During training on Saturday, May 14th New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe knew that he was going to face a tough and scrappy Chivas-USA side. What we saw on Sunday night was a coming out party for Justin Braun as he along with Chivas-USA flew across the country and found a way to gain three points on the road and the first west coast side to win in the eastern end. It was a fantastic performance from the young Chivas-USA striker as he was able to grab his first career hat trick.
It looked innocent enough in the 6th minute but you saw Braun being defended well by Jan Gunnar Solli on the far side, but once Braun got a step ahead of Solli, he curled the ball towards the far post and beat Bouna Coundoul. His second of the match was during a free kick situation when Heath Pearce sent the ball towards the near post. Ante Jazic got to it first, but a quick pass back to Braun who was in the right place put it through Coundoul’s legs and in. “I saw Ante (Jazic) over my left shoulder and I knew he was going to play it back,” said Braun. “I tried to set myself up to strike it, Ante laid it off and put it in.”
Then the third of the night for Braun as he converted it from a freakish rebound off the far post in the 56th minute. Simon Elliott crossed the free kick into the area that was headed in by Alejandro Moreno. Coundoul was there to parry it away, but it hit the post and bounced along the goal line. All Braun had to do was tap it in and received his third of the night and his third of the season.
Even though it was a successful night for Chivas-USA, it wasn’t that great for the Red Bulls. No matter how many times they were behind, they couldn’t find that go ahead goal to break through. The first equalizer of the night came in the 21st minute when Rafa Marquez sent a long looping ball towards Thierry Henry. Just a quick touch to settle it and Henry struck his fifth of the season.
The second equalizer came in the 35th minute when Luke Rodgers was taken down in the Chivas-USA area. After failing to convert their first two, it was Dwayne De Rosario on his 33rd birthday to take his turn from the spot and he ripped it high and into the near upper ninety. But that was all the goals they could muster.
But when it came to the all around performance from the Red Bulls, head coach Hans Backe was not a happy man from what he has seen. “We played too pretty, we played too sloppy,” said Backe. “Conceding two goals like that on set plays it was too sloppy, we know what we have to do during set plays but it was sloppy. It was an effort you don’t win games in this league.”
Well for the Red Bulls they will have to get back to the drawing board and prepare for their road match down in Houston. Before the match got started there was a power failure with the stadium lights as lightning surged through the area, The delay lasted a little over thirty minutes. By the way, in the stadium was San Antonio Spurs point guard Tony Parker.