We were expecting a lot of good hard-nosed football down at Pizza Hut Park. To be fair we weren’t disappointed as both sides were tough and gave plenty of action to the supporters in the Dallas area. From the start of the opening whistle both side were attacking and making fantastic plays. But it would be FC Dallas that gets on the score sheet first in the 24th minute.
It was a good run from FC Dallas as Heath Pearce took the ball along the far side of the area. A good cross that went into the middle of the field and pulled Bouna Coundoul away from the far post as Eric Alexander headed the ball towards Milton Rodriguez who had an open net and headed his shot in for the early lead. But a terrible decision by Brek Shea would send his team down a man.
Red Bulls with Possession and attacking the Dallas net on the near side. Shea ran at Dane Richards and stole the ball, but lost it. When Chris Albright retrieved it Shea took a reckless challenge and chopped him down. Two legged scissors challenge and referee Hilario Grajeda had no choice but to show the red card and send Shea off in the 29th minute. FC Dallas was down to ten men the rest of the match.
Red Bulls peppered Kevin Hartman all first half and got stopped, till first half stoppage time as the equalizer finally came. In the third minute of stoppage time a great ball from Roy Miller finds Joel Lindpere attacking the end line and a solid cross finds Mehdi Ballouchy who scores his first goal as a member of the Red Bulls. Great set up and a fantastic finish puts RBNY level at the half.
But this FC Dallas side was never quitting at all. They kept on attacking or found a way on the counter attack even while down a man and it was Eric Alexander who set up a goal, wanted one of his own. In the 68th minute Alexander would beat all four defenders and had a free path to the goal & slots it inside the near post to regain the lead, but a terrible mistake would get New York leveled again.
Late in the second half Lindpere has the ball again and looking at his options on the near side of the field. He saw Juan Pablo Angel making a run towards goal and he crossed a solid ball, but instead of Angel converting the second equalizer it was Jair Bentiez who scores the own goal in the 82nd minute. After a hard fought match from both sides some would say a two all draw would be fitting, but sadly it came with a heavy price.
FC Dallas came away with some nasty injuries and hopefully it won’t cost them with their remaining matches and heading into the playoffs. FC Dallas Captain Daniel Hernandez pulled a hamstring injury as he tried to make a turn and was subbed out in the 28th minute. Then something silly happened and you never thought it would come from one of the most honorable men in the game today.
After Mehdi Ballouchy converted the first half equalizer, you saw the camera cut to a close up of Ballouchy celebrating. Then out of nowhere you saw Kevin Hartman down on the ground rolling in pain holding his right knee. No one knew what happened till a couple of replays later and it was a terrible thing. Already carrying a yellow card in the match Thierry Henry jogged towards the ball and all of a sudden as he kicked it away to celebrate the goal he caught Hartman off his right ankle and foot. After halftime ended Hartman with a sleeve wrap on his right knee tried to see if he could continue and sadly couldn’t. Dario Sala came in to finish the entire second half.
Do I think Henry intended to injury Kevin Hartman? Of course not, but that was a stupid thing to do and Henry was very lucky to get away with something so dumb. If referee Hilario Grajeda did see that then it should’ve been Henry’s second yellow and he should’ve been sent off. I understand that Henry does these celebrations, but if the opposition is near the ball after the goal please leave it alone. At the moment thru tweets on Twitter Kevin Hartman picked up an MCL injury and if there are any other reports coming, I will update them here on this article. But once again this was a scrappy, hard fought match that ended in a two all draw.
UPDATE: From Michael Lewis of Big Apple Soccer, MLS has fined Thierry Henry $2,000 for his reckless action’s on FC Dallas keeper Kevin Hartman who has found out he suffered an MCL sprain & is out for two weeks. But Henry did not earn a suspension.