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The Last Soccer Match At Giants Stadium Ends On A Good Feeling

On a cold and rainy night at the swamps of the Meadowlands, this was the final performance on the soccer side at Giants Stadium. Yes the season has been lost since the middle of June, but that doesn’t mean the club can’t try to play for pride and knock off Toronto FC from the playoffs. At the same time former Real Madrid & Barcelona midfielder Albert Celades announced his retirement from the game and even though this match would end an era in the tri-state area, the players wanted to win this for the supporters as well for Celades as a send off present.

Both Juan Pablo Angel & Macoumba Kandji earned braces in this match to power past Toronto FC. For Kandji it was a second minute tally getting a nice ball played towards him from Celades and with two defenders on him smacked the match winner inside the far post. On his second goal in the seventieth minute he was able to take advantage from a mental error by the defender. Kandji was attacking as he side stepped the keeper and tapped home his second of the night and fourth of the season.

Once again it was another fabulous performance from Juan Pablo Angel who never gives up no matter where the club is positioned on the eastern conference table. A brilliant strike in the thirty-third minute when Kandji fed him the ball from the near side, Angel quickly settles and a side foot smack inside the far post for his eleventh of the season. In the Sixty-Second minute during the run of play it was Jeremy Hall slotting a pass towards Angel and when he got towards goal, it was another hard shot past TFC keeper Brian Edwards and inside the near post.

But of course the final goal of the night would come in stoppage time & I can give you the answer to this trivia question. Matthew Mbuta converted a spot kick inside second half stoppage time as the last player to score a goal in Giants Stadium. It wasn’t Juan Pablo Angel who was subbed out in the first minute of stoppage time; it wasn’t even Albert Celades who subbed out in the second minute of stoppage time. It will be Matthew Mbuta’s name that will live in infamy.

In a warm and dry press box I was informed that at halftime former US Internationals Tony Meola & Tab Ramos along with former French International Youri Djorkaeff who played for the MetroStars and currently RBNY gave us their time and shared some memories playing at Giants Stadium. But while they were nostalgic discussing this stadium they were excited and happy to talk about Red Bull Arena coming next year to start the new MLS Season.

While this was a happy moment for RBNY to deliver a final victory for the supporters and leave on a good note, I have a pretty good feeling that those back in Toronto & those who traveled to the match from the northern border were not happy at all. This was suppose to be an improved side that had a playoff birth wrapped up and all they needed to do was to win against a side that has had a horrible year with bad defense and barely scoring more than a goal or two this season. I honestly don’t know what was said in the locker room after the match, but I know that General Manager Mo Johnston made the trip & I really believe he read the riot act against his side that should’ve taken home any form of points to reach the playoffs for the first time in club history.

Finally this is what I have to say about Giants Stadium. With all the history this building has been apart of. All the fabulous things that we have seen in the old NASL days of the New York Cosmos, international friendly matches, the 1994 World Cup, the 1999 Women’s World Cup, 2003 US Open Cup Final, some CONCACAF Gold Cup matches and two finals. It’s going to be a small sad day when they tear it apart. But to be honest I’m not going to shed a tear.

This stadium was made for the NFL side New York Giants and they got lucky that the New York Jets wanted out of Shea Stadium and agreed to pay rent. The Cosmos phenomenon with Pele, Beckenbauer, Messing, Roth and so many others during that era made that stadium sparkle and sadly this club was jinxed and couldn’t capture that. It might have been home in some sense but to be honest it never felt like it when security guards intentionally threw out the fans, because they like this sport. You felt like a bunch of outsiders coming to a stadium that is well known in both the NFL & World Football. Now this area is going to get the stadium that they truly deserve and it will be spectacular. This will have a European feel, but it will be all American.

