The New York Red Bulls were without designated players Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez when they hosted Tottenham Hotspur on Tuesday evening. The Red Bulls did, however, debut new DP Tim Cahill, and Cahill was the main reason New York grabbed a 1-0 lead before the tenth minute of play. Spurs proved to be just too much and too talented a squad, and they rallied to earn a 2-1 victory against the Major League Soccer side.
Red Bulls lose 2-1 to Tottenham: The new man
Cahill delighted fans seven minutes into his first RBNY appearance, when he beat Jan Vertonghen down the field in a race to retrieve an over the top ball delivered by Dax McCarty. The Spurs defender then ran Cahill over while inside the box, a clear penalty that was justifiably awarded. While Cahill played well during the first 15-20 minutes of the match, he clearly tired out before the halftime break, a fact that was brought up by the ESPN announcers calling the action. One must remember that, unlike the New York roster, Cahill is still in preseason shape, and thus he'll need a little bit of time before he enjoys a return to match fitness.
Henry recently talked about the issues that arise when players like Cahill come to MLS from European leagues during the summer transfer window, citing himself as an example. In short, Henry hinted that Cahill should not necessarily be a guarantee for the New York starting eleven right away. I agree with him. Waiting a couple of weeks until Cahill finds his legs would help prevent injuries, and also allow the former Everton star to find his "MLS form."
Red Bulls lose 2-1 to Tottenham: Cause for concern?
Jan Gunnar Solli returned from injury this past weekend when New York lost 3-1 to Montreal Impact. It didn't go well, as Solli was partially responsible for two of Montreal's three goals. Things didn't go much better for Solli on Tuesday night. He replaced Teemu Tainio following the halftime break, and Solli had a difficult time keeping up with the Tottenham players throughout his 46 minutes on the pitch. His worst moment came two minutes from time, when he clearly brought Andros Townsend down inside the penalty area. The referee made no call, but it was just another moment from this past half-week that Solli will want to soon forget.
The New York squad will be very deep assuming it ever actually gets fully healthy. Players such as Brandon Barklage, Connor Lade, Heath Pearce and the newly acquired Babajide Ogunbiyi give RBNY head coach Hans Backe plenty of options moving forward. Solli could find himself on the outside of the team's starting lineup, perhaps as soon as this weekend.
Red Bulls lose 2-1 to Tottenham: The right call
I'll continue saying it until I feel everybody has received the message. Not a single Red Bulls fan can again comment that captain Thierry Henry is not "all in" regarding winning the MLS Cup. Henry elected to sit out Tuesday's game rather than attempt to burn his old rivals as he did when Spurs visited Harrison, NJ back in 2010. He has played a lot of competitive and meaningful soccer in the past month, and Henry appeared to have very tired legs early in the second half of this past Saturday's match against Montreal. There was no reason for the veteran and living legend to take the pitch on Tuesday, and I'm glad he realized that.
Red Bulls lose 2-1 to Tottenham: Unfortunate
New York defender Markus Holgersson had himself a rather good game. He shut down attacks on both ends of the penalty area, and he wasn't guilty of a single blunder or mistake during the contest. Holgersson will be featured in all 2012 Tottenham preseason videos, however, because of his being turned around by play-maker Gylfi Sigurdsson before Sigurdsson deposited what was to be the game-winner.
I'm interested to see how Holgersson recovers moving forward. Such moments happen to all defenders during their careers, and Holgersson may again be selected to feature in New York's starting lineup this weekend when the Red Bulls travel to Houston. He'll need to have a short memory, or else we could see a return of the Holgersson from this past spring, one incapable of starting for a MLS team.
Red Bulls lose 2-1 to Tottenham: Gaudette
New York goalkeeper Bill Gaudette was my overall man of the match, as the Red Bulls would have found themselves trailing by multiple goals 60 minutes into the game had the current backup 'keeper not come up with several athletic and clutch saves. Gaudette has been nothing short of great since joining the Red Bulls in mid-July, so much so that Backe has hinted that the journeyman could replace rookie Ryan Meara. I'm not sure I'm a fan of that move, but I do know that having two solid goalkeepers is a must for any MLS contenders.