In a match where a win would have extended their Eastern Conference lead to four points, the Red Bulls had to settle for a two point lead over second place Columbus Crew.
An audience of 20,829 witnessed the home team physically bullied by the MLS version of the "Bad Boys." The duo of Andy Williams and Alvaro Saborio established their thuggish tendencies as they pushed and bumped the Red Bulls players around.
To the Red Bulls credit, they weren't intimidated. Despite taking more shots and corner kicks than Real, the Red Bulls failed to find the net as they only mustered two shots on goal against the defending champs. Today was a game where the Red Bulls clearly missed Dane Richards who was away on international duty for Jamaica.
In a game where the Red Bulls needed their designated players to produce goals, the trio of Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry, and Rafa Marquez combined for one shot on goal. Second in the league in scoring, Juan Pablo possibly had his worst performance of the season. Despite his effort to attack the ball, Juan Pablo was simply half a step behind the entire game. In layman terms, his game was simply off.
While Thierry Henry marveled the audience with his brilliant ball handling skills, he wasn't able to breakdown Real's defense so he could aggressively attack. After sitting out last week to injury, Rafa Marquez may have returned too soon as he was manhandled by Real's forward, Alvaro Saborio, throughout the game.
Despite the poor performance of the Red Bulls trio, other players played a marvelous game. Rookie of the Year candidate, Tim Ream, constantly disrupted any fast break Real Salt Lake would make with his marvelous defense. Second overall pick of the MLS Super Draft, Tony Tchani continues to demonstrate his potential as he's blossoming offensively.
Playing his third game following his trade from the Colorado Rapids, Mehdi Ballouchy continues to razzle-dazzle Red Bull fans with his passes and smart play. Playing in place of Bouna Coundoul, goalkeeper Greg Sutton was fortunate that the ball hit the post twice instead of finding the net.
With today's tie against Real, the Red Bulls have eliminated their chances of claiming the MLS Supporter's Shield. With their two more games in the regular season, they still have an outside shot of having the second best record in MLS. However, both Real Salt Lake and Dallas FC have to lose their remaining games while the Red Bulls win theirs.
On a day where the home team failed to produce a win, Red Bulls fans can be grateful the team has reversed their fortunes as they currently remain in first place in the Eastern Conference with a 14-8-6 record.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for Latino Sports. Please feel free to send him your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.