COMMENTARY | October 2013 will forever go down as the month in which the New York Red Bulls curse was broken.
The Red Bulls were essentially presented with a Final Four scenario that put the club's Supporters' Shield fate in their own hands. Win, and the trophy drought of nearly two years would finally be ended. Win New York did, and in spectacular fashion, and RBNY will enter the playoffs as regular season champions for the first time in history.
New York Red Bulls October 2013 review: Team MVP
Tim Cahill, New York's regular season MVP and the 2013 Major League Soccer MVP if I was able to hand out the award, was nothing short of tremendous in his side's final two games of the campaign. He netted the quickest goal in MLS history at Houston Dynamo back on October 20, a tally that helped propelled the visitors to an impressive 3-0 victory. He was then in the middle of the scrum that concluded with the ball crossing the goalline during the second half of the regular season finale against Chicago Fire.
Cahill has played the best football of his brief MLS career over the past two months, and his teammates are visibly feeding off of it. How much does Cahill mean to his club? I wouldn't trade him for any single player in the league at the moment.New York Red Bulls October 2013 review: A worry
Goalkeeper Luis Robles picked up a knock in the Chicago game, and he could be carrying a slight leg injury into New York's first playoff contest. That problem not being "super serious" does not mean that Robles will be fully fit in goal, which is a concern with the Red Bulls about to enter an elimination tournament. Ryan Meara, a 2012 Rookie of the Year candidate until a hip injury ended his season four months early, may be called into action this coming Sunday.
Meara unquestionably has the goods to deliver on the pitch. He's cold, is all, having not played much this year due to Robles becoming one of the most reliable 'keepers in all of MLS. No disrespect meant toward Meara, but Robles being 100 percent and out on the pitch is what is best for RBNY in November.
New York Red Bulls October 2013 review: Somewhat forgotten
A bit lost, at least for a moment or so, in the celebrations that came from New York hoisting the first meaningful trophy in franchise history is that the road to MLS Cup goes through Harrison, NJ this fall. All the Red Bulls have to do to guarantee a second home Cup Final in a little over two months is win.
New York have been dominant at Red Bull arena this season. No team in the conference won more home league matches in 2013 than did the Red Bulls. Merely surviving an away leg should, in theory, result in New York hosting a title game. That, as this franchise has proven time and time again in postseason play, is easier said than done.
Zac has been covering the USMNT, Holland, Tottenham Hotspur, New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer and other soccer leagues for Yahoo Sports since 2010.
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