Monday, April 21, 2008

MLS Match Report 2: Red Bulls 1, New England Revolution 1

East Rutherford, New Jersey -- The Red Bulls headed into their second home match of the season (Sat., April 19) on the heels of a disappointing 2-nil loss the previous week at FC Dallas, but with spring having finally sprung in the Garden State spirits were high as the Northfield, New Jersey Massive! trucked the 120 miles to Estadio de Gigantes courtesy of the Holak mobile.
We have season tickets, and the Holaks have a 4-game plan. Tonight, our calendars crossed. Cool.
Dave, Carrie and Trevor joined Alex, Ben and I for a bit of weekend MLS action, and the night got off to a good start with Coldplay and Keane pumping through the radio from Dave's iPod, an airing of "Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom" on the DVD player for the lads and Carrie ensconsed in the back seat with the Jonathan Kellerman novel "Obsession." And that was just on the Parkway! The game lay tantalizingly ahead. Once in the stadium parking lot, the three lads and Dave went about playing small-sided games, juggling and just generally looking like the soccer players they all are. Meanwhile, I put on my fanny pack. What can I say? It's a look that works for me, no matter what anyone says.
We went inside, found our separate sections (the Massive! flag being hung in 107, Row 1 as usual) and settled in for a high-tempo match between two Eastern Conference rivals. I predicted an early goal for the Bulls, which didn't really materialize. But Bulls striker Jozy Altidore did give the home side a 1-nil lead with a well-taken goal near the half-hour mark. His pace, power and finishing skills proved to much for the Revs, who then went down to 10 men before the interval. The Bulls were in prime position to push on and be at 6 points from 9 available in the young season. Then, sadly, it all went pear-shaped.
First, Juan Pablo Angel was taken off at halftime (we figured it was a reoccurrence of his hamstring injury). Then, the Bulls conceded a free kick right on the edge of the 18. Inexplicably, goalkeeper Jon Conway built a 7-man wall (as Dave pointed out via text) and the ball went under the jumping throng to beat him at the near post. Deflating to say the least.
The rest of the match saw the Revs shut up shop, with goalkeeper Matt Reis denying Altidore and Bulls striker John Wolyniec heading over the bar. When the final whistle sounded, the Bulls had given up a golden opportunity to set out their stall in the Eastern Conference.
Oh, well. At least we had Holak's hair metal on Sirius Satellite Radio to keep the mood light on the way home ...