After coming home with a one goal lead on aggregate from San Jose, the New York Red Bulls knew that the Earthquakes were never going to give up without a fight at Red Bull Arena. The Quakes absolutely knew they dodged a massive bullet at Buck Shaw Stadium as the scoreline could’ve been at least four goals to nil. On Thursday night at Red Bull Arena, the Earthquakes were ready to take down the Eastern Conference regular season champions.
Bobby Convey came ready to play and was the hero for the Earthquakes. An early sixth minute tally that started with a clearance by Tim Ream that was blocked, Ryan Johnson was then able to get the ball and cross it into the area. It was knocked down, but the ball fell loose and all Convey did was take the shot well and went top shelf. One goal to nil on the scoreboard, but the aggregate was leveled at one a piece.
After a poor start the Red Bulls were able to settle down and tried to pull one back. All match long you could see the Red Bulls chasing the game. They attacked the net with plenty of purpose and tried to get that second goal on the aggregate. No matter how many times they tried to get a goal it would either be a shot that hit the post, was high, wide or Jon Busch would make a good save.
But the Quakes were hungry to pull an upset and in the 76th minute Bobby Convey did it again and scored his second of the night with a quick fake on the near side. He ran at goal and scored another fantastic strike that beat Bouna Coundoul. Two goals to one lead on the aggregate. But there was an answer from the Red Bulls two minutes later.
New rookie sensation Juan Agudelo got a nice ball and attacked the area. He stopped to fake a shot, then chipped it across and waiting to head it in was Juan Pablo Angel who gave the home crowd something to cheer about. That goal leveled the aggregate at two a piece, but sadly it all went crashing down again.
In the 81st minute it was a cheap clearance that allowed the Quakes to keep possession in the Red Bulls side of the field. Convey made a fantastic cross into the middle of the area and an unmarked Chris Wondolowski timed his run perfectly and headed the ball past Coundoul for the three goals to two aggregate lead.
Hans Backe failed to get his substitutions out during this three goal explosion that took six minutes before he was able to use all three. Thierry Henry, Salou Ibrahim and Jeremy Hall came on around the 84th minute and when there was only two minutes of stoppage time in the second half, it was all over when referee Mark Geiger blew his whistle. The San Jose Earthquakes came to Red Bull Arena and performed Frank Yallop’s game plan well.
Almost 23,000 came to Red Bull Arena expecting a win and a celebration to host the Eastern Conference final. Instead they saw the side wearing Black and Blue celebrating on their home field. Give credit where credit is due. The Earthquakes came with no fear and knew they had a chance at an upset. They made their chances count and took advantage of some terrible defending. So now they will await their opponents and it will be a trip to either Colorado or Columbus for a chance at the MLS Cup Final in Toronto.
Congratulations to Frank Yallop and the San Jose Earthquakes for a well played series and good luck into the next round of the 2010 MLS Cup playoffs.