy. "I’m the last guy to complain about position. If the coaching staff thinks I should play there, I would work on it and do my best."