The New York Red Bulls' 2010 MLS regular season started and ended with Joel Lindpere. Scoring the first ever-regular season Red Bull goal against the Chicago Fire in a Red Bulls 1-0 victory in March, Lindpere scored the final regular season goal in tonight's Red Bulls 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution.
After performing horrendously in last Saturday's 2-1 loss to the Philadelphia Union, the Red Bulls needed a win tonight in order to secure the Eastern Conference title from Eastern Conference second best team, the Columbus Crew.
Dominating the first half, the Red Bulls dictated the flow of the match with their stellar defense and teamwork. Continuing to play his best soccer of the season, Dane Richards scored his fifth goal in the final seven games when he shot a rocket in the 17th minute to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 halftime lead.
In the second half, New England played more aggressively but where unable to tie the game due to their lack of timing and missed opportunities. With five minutes of stoppage time, Joel Lindpere won the Eastern Conference title for his teammates when his goal placed the game out of reach in the 92nd minute.
It's amazing how much a year does make a difference. Following the 2009 MLS season, the New York Red Bulls were the laughingstock of Major League Soccer. Frustrated and ashamed, Red Bull fans rightfully demanded changes.
The first critical hiring the Red Bulls organization made was Erik Soler as their Sporting Director. With Red Bull Arena making its inaugural season debut, Soler's mission was to give Red Bull fans a respectable team.
Determined to demonstrate to their fans that they are committed to giving them a Red Bull team they could be proud off, the Red Bulls organization lead by Erik Soler-hired Hans Backe as the team's coach. Recognized as Sven-Göran Eriksson's assistant for Manchester City and the Mexican national team, Red Bull fans wondered out loud if Backe was capable of reversing the players performance on the pitch.
Soon after that and throughout the regular season, the Red Bulls acquired world-class players like Joel Lindpere, Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez while drafting Tony Tchani, and and Rookie of the Year contender Tim Ream to help Juan Pablo Angel and company.
As a result, the Red Bulls (15-9-6) won the 2010 East Conference title and will host their first playoff home game against the San Jose Earthquakes on Thursday, November 4, 2010. In addition, fans and supporters clubs like the Empire Supporters Club, the Garden State Supporters and the more recent Hans Backe Viking Club have every reason to be smiling.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for Latino Sports. Please send him your questions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org.