It was a packed Buck Shaw Stadium on the campus of Santa Clara. Not a single seat was empty in the college soccer stadium to see their beloved San Jose Earthquakes face the New York Red Bulls. It was a great atmosphere for such a fantastic playoff match and as the other two first leg matches showed plenty of excitement, this one was equal to the task.
The Red Bulls would get on the board inside the first ten minutes of the second half when they had possession of the ball and made an attacking run. Roy Miller went down the far side and made a quick back heel pass to Juan Pablo Angel. He crossed the ball into the area that was cleared, but not enough as Joel Lindpere got the ball and ripped a low hard shot that beat Jon Busch and inside the near post; one goal to nil by the New York Red Bulls.
Before Lindpere’s goal counted on the score sheet, the Red Bulls had many chances early in the first half to score at least two to three goals on the Earthquakes. If it wasn’t a save by Busch, then it was cleared off the line by the defender. During training at Montclair State University Head Coach Hans Backe was asked if a draw would be a great result on the road. He told the media that he wanted to go for the win. He said he wanted to attack and get the victory.
The Red Bulls back line looked strong and steady once again. Center Backs Carlos Mendes and Rookie Tim Ream have been solid for the last fiftteen to twenty matches. The fullbacks in Chris Albright and Roy Miller also did a good job bringing up the ball and when they had to track back defending their goal.
When Bouna Coundoul was needed to make a big save for the club, he answered the call. Several times the Quakes had strong chances in the second half to force an equalizer, but he was there to make the important save. Especially in the 65th minute when Coundoul dove to make a big save, but the rebound got loose. He was able to pounce on the ball before Chris Wondoloski attempted a shot, but what looked to be a penalty for the Quakes, became a yellow card for unsportsmanlike conduct inside the area.
The Red Bulls were missing both Thierry Henry (right knee bruise) and Salou Ibrahim (right hamstring) to pair up with Angel. Who got the call to step up and show what he was made of? None other than seventeen year old Juan Agudelo who proved his mettle in San Jose. The US u-20 international striker has been looking confident and improving his play with the National Team and at training. Hans Backe felt confident that he could handle the pressure and his speed gave the Quakes plenty of fits.
With so much pressure and forcing some quality saves by Jon Busch, this match could’ve been over before it began. This could’ve been four goals to nil Red Bulls, but the Quakes realize that they are flying cross country and have a tough challenge in their hands. They will attempt to get a victory of any kind at Red Bull Arena, because a draw won’t be enough.
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