Thursday, October 27, 2011

MLS Cup Playoffs Underway!! FCD 0-2 NYRB

Last night, in an action-packed wildcard playoff match, the New York Red Bulls traveled to Pizza Hut Park to face FC Dallas in the first postseason game of the 2011 MLS season.  New York just notched their playoff berth with a win over Philly in their final regular season game last week.  Dallas on the other hand were gasping for air after their unimpressive slide in recent weeks.  Either way, both sides had been good enough to make it and both sides looked hungry for a win.

The home town crowd did their part in lifting the Hoops and the first half hour was all FCD.  Dallas had several chances to go in front but the finishing was missing from their play.  New York finally switched on and were clearly happy to have their resident legend Thierry Henry back in the lineup.  Big shots and feverish pace characterized the first half but neither team could shake their opponent.

Lethal Lindpere
The second half proved more exciting than the first and Dallas looked to score by means of a set piece but free kick missed the target by inches.  So many shots in this game would be tortuous to witness as a fan in the stands.  Often when the ball slams into the side netting, without the perspective of instant replay, you're convinced you've got a goal.  This playoff fixture was filled with such attempts, serving to ratchet up the intensity of the crowd's participation.  FCD surrendered the ball cheaply in the 61st minute and Joel Lindpere, NY's clutch man, rifled a shot almost immediately.  The effort was stuffed but Red Bull's Dane Richards collected the rebound and passed to Ballouchy who dangerously slid the ball into the box.  Lindpere would not be stifled twice and easily converted the goal from close range.  Dallas nearly netted an equalizer moments later, but New York's defense was able to hang tough.  With ten minutes left in the game, the Red Bull's had a player sent off for a dangerous challenge and FCD took advantage of the red card.  Try as they might, Dallas could not find the leveler and seven minutes into stoppage time, it was Thierry Henry who put the match to bed.  Seizing on a long ball, the Frenchman strode goalwards and assaulted a threadbare Hoops defense.  His initial shot was blocked, but the front man's quickness allowed him to easily tap in the rebound and effectively silence Pizza Hut Park.


Wildman & Co take on Rapids
The good news is that this is just the beginning!!!  New York play host to the LA Galaxy Sunday (Oct 30th)in the first of a two leg aggregate series.  Tonight in another HUGE wild card showdown, the Columbus Crew face defending MLS Cup Champs the Colorado Rapids at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. The healthy Columbus side boasts some terrifying offensive options including our own former Charleston Battery forward Tommy Heinemann.  The game can be viewed via mlssoccer.com for FREE!  Look for another spectacular matchup and don't forget the MLS Cup final in Nov 20th!

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