MLS Playoffs: New York Red Bulls' Quest for the 2010 MLS Cup is Over

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MLS Playoffs: New York Red Bulls' Quest for the 2010 MLS Cup is Over
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Playing front of record crowd of 22,839 fans, the New York Red Bulls' inaugural season at Red Bull Arena ended with a 3-1 (3-2 aggregate) loss to the San Jose Earthquakes.

When it's said and done, the San Jose Earthquakes came into Red Bull Arena and simply dominated the Red Bulls in their own home and ignored the boisterous home crowd and their Empire Supporters Club.

Led by Bobby Convey's magnificent two-goal performance and Chris Wondolowski's game winner, the San Jose Earthquakes now advance to the Eastern Conference Finals, where they will face the winner of the Columbus Crew-Colorado Rapids series.

Entering tonight's match down a goal, San Jose struck first when Bobby Convey scored in the sixth minute to tie the aggregate score 1-1. Despite the strong effort by the Red Bulls, they missed their opportunity to tie the game in order to reclaim the aggregate lead in the first half.

Their best chance came in the 38th minute, when Juan Agudelo broke down San Jose's defense and took a shot that hit the post. If that wasn't enough, at times it appeared that Mehdi Ballouchy was dancing with the ball too much when he should have either taken a shot or passed the ball to an open player.

Things didn't fare better for the Red Bulls when Bobby Convey scored his second goal of the match in the 76th minute, when he took a pass from Arturo Alvarez and in the shades of Gary Payton, he beautifully did a spin move on Tim Ream and beat Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul for the goal.

At that point, San Jose led 2-0 and led 2-1 on aggregate score. Following Convey's goal, Juan Agudelo demonstrated that he has the potential of being a future superstar as he marvelously lobbed the ball to Juan Pablo Angel where he headed in a goal in the 78th minute.

With the Red Bulls trailing 2-1 but tied 2-2 on aggregate score, Juan Pablo Angel who was possibly playing his final game with the the Red Bulls provided his teammates the opportunity to force an overtime.

However, the Red Bulls defense collapsed when MLS leading goal scorer, Chris Wondolowski game-winning goal in the 81st minute gave San Jose a 3-1 lead and 3-2 aggregate.

Thierry Henry, who sat out the last three games due to a knee injury, came out in the 84th minute. In the 88th minute, he had his opportunity to tie the game to force a potential overtime when he misfired his header. From there and a couple of calls in favor of San Jose, the Earthquakes pulled off a stunning upset in dramatic fashion.

Despite tonight's consequential loss, the New York Red Bulls and their fans have reasons to be proud of their 2010 MLS season. Coming off a year where they were the laughingstock of the league, the Red Bulls rebounded as they won the Eastern Conference title.

When fans look back at the Red Bulls inaugural MLS season at Red Bull Arena, they're going to remember the hiring of Erik Soler and Hans Backe. They're also going to remember the acquisitions of Tim Ream and Joel Lindpere as well as the goalkeeping skills of Bouna Coundoul.

The Designated Trio of Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez will definitely be talked about and analyzed over and over again.

Hopefully, Red Bull fans will look at the 2010 MLS season as a season where the New York Red Bulls achieved a level of respectability that was never there before and look forward towards the next season.


Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for Latino Sports. Please email him your questions and comments to cesar@latinosports.com.

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