While I always prefer to watch any sporting contest live as it happens, some games were just meant for DVR. Take away the first seven minutes of Saturday evening's Toronto FC vs. New York Red Bulls contest, and you have a game that proves your "soccer is boring and that's why I don't bother" fans right. You can't win them all, as they say, and New York did well to earn a solid point on the road. The 2012 Red Bulls have certainly been responsible for better play than what we saw on Saturday evening, but there is no reason any fan should be overly upset about the team returning to the States with a point in hand.
Toronto FC 1-1 NY Red Bulls: The big story
I am not at all a superstitious person, but I am starting to wonder if RBNY center backs are indeed cursed. Markus Holgersson, who didn't play against TFC because of an ankle injury, is likely to be out for at least another week. Wilman Conde returned to action on Saturday evening, but it was clear that he is still not 100 percent. Now it looks like the Red Bulls may be without another key defender for at least a game or so, as head coach Hans Backe told reporters after Saturday's contest that Heath Pearce suffered a hamstring injury. While Rafa Marquez is set to return to the pitch next weekend, he has unquestionably played better as a midfielder than as a CB this season. Backe may have no choice regarding Marquez when the Red Bulls travel to New England to take on the Revolution on July 8, however, as his defenders continue to drop like flies.
Toronto FC 1-1 NY Red Bulls: Nice to see
I like seeing Jan Gunnar Solli, who netted his first career MLS goal on June 25, having a more attacking mentality as he has throughout the 2012 campaign. Solli did well to time a run perfectly in order to beat the offside trap before sending home the match's opening goal just four minutes into play. Some have blamed Solli for not doing enough to cover Danny Koevermans in the box on a corner kick that ultimately resulted in Koevermans finding an equalizer in the sixth minute. Sometimes, however, you just have to give credit to the goal scorer. Solli again had a good game, and I'd like to think that he's finding his form as summer begins.
Toronto FC 1-1 NY Red Bulls: Don't know what ya' got...
It's easy to again voice the "RBNY need to sign an attacking midfielder this summer" argument after watching the team's midfield (outside of Thierry Henry, who routinely dropped back and delivered some of the game's best passes on Saturday) struggle to produce much of anything against Toronto. Instead, however, I see the match as a reminder of how consistent the often-maligned Mehdi Ballouchy has been throughout the season. Ballouchy, still unable to play in Canada due to green card issues (an update from the team on that situation would be nice, but I digress), was sorely missing, especially during the final 25 minutes of play. It was during that time when the previously mentioned Henry was visibly frustrated with a lack of distribution from his teammates, and he responded by dropping back in order to attempt to create something for the likes of Kenny Cooper or Joel Lindpere.
Toronto FC 1-1 NY Red Bulls: Overall
I'm again left puzzled as to why so many New York fans posting on social networking websites and in fan forums are so displeased with the Red Bulls escaping Canada with a point. In case you have missed it, Toronto have played better as of late after a much-needed coaching change. They have, after Saturday's 1-1 draw, now earned points in five of six contests. TFC are hardly world beaters, and their back line continues to be a huge liability. Regardless, a banged up New York squad left the country, played a hard 90 minutes of soccer, and they are just two points behind DC United in the Eastern Conference standings with a game in hand.
Fine by me.