New York vs. New England: Winners and Losers from MLS Game
New England Revolution were outplayed in Harrison, New Jersey, but bookended the first leg of their Eastern Conference final with goals from Teal Bunbury and Jermaine Jones en route to a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls.
Bradley Wright-Phillips notched the lone tally for the hosts, who will now go into the return match trailing on aggregate.
Referee Allen Chapman presented 10 yellow cards in what was a tempestuous afternoon at Red Bull Arena, and with his booking in the 60th minute, Wright-Phillips, who led Major League Soccer in goalscoring during the regular season, will be suspended for Saturday's showdown in Foxborough, Massachusetts.
Overall, there were a handful of standout performances on Sunday as well as a few underwhelming displays, and over the following slideshow we'll look at examples from both categories.
Here are the individual winners and losers from this contest.
Winner: Bobby Shuttleworth, Who Made Some Vital Saves
The fact that New England remained on level terms until Jermaine Jones was able to pot a late winner was down in large part to the heroics of Bobby Shuttleworth.
The Revolution goalkeeper made six saves on Sunday and many of the highlight-reel variety.
In the 52nd minute he did well to deny Thierry Henry's long-distance shot and then watched as Lloyd Sam hit the side netting with his follow-up attempt.
Eight minutes later he was in perfect position to stop Dax McCarty's header from in close following Henry's corner kick.
Loser: Thierry Henry, Who May Have Played His Final Match at Red Bull Arena
Thierry Henry will not be extending his contract with New York Red Bulls for another season, as reported last month by James Orr of The Independent.
As a result, the Frenchman may well have played his final match at Red Bull Arena, and next weekend's second leg away to New England Revolution could turn out to be his swansong in Major League Soccer.
Generally speaking, Henry put in a decent showing on Sunday, although he was far more effective in the first half than after the restart.
In the 27th minute his powerful run with the ball at his feet led directly to Bradley Wright-Phillips' goal, and nine minutes after that he tracked back into his own end of the pitch to dispossess Lee Nguyen.
But at the final whistle the 37-year-old had taken just a pair of shots and not done enough to help his side to at least a draw.
Winner: Andrew Farrell, Who Impressed at Right-Back for New England
Andrew Farrell made an eye-popping six tackles on Sunday, per WhoScored, and helped limit the effectiveness of Thierry Henry, who was playing from the left-hand side for New York.
The New England Revolution right-back's most important contribution to his side's 2-1 victory came in the 42nd minute when he sprinted back into his own goalmouth and proceeded to shoulder Bradley Wright-Phillips off the ball without committing a foul.
As StubHub editor Jonah Freedman pointed out via Twitter, Farrell could well have an international future with the United States ahead of him.
Winner: Eric Alexander, Who Held Things Together for New York Before Coming Off
Eric Alexander should never have been withdrawn.
Until the 76th minute, when he was replaced by Tim Cahill, the New York midfielder had effectively organised play in the centre of the park while combating New England's Jermaine Jones.
The 26-year-old touched the ball 45 times before his exit and completed 91 percent of his passes, but it was his positional sense that really stood out.
Nine minutes after he left the pitch New England were back in front—Jones having scored the winner following a bursting run downfield.
Loser: Bradley Wright-Phillips, Who Got Himself Suspended
Bradley Wright-Phillips took a booking into the Eastern Conference final, and after being shown the yellow card in the 60th minute ruled himself out of the tie's second leg.
At that point the striker, who scored more goals than anyone else during the regular season in Major League Soccer, had already put the ball in the back of the net at Red Bull Arena—restoring level terms following Teal Bunbury's opener.
He might have scored a second shortly thereafter when he was muscled off the ball by Andrew Farrell, but even if he was mostly wasteful on Sunday he would have certainly been among the first names on Mike Petke's team sheet next weekend.
It's a luxury the New York manager won't have with his side down by a goal on aggregate and in the hostile environment of Gillette Stadium.
Winner: Jermaine Jones, Who Was New England's Engine
At the final whistle at Red Bull Arena, Jermaine Jones had scored a goal, assisted another and drawn a pair of yellow cards.
Crucially, his tap-in following the rebound of Teal Bunbury's shot in the 85th minute proved the winner on Sunday, and he also made the short pass to Bunbury ahead of the 24-year-old's spectacular curling opener.
As Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl pointed out on Twitter, Jones' "motor" made him "an absolute freak of nature" against New York.
All statistics courtesy of WhoScored.com.