Thursday, June 03, 2010

RBNY 2 - 1 Houston Dynamo

by Dick Mac

A short article appeared on the New York Times sports site last night: Angel Lifts Red Bulls Past Dynamo in Stoppage Time.

It is the type of report that's shot-off quickly, late at night, at the end of a sporting event, that gives a bare-bones statement of fact about the event.

The Red Bulls won last night, to end a four-game losing streak that had even the most faithful of us on the edge of the abyss of doubt.

The 2-1 score tells nothing of the two brilliant saves of Juan Pablo Angel strikes by Dynamo goalkeeper Pat Onstad, or the heart-wrenching John Wolyniec shot off the crossbar. The score tells nothing about the hard, physical nature of the contest, that saw more yellow cards in one match than I think I've ever seen (I don't even have a count for you).

It says nothing of the amazing athletic displays by Seth Stammler and his take-down of a Houston midfielder during a tense moment between two other players. It says nothing about Sinisa Ubiparapovic, who scored the first goal, dispossessed Houston uncountable times, and was the team's workhorse until exhaustion began to get the better of him after the 85th minute.

The persistent defense of Danleigh Borman, who repeatedly raced down the side to keep Houston back on their heels, Tim Ream who intercepted seemingly accurate passes in Houston's midfield, Mike Petke who handled the coordination between his fellow defenders and the goalkeeper, or Chris Albright (involved in the aforementioned dust-up) who with his hard and intense, physical play, proved that he is worthy of being called a Red Bull and not just a former New England defender.

Bouna Condoul stopped all but one of Houston's shots. He has become a key to this team's success. He engages his teammates and the crowd with an ease and aplomb not generally seen in athletes.

Dane Richards went down early. He is a winger whose speed is the bane of many teams' defenders. He can outrun almost any defender in the league, and when our forwards can figure out how to get up top on time to benefit from his speed, they can benefit from some crosses, that he can then learn to deliver promptly. He was replaced by Tony Tchani, who took over the midfield and dribbled through the Houston players with ease. Tchani is a player to watch for the future and he played amazingly last night.

This leaves Joel Lindpere, who has been a godsend. A proper European soccer player with solid skills and dogged determination, he sees plays developing and makes things happen.

Well, then there are the officials. As MLS has managed to raise the level of play and the quality of players, they have failed to raise the quality of the officials. Last night's match was an embarrassment to officiating, and the teams played remarkably well in spite of the danger inherent in bad officiating.

Houston has two of my favorite MLS players: veteran Brian Ching who, in spite of a nagging injury that kept him off the USA World Cup squad, scored his team's only goal; and, the amazingly fast Corey Ashe, who came in for the later minutes of the match.

Last night, Red Bull New York played the kind of soccer that anyone would love to watch; and I think they are fast becoming a very marketable team in the New York market.

After the break for the World Cup, be certain to take in a match at Red Bull Arena, or the MLS stadium in your area.

You will not be disappointed.

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