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  1. Rex

    October 26, 2009 at 6:51 pm

    Man, I hate NYRB. I really wanted TFC to make the playoffs. All TFC does is sit around being crappy all season then ruin things for other teams. (See Houston in 2008 playoffs)

  2. Charles

    October 26, 2009 at 12:08 pm

    I hope you are right on Vancouver, because they are spending a heck of a lot to downsize it.
    I am glad that Red Bull Arena, or whatever they name it is going to be great, but QWest was designed for soccer ( except for maybe astro turf, which I don’t mind, kind of like the parquet floor in the Boston garden ).
    The 40,000 fans attending there on Thursday will disagree with you….whether you are talking NFL or MLS,
    NOTHING beats QWest stadium, the atmosphere and its fans.

  3. LI Matt

    October 25, 2009 at 3:15 pm

    *squish* *squish* My clothes and shoes from last night are still drying out.

    In a way, it was annoying — you know, “where has this team been all year?”

    The game was (somewhat) closer than the score indicated. Bouna Coundoul made at least three great saves.

  4. Charles

    October 25, 2009 at 12:24 pm

    Mexico is Better :

    Goal differential to break a tie is a joke. Period. If teams are tied after head to head is considered, do a playoff game.
    When a team like Toronto pulls all the stops in desperation to make the playoffs and loses 5-0, that should help whoever beat them to make the playoffs? Obviously not.

  5. Charles

    October 25, 2009 at 12:19 pm

    MLS is really shooting themselves in the foot. I am glad for all the fans who are excited about the new stadium, but my guess is they are building another large High School stadium to shoot for 15,000-20,000 fans.
    After the game last night, my son was asking if we could travel to Vancouver or Portland to see a game when they join the league. What is the answer? I think probably not, as the stadium in Vancouver is going to hold 22k, they should draw that easily. Why would they reduce a stadium to 3-4,000 less than they drew 20 years ago?
    I am sure the Portland is going to do the same thing as they try to convert the minor league baseball stadium. Does anyone really think that soccer is sustainable on 20,000 fans a game max ? If so, I have some tickets I would like to sell you. Seats 21,001-21,004 in Toronto.

    • WonsanUnited

      October 25, 2009 at 12:25 pm

      Red Bull Arena is going to fit 25,000 people. It’s not another crappy boring MLS stadium. It will be the best stadium in MLS by FAR. If Vancouver sees they’re going to get a lot of people they can expand very easily. BMO Field is going to get 4,000 more seats. PGE Park will be retarded at 17,000 however.

      But last night was awesome. I got soaked, but it was totally worth it. Best match I’ve gone to.

  6. Dan Y.

    October 25, 2009 at 10:15 am

    As an American who is a Toronto FC supporter, last night was rough. For all the great soccer that has been played in that stadium, seeing my club dive on the grenade and give the Red Bulls a fine sendoff was terrible.

    Maybe I can recover by the start of next season…

    • Lars

      October 25, 2009 at 11:18 am

      It was an absolute disgrace. MLSE should be embarrassed. They can’t put a winning team out in ANY sport, Hockey, Basketball, Futbol…

  7. Daniel Feuerstein

    October 25, 2009 at 3:50 am

    Mexico is Better. I can care less what you think about the difference between your playoff system and the MLS playoff system. This report talks about the end of a stadium that is entrenched on US Soccer history. If you can’t get that thru your head, then I just don’t know what will.

  8. Mexico is better

    October 25, 2009 at 3:40 am

    The tiebreaking procedures for your league are ridiculous. 1st, you have to calculate points per game for all tied teams. Then, you have to do it all over again after you advance the 1st place team among the originally tied teams. What the hell. Keep it simple, stupid.

    The Mexican League just uses Goal Differential. Then total goals scored. That’s the way it should be. Yet another reason why Mexico is better.

    • andy in ohio

      October 25, 2009 at 5:20 am

      You sure seem to know quite a bit about the MLS. Closet fan maybe?

    • mike

      October 28, 2009 at 7:02 pm

      then fucking stay there.

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