It was another hot and very humid day in the tri-state area as the New York Red Bulls hosted their first early matinee since the 2004 season at Giants Stadium. On that day, Jimmy Conrad, then of the Kansas City Wizards, collapsed on the Field Turf in over 100 degree weather in the middle of July.
Well that type of day happened again as the Red Bulls continued their three game home stand, hosting a red-hot Chicago Fire side that was only one point behind them in the standings. On a day like today, you really felt that one goal was all a side would need to take home three points, and that turned out to be the case.
Roy Miller stopped a Chicago run in the 71st minute, and quickly found substitute Connor Lade who brought up the ball. At the center circle Lade found Sebastien Le Toux, and he quickly crossed a good ball to Thierry Henry. He chested the ball down and scored an amazing goal.
The shot was on a tight angle that saw Sean Johnson coming off his line to about halfway. Henry then took a hard shot, and it went over Johnson and off the inside of the near post. It snuck over the goal line for the only tally of the game. It was a fantastic shot that broke Henry’s goalless streak. It was his first since April 28th against the New England Revolution at Red Bull Arena, the match where he became injured.
Nervous moments occured late in the second half, as the Fire were trying to get the equalizer. Pavel Pardo crossed in a ball that was deflected out, and a pinball sequence ensued. But on a cross from Dan Gargan who found Orr Barouch for the header, Bill Gaudette got some help from Brandon Barklage who headed the ball clear off the line.
“Of course difficult conditions. Overall after 90 minutes I feel it was well deserved to win the game, but of course it could have went either way.” Said Hans Backe, “The first time in a while we got a clean sheet and that is what we wanted from today’s game and (we) scored the first goal.”
Frank Klopas felt it was a disappointing result. “The first half I thought we weren’t very good in possession and that’s the thing we talked about. I think we dropped a little too deep and gave them a lot of space. The one opportunity I think we lost the ball on the turnover and Henry obviously showed his class there.”
But once again the conditions at Red Bull Arena were very extreme, and you saw the players being cautious on the field. Even though they were able to create some chances, you got worried that someone on the field might collapse and sadly the ambulance was on its way.
The only complaint I had and many of the writers in the press box was that referee Edvin Jurisevic could’ve allowed a one minute water break into both halves and add it to stoppage time. But the hope is that this 1PM start time will never happen again. There is one more early start time to be played this Saturday as the Union come up from Philadelphia.