Unbelievable. Absolutely unbelievable.
I was set to type something that hadn't been accurately typed in a decade: The New York Red Bulls defeat the New England Revolution while away to New England. The Red Bulls showed plenty of heart in fighting back when a man down and then opening the scoring a minute into stoppage time thanks to two key players who refused to quit during the final quarter-hour of play. It wasn't meant to be, however, as New York supporters again had their hearts ripped out thanks to a header that was nodded home roughly 20 seconds after the game was "supposed" to end.
"That's so Metro" or "Same old Metro" both fail to describe the reactions I've witnessed from fans via social networking websites and text messages. This one is different. This one hurts just a bit more.
New England Revolution 1-1 NY Red Bulls: Broken record
Rafa Marquez, the designated player set to make $4.6 million this season and who perhaps should not have played on the Gillette Stadium turf, picked up a hamstring injury early on in the contest. To his credit, Marquez refused to immediately come out of the game, instead having his leg wrapped in an attempt to play through the pain. Marquez couldn't make it to halftime, though, and he was subbed off for Joel Lindpere ten minutes before the break.
It was the third start for Marquez since returning from a calf injury that kept him off the pitch for all but 25 minutes of league play throughout July and August. Perhaps most troublesome about the issue is that Marquez had performed admirably in New York's past two games. There was no in-depth update on his injury following the match, but history suggests he'll be sidelined for at least a game.
New England Revolution 1-1 NY Red Bulls: Chance to reclaim spot?
Super sub Connor Lade, who became a favorite of RBNY supporters and team captain Thierry Henry with his play during the first half of the 2012 Major League Soccer season, has had a rough go of it as of late. Lade was second best in several scenarios on Saturday evening, and what was, by my count, a third reckless foul earned him a yellow card nine minutes after halftime. Lade was then sent off 20 minutes after being booked when he yanked Benny Feilhaber, who had blown past the diminutive back, to the ground just a few steps outside of the New York penalty area.
Brandon Barklage ultimately came on and took over at right back, and he looked pretty good during his 15+ minutes of action. That job was Barklage's earlier in the season until he went down with a hamstring injury back in July. With Lade suspended for the team's home match against Toronto FC next Saturday, Barklage will likely have an opportunity to prove to head coach Hans Backe that he deserves starts during October and November matches,
New England Revolution 1-1 NY Red Bulls: The duo
Joel Lindpere and Tim Cahill were far from perfect, but they were the two best players on the field once Lade picked up his second yellow card. The two were responsible for a combined three noteworthy scoring chances in that time, and they came together to put New York ahead in the 91st minute. Wilman Conde played a cross from the left wing into the penalty area, and Cahill, defender AJ Soares and goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth all rose to win the ball. The ball bounced off of Cahill's head as the three players collided, and Lindpere then headed home what looked to be a streak-ending goal.
New England Revolution 1-1 NY Red Bulls: One more play
New York goalkeeper Bill Gaudette was again a hero for 94 minutes on Saturday, keeping the match level with clutch stops in both halves. Mirroring events that occurred in matches at Sporting KC and at DC United, Gaudette was also his own enemy in one situation that cost his team dearly. About 18 seconds after the announced four minutes of stoppage time, Ryan Guy looped a left-footed ball into the New York penalty area. Gaudette came off his line but he hesitated and thus stayed outside of the group of players, and Darrius Barnes headed the ball into the empty net to earn New England the draw.
Some New York fans commenting on the situation via Twitter and Facebook complained that the final whistle should have sounded before Guy was able to play the ball into the box. A referee adding 20 to 30 seconds of stoppage time to allow a team to complete a final attacking sequence is hardly a rare occurrence, and the fact is that Gaudette or a RBNY player has to make a play there. The look on Gaudette's face as he stood silently in the box by himself following the match told a story about a guy who knew he fell just one save short of keeping a clean sheet.
New England Revolution 1-1 NY Red Bulls: Conclusion
Moving up to 50 points will be good to keep New York in the third place spot in the MLS Eastern Conference standings for at least one more week. I can assure you that's a fact that means very little to the team or diehard New York supporters on Saturday evening. "Sometimes a tie feels like a loss," as they say, and this is definitely one of those times.