From yesterday morning's painful US Olympic 2-2 draw with Netherlands, to the Red Bulls' 4-1 demolition of DC United in the late afternoon, the day was a veritable football feast from China to the swamps of Jersey.
The US was seconds away from qualifying for the Olympic quarterfinals before the Oranje's Gerald Sibon (SC Heerenveen) blasted the tying goal under the US wall on a free kick from just outside the penalty area. The gallant US outplayed the heavily favored Dutch for most of the match, making the most of their opporunities through goals by Sacha Klejstan and the pride of Jersey, Jozy Altidore. In the final ten minutes, however, the Netherlands brought on two extra forwards, including world-class overage player Roy Makaay, and converted their best opporuntity to tie the match in the waning seconds.
The draw left the US atop Group B with four points (based on goals scored) and take on Nigeria on Wednesday morning. The Yanks, who'll have to play without midfielders Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley (yellow card accumulation) need at least a draw, or at least a Japan draw vs. Netherlands, to advance. If the US advance, the Yanks could face any of the Group A nations; Argentina, Cote d'Ivoire, Australia, or Serbia in the quarterfinals.
Group B standings:
US, 4 pts, +1 GD
Nigeria, 4pts, +1
Netherlands, 2pts, 0
x-Japan, 0pts, -2
In the afternoon, the New York Red Bulls went down a goal early at Giants Stadium, then lit up the DC United net with four goals in the club's best offensive effort since the monumental 5-4 victory over LA last August 19th. Juan Pablo Angel put two in, including a picture-perfect free kick to open the Red Bulls scoring in the 27th minute. Much maligned Mike Magee scored off a rebound just before halftime to give NY the lead, and after JPA's second, Sinisa Ubiparipovic tallied with minutes to play for the 4-1 win, the most lopsided New York victory in the 13-year series between the clubs.
New York needed the victory to keep pace in the improving MLS East, where the bottom four clubs are all sitting on 25 points. The Red Bulls' 3-goal victory helped its poor goal differential (now a -5), though New York sits 6th place. Next up: another of those 25-point clubs in Toronto FC, who snapped a 6-match winless streak at Colorado. Here's a hopeful sign for New York for Sunday's match. Since June 1, TFC is 2-0-0 vs. the Rapids and 0-5-2 vs. the rest of MLS.
Yesterday's match drew 15,038 to Giants Stadium, the largest non-Saturday crowd of the season...Seven yellow cards were distributed in the physical match, three to the Red Bulls, four to DC... Both DC and New England, who will play each other in a US Open Cup semifinal Tuesday night, lost their MLS matches this weekend...before yesterday, the Red Bulls hadn't scored more than two goals in a match all season.
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