After last Saturday night's 2-2 draw against the Chicago Fire at Red Bull Arena in front of a sellout crowd, the Red Bulls were in third place in the Eastern Conference. With the Houston Dynamo, D.C. United and Sporting Kansas City playing well, the Red Bulls entered Saturday's match tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference.
In a game of two halves, the New York Red Bulls (6-6-14) needed two second half goals from Dane Richards to overcome a two-goal deficit for a 2-2 draw against the new England Revolution (4-11-11) on Saturday night at Gillette Stadium.
As a result of Saturday night's tie, the Red Bulls have now gone seven matches without a win. With eight matches remaining, the Red Bulls are in danger of missing the postseason should they continue to produce losses and ties.
Playing without MLS leading goal scorer Thierry Henry who remained in New York after suffering an inflammation in his left Achilles after Thursday's practice, Hans Backe made the decision to start Juan Agudelo in his place. While Bouna Coundoul was the starting goalkeeper, Rafa Marquez was selected by Hans Backe to be the team captain for Saturday's night match.
In the first half, the New England Revolution came out strong and were efficient as they advanced the ball well while playing excellent defense as they disrupted the Red Bulls flow. The team's first ever designated Argentine soccer player Milton Caraglio scorched Red Bull defenders as he scored two goals in the 15th and 37th minutes of the match.
After a dismal first half, the Red Bulls came out aggressive and simply dominated the second half. Down by two goals, Dane Richards was able to reduce the deficit to one goal in the 53rd minute. With momentum swinging towards their favor, the Red Bulls were given a huge advantage when Revolution forward Kenny Mansally earned his second yellow card and was automatically ejected in 55th minute.
Despite having a one-man advantage the Red Bulls were unable to level the match and in the 69th minute, Red Bulls midfielder Teemu Tainio was ejected from the match after earning his second yellow card.
With the Red Bulls down a goal, Dane Richards scored his fifth of the season in the 87th minute to level the match at 2-2. Following Richards' goal, the Red Bulls attempted to win the game but time had run out on them.
Following Saturday night's draw, the Red Bulls remain in fifth place of the Eastern Conference. With Columbus Crew leading the Eastern Conference with 40 points, the Red Bulls (32 pts) also trail the Houston Dynamo (35 pts), Philadelphia Union (34 pts) and Sporting Kansas City (33 pts). Should D.C. United win tomorrow evening against Sporting Kansas City, the Red Bulls will drop to sixth place.
Next up for the New York Red Bulls is the best team in the MLS, the Los Angeles Galaxy. With the match taking place at Red Bull Arena on Sunday, August 28, 2011, the Red Bulls have the tough task of facing a team of Landon Donovan, David Beckham, newest Galaxy Robbie Keane and the rest of the Galaxy who are currently playing the best soccer in MLS right now.
With the season coming to a close, Sunday's match is a must-win situation for the Red Bulls. If the team is going to make a statement, they have to do it with a home win because a tie will only distance their chances of reaching the postseason.
Other MLS Results from Saturday
Columbus Crew (11-7-7) won 2-1 over the Philadelphia Union (8-6-10).
Houston Dynamo (8-7-11) rallied to defeat Real Salt Lake (10-7-6) 3-2.
Seattle Sounders (11-5-9) won 1-0 over FC Dallas (12-6-7).
Robbie Keane made his Los Angeles Galaxy (14-3-9) debut as he scored a goal in a 2-0 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes (5-10-10).
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He also writes for 5 Points Press & USSoccerPlayers.com ; your source for American Soccer news brought to you by members of the U.S. National Team. Easily accessible, you may reach Cesar at email@example.com and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.