Sunday, July 20, 2008

Better Than A Sharp Stick in the Eye...Barely

Last night's two-two draw with FC Goldenballs provided plenty of excitement and optimism as the New York Red Bulls head in to the All-Star Break, but frankly, the team did plenty to give away two points in a game New York led into injury time.

The debut of Venezulean midfielder Jorge Rojas, who assisted on both New York goals, provided a significant boost to the Red Bulls' offense, as the team scored more than a single goal for the first time in 14 outings in all competitions. Certainly, the Rojas-Angel attacking combo will be critical if New York will make a playoff run.

However, Oscar Etcheverry needs to be put out to pasture sooner rather than later. Numerous times last night, the Colombian recieved the ball 30+ yards from goal, raced up the flank, and passed into the center without once glancing to see if a teammate was nearby for a scoring opportunity. Usually, there wasn't.

Dave van den Bergh got huge marks not only for his massive first-half blast that opened the New York scoring, but his tenacity despite getting repeatedly knocked down by the LA defense.

Angel's goal was a thing of beauty, chipping Cronin from inside the six-yard box to give New York the lead in the 71st minute. Angel's awareness that he was without help and experience in beating the young Galaxy keeper was superb.

Alas, New York's "Curse of Caricola" continued, as the Red Bulls were unable to put the match away despite three excellent scoring opportunities in the second half. In fact, New York was lucky to escape with a single point when LA's Landon Donovan banged a shot off the left post with seconds to play in injury time.

So where to go from here? Newcomer Juan Pietrovallo made his debut as well last night, and with defenders Gabriel Cichero and Diego Jimenez soon to arrive, New York's midseason renovation will be complete. On Sunday, the Red Bulls visit bottom-of-the-table San Jose, before a road matches at DC, Toronto, and Houston that will go a long way towards determining New York's playoff fate. Let's hope the new and current Red Bulls will gel on the road and continue the attacking style displayed Saturday at Giants Stadium.


The hard-core Red Bull fandom protested the lack of effort in the club's July 1st US Open Cup loss to USL-2 squad Crystal Palace Baltimore by hanging the many fan banners in the Empire End of Giants Stadium upside down... the crowd of 46,754 was the largest to watch an MLS match this year... All five MLS matches this week ended in draws.

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