In a West meets East 3rd place clash, the Seattle Sounders escaped the sweltering heat of Red Bull Arena with a 2-2 draw. Although conditions on the field were not ideal, the game started with a back and forth affair between the two sides. New York lined up in an experimental 4-3-3 lineup, with captain Thierry Henry paying as an attacking midfielder. Seattle lined up with Mauro Rosales up top along with Eddie Johnson, once again relegating Freddy Montero to the bench.
It took Seattle only 16 minutes to get on the board as Adam Johansson sent it a perfect cross that Alvaro Fernandez was able to get a foot on and put Seattle ahead. The Red Bulls shape was not to blame but the lack of pressure that was put on Johansson to send in the cross. Connor Lade seemed to be the one who missed his mark and gave the room but Brandon Barklage also did not pick up the run of Fernandez. Shortly after, Rafa Marquez was subbed off the field after he aggravated his left calf injury from earlier in the season. After the sub, Thierry Henry went over to Backe on the sideline and seemed to agree their experiment wasn’t working. New York switched back to a 4-4-2 with Le Toux moving out wide to the right. Le Toux did push up further and more centrally than Richards would and New York had to get used to not having the speedy Jamaican toe the touchline. Despite playing out wide, Le Toux did not take long to open his scoring account in New York getting on the end of a rebound made by a good Cooper shot that Meredith had to parry away. New York took hold of the game after scoring though their defense broke down on two separate occasions that called newly acquired Bill Gaudette into action, making two spectacular stops. New York almost scored on two separate occasions late in the half. Henry was about to bury a cross into the back of the net but Osvaldo Alonso swatted the ball out of bounds with his hand. I sit right there and there is no way he did not touch the ball. The refs agreed as well, giving the Red Bulls a corner saying that the ball went off Alonso’s shoulder. It is the second time this season the Red Bulls have been robbed clear of a penalty on a handball. Off the resulting corner, Markus Holgersson placed a beautiful header that rung off the bottom of the crossbar, ending play in the first half. The Swedish international stood there for a good minute in disbelief after the whistle sounded.
New York would be the better of the two sides early on in the second half, starting the way they finished the first half. With a bit of individual brilliance, Joel Lindpere put the Red Bulls ahead by sneaking a ball past Meredith near post. The Red Bulls lead would be short lived, as Freddy Montero would tie the game shortly after being brought on as a sub. After that, the heat seemed to get to both sides as play slowed considerably and chances for both side were wasted. Hans Backe could have helped the Red Bulls possibly get the win if he brought fresh legs on in the second half. He didn’t though and that could severely hurt their homestand after the players went the full 90. The Red Bulls ended the game on a teasing header by defender Roy Miller who sent a header just wide of the post.
Even though they only picked up a point, New York catches a break with DC United losing to the Dynamo, 4-0. This is also the first time in 17 games that Seattle has not won when scoring first. It was also a sigh of relief as two attackers scored for the Red Bulls instead of defenders, as had previously been the case. It’s a very quick turnaround for New York, who plays at home at 1pm against the Chicago Fire. That’s right, 1pm in the middle of summer for a kickoff.
(image courtesy of newyorkredbulls.com)