The Red Bulls were left seeing red last November after the San Jose Earthquakes shocked them in front of a sell-out Red Bull Arena in leg two of the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Red Bulls had a 1-0 lead going into the second game in New Jersey, but San Jose erupted for three goals and ended New York’s hopes of winning their first MLS Cup in 2010.
The Red Bulls had to wait five months to get their revenge, but it was well worth the wait as New York took out all of their anger and frustration Saturday night with an impressive 3-0 victory.
Despite the torrential downpour, heavy wind, and slick conditions, the Red Bulls performed as though the treacherous weather had no affect on them one what-so-ever. 14,308 braved the elements and had a lot to celebrate in a game dominated by the Red Bulls.
New York enjoyed 60 percent of the possession, took a total of 16 shots, and gave up only three shots on goal. 2010 MLS Golden Boot Winner, Chris Wondolowski was shut down as was the rest of the Earthquakes due to some great defense by New York’s back four.The Red Bulls were sharp for the duration of the game and looked like the championship team that everyone expects them to be after they acquired four-time MLS Cup winner Dwayne De Rosario.
Englishman Luke Rodgers opened the scoring account in the second minute with a header off of a redirected cross into the box by Dane Richards. Rodgers struck again in the 15th minute for his second career MLS goal as a result of some hounding defense by Thierry Henry. Rodgers was the best player on the field and showed why Hans Backe had been aggressively pursuing him last season.
Henry had numerous chances of his own but could not put any of them away until late in the game. He finally ended his 684-minute goal scoring drought with a diving header from the cross of Luke Rodgers in the 86th minute.
Rodgers and Henry played extremely well together and seem to be the lethal striking duo that New York has been looking for ever since they acquired Henry last summer. Both had an assist and scored, leading the way to the team’s second win of the young season.
The partnership up front meant that 18-year old sensation Juan Agudelo was the odd man out. Agudelo did not start and only saw a handful of minutes after a quiet game in Philadelphia last week. Also noteworthy, the younger brother of English star Wayne Rooney, John Rooney, got his first minutes of playing time in stoppage time of New York’s 3-0 win.
New York’s win puts them just two points away from Eastern Conference leaders the Philadelphia Union, who played to a 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders. The Red Bulls will look to make it two straight wins on Thursday when they travel to RFK Stadium to take on leading goal scorer Charlie Davies and his D.C. United.