Mehdi Ballouchy’s Stoppage Time Heroics Saves a Point For New York Red Bulls
Every time the New York Red Bulls and Houston Dynamo get together during the season or the playoffs, something crazy happens. When you are thinking for once it was going to be a quiet game, you aren’t thinking things through. It happened again at Robertson Stadium as the Red Bulls found a way to score early and late in the match.
It would be Dane Richards who’s had the Dynamo’s number since the 2008 playoffs got on the score sheet within the first minute of the match. Teemu Tainio sent a long looping ball from midfield that landed in front of Luke Rodgers, who passed it back into an area behind him. Richards trailing the play got to the ball and shot a twenty yard laser past Tally Hall that nailed the back of the net at the thirty-five second mark, breaking the club’s fastest goal scored record that was held by Dave van den Bergh at forty-six seconds.
But the Dynamo would get a penalty in the twelfth minute as Cam Weaver was on-side when the ball was played at midfield. As soon as Weaver got inside the area, a reckless tackle from Rafa Marquez took him down and the referee pointed to the spot. Brad Davis waited for Greg Sutton to make the first move and calmly converted it. The Dynamo would take the lead late in the second half from their new signing who came off the bench.
A corner was awarded in the 82nd minute and Brad Davis would take it. It was sent into the area and headed by Geoff Cameron on frame. Sutton did grab it, but spilled it right to the feet of Koke who had a free shot and converted his first goal in Major League Soccer. It looked like the Dynamo was going to take the full three points against the Red Bulls, but once again something strange always happens when these two sides play together and it was Mehdi Ballouchy who saved the night for the Red Bulls.
Since the start of the season, corners and set pieces have been plaguing the Red Bulls. Only once did they convert — the three goal victory at Red Bull Arena against the San Jose Earthquakes. Rafa Marquez’s deliveries haven’t been up to par. This time Hans Backe would use Joel Lindpere on the left side while Dwayne De Rosario would be on the right.
In the first of three in second half stoppage time, Lindpere sent the ball from the far corner into the area. Somehow Ballouchy was all alone near the far post and with a quick snap header, the ball went past Tally Hall and the Red Bulls would save a big point on the road. Even though the Philadelphia Union defeated the Chicago Fire to retake first place in the east, this road point keeps them in step.
The Dynamo should have won this match. After the Red Bulls gave up the penalty in the twelfth minute, this was all Houston. They attacked the flanks with ease; they pressured the Red Bulls all match long. Even though they couldn’t finish at times before Koke’s rebound shot, this should’ve been three points for Houston. But once again these games are always wacky and fun when these two come together.