“It is what it is” says Thierry Henry every time I attend New York Red Bulls training at Montclair State University. And it is what it is with this club with another draw after ninety minutes — for the thirteenth time this season. And this was against the side that is dead last in the Eastern Conference, Chicago Fire.
It looked like the Fire were about take the full three points, but in the sixty-third minute Joel Lindpere earned the equalizer as he redirected a great cross from Dane Richards inside the far post as the gaping hole was begging to be filled. But afterward Lindpere went after referee Jair Maruffo and cursed him out for missing a hand ball in the Chicago area and earned himself a booking for dissent.
It really started out well for New York in the first half as Richards and Dax McCarty were creating near the area. In the ninth minute Richards laid the ball off to Thierry Henry and he bent his shot inside the far post as Sean Johnson had no chance to get it.
The problems with scoring the first goal of the match is very simple — defensive break downs continue to come back to haunt the club and it was seven minutes later that the Fire got the first equalizer. But the man in goal wasn’t Frank Rost who is out with a right quadriceps tear, or Greg Sutton who is on loan with Montreal in the NASL. It wasn’t Bouna Coundoul who came back very late from Senegal national duty, or Alex Horwath that got one match in late March and has been training with the club since then. It was Chris Konopka from Toms River, New Jersey that got the nod after a week of training and he looked a bit shaky.
The Red Bulls defense allowed the Fire to remain onside as Patrick Nyarko brought the ball down the far side. A solid cross to Dominic Oduro found the back of the net — even with a slight touch from Konopka’s left arm that was not enough to keep it out. It looked like black cloud came back to the club and in the twenty-fourth minute it wasn’t getting better.
Marco Pappa caught the Red Bulls napping on defense and gave a nice chip to Oduro who was looking for his second of the night. A hard shot was pared down by Konopka, but the rebound was right there for Sebastian Grazzini and he smacked it in for the lead.
“Same thing, started well thought it was going to be a good game for us and then in a space of five minutes it was two one,” said Thierry Henry, “The crowd got us back into the game, but if you saw those goals, those were the ones that could’ve been avoided.” But once again those types of goals were not avoided and the Red Bulls end with another draw.
While there are certain results that have and haven’t gone the Red Bulls way, currently they are still in the third automatic bid spot in the East to make the playoffs. Depending on what the Dynamo do against the Timbers on Sunday that match could get them knocked down to the wild card spots and playing a extra game is not what this side needs right now.
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