The second leg of this back to back tilt with the Houston Dynamo was at Red Bull Arena as it would be another battle for the top spot in the Eastern Conference. You can tell this time around that the Red Bulls were not going to allow the time and freedom of space for the Dynamo to get their chances.
While there were no goals in the first half, both sides had their chances and when you felt the goal was coming, the Red Bulls got on the board first. It was a throw in from the far side and close to the Houston area. Roy Miller gave it to Joel Lindpere and returned it to Miller. He provided a long cross that Tim Cahill tracked down. He felt ready to strike and leapt in the air to head it towards goal, but sneaking in was Markus Holgersson and he bunted it past Tally Hall for the lead. It was an easy tap in for the tall Swedish defender and he converts his second of the season.
The final tally came in second half stoppage time and it was Cahill again who sprung Thierry Henry down the far side. The flag stayed down and it was a two on nothing with Jan Gunnar Solli. A quick pass to Solli, and he chipped it into an open net and the Red Bulls were winners on the night.
If you were wondering about why the flag stayed down, the near side assistant was late tracking the play and never raised his flag. It looked on replay that Henry was offside, but unfortunately for the Dynamo they head back down to Texas without any points.
“I think overall it was a good MLS game,” said Head Coach Hans Backe. “The level of the game was quite high, it was a well-deserved win. Before they had their chance at the 77th minute I think we had five 100% scoring chances. Normally you get quite concerned when you don’t take your chances. Houston are a very good team, so they will get their chances.”
But overall this was a fabulous game that had excitement, hard tackles and some feistiness from both sides. All match long Connor Lade’s marker was Macoumba Kandji and most of the night he showed why he can be a bulldog with strong challenges. Backe has enjoyed Lade’s performances.
“He’s starting to be a key player for us. I mean we played, I think 24 games or something like that, and he’s one of the guys you put first on the starting lineup whether it’s at the wide left position or as a right fullback. But he’s been absolutely phenomenal. Coming to us from our Academy directly, the first season with form like this, you don’t see that very often in professional football.”
What happened to Tally Hall this evening? He nearly coughed up a goal in the 11th minute as he saw Henry coming at him and tried to make a fancy move. But Hall slipped on the field and Henry tried to capitalize, yet Hall was still in good position to grab it. But in the 57th minute Hall had to save his teammate from an own goal.
Joel Lindpere forced a turnover and attacked the area from the far side. He was trying to cross it to a teammate, but Corey Ashe got his foot on the ball that was heading into his net. That’s when Hall had some quick thinking and made a big left hand save.
So at the moment the Red Bulls are in first place in the east depending on what the current US Open Cup Champions Sporting Kansas City does in their match against DC United, but right now the Red Bulls are becoming a solid home side at Red Bull Arena.