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New York Red Bulls Avenge Playoff Loss to the San Jose Earthquakes

Cesar Diaz@@gritwriterCorrespondent IIApril 17, 2011

Photograph courtesy of Bill Menzel
Photograph courtesy of Bill Menzel

Harrison, NJ—The New York Red Bulls' 3-0 annihilation of the San Jose Earthquakes was parallel to Bishop Fred Pickering's memorable golf game in the classic golf movie, Caddyshack. The only difference between both epic games is that no one from the Red Bulls was hit by lightning.

Withstanding heavy rainfall, the Red Bulls treated their fans, the media and anyone brave enough to be outdoors an entertaining performance. In doing so in convincing manner, they've reestablished themselves as one of the teams to beat in the Eastern Conference and now trail first place Philadelphia Union by two points.

Needing to rebound after last week's disastrous 1-0 loss to the Philadelphia Union, the Red Bulls immediately established themselves as the aggressors. Heading in his first goal of the season, Luke Rodgers' gave the Red Bulls a 1-0 lead in the second minute of the match.

Starting in place of Juan Agudelo, Rodgers cashed in on this opportunity as he finished the game with a two-goal and assist performance. Doubling on his goal total, Rodgers scored again in the 15th minute thanks to Thierry Henry's assist. Thanks to his well-timed burglarizing of San Jose's Ramiro Corrales, Henry intelligently passed the ball to the open Rodgers who beat goalkeeper Jon Busch for his second score of the game while giving the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead with 75 minutes remaining.

Playing his best game of the season, Thierry Henry temporarily silenced his critics with his performance against the Earthquakes. Starting out the season with nagging injuries, Henry had yet to score a goal. Aggressively taking 11 shots and four shots on goal in three games this season, Henry had fired away unsuccessfully towards the net, much to the chagrin of Red Bull fans.

Needing a breakout performance, Henry scored his first goal of the season as he headed in Luke Rodgers' cross in the 87th minute. Not only did the goal ice the game for the Red Bulls, they gave their faithful fans a glimpse of what is come.

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In a match where the Red Bulls needed to justify themselves as a serious contender for the MLS Cup, the team took a 19 shots and 10 shots on goal which resulted in three goals. As a result of their three-goal dominance of San Jose, the Red Bulls had more than doubled their goal total for the season.

Prior to their match against San Jose, the Red Bulls had taken 58 shots and 18 shots on goal only to produce two goals in their first four games of their 2011 MLS campaign. Not only has the team been attacking the net, they've also been a dominant ball-possession team. Unfortunately, those statistics will not justify the team's one-goal-per-game average after five games.

The only thing horrific as the weather was the number of empty seats throughout Red Bull Arena.

While the South Ward section consisting of the Viking Army, Empire Supporters Club and the Garden State Supporters have done an impeccable job of chanting and supporting the Red Bulls this season, Red Bull Arena will never be an intimidating place for their oppositions for the simple fact that the din is only coming from one direction. Granted, there are fans seated in other sections of the RBA but the lack of numbers hinder the potential of how effective RBA can be if it's truly packed.

For San Jose, this was a game where they never seriously threatened the Red Bulls. With only six shots and three shots on goal, the Earthquakes failed to win for the third straight game. As a result they now possess a 1-2-2 record and are currently in sixth place in the Western Conference.

Next up for the Red Bulls is D.C. United on Thursday, April 21st at RFK Stadium. With a 2-2-1 record, D.C. United will be a tough opponent for the Red Bulls as they blanked Toronto FC in a 3-0 win this past weekend. With both teams coming off a strong 3-0 victories, their match will set the tone in this season's battle for the Atlantic Cup.

Other MLS Results

The Seattle Sounders rallied to tie the Philadelphia Union 1-1 at PPL Park in Philadelphia thanks to Alvaro Fernandez equalizing goal in the 91st minute. The 1-1 draw result gives the Union a 3-1-1 record. For the Sounders, they now possess a 1-2-3 record.

Over in Toronto at the BMO Field, D.C. United Charlie Davies continues to demonstrate that he's back to his form as he scored his MLS-leading fifth goal of the season in a 3-0 win over the home team Toronto FC. Complementing Davies' goal was Chris Pontius as he completed the match with a two-goal performance. United now has a 2-2-1 record while Toronto falls to a record of 1-2-3.

Playing at home, the Vancouver Whitecaps FC and Chivas USA battled to a scoreless draw at the Empire Field. With Saturday's draw, the Whitecaps are now 1-2-3 in league play. For Chivas USA, they're currently the worst team in MLS with a 0-2-3 record.

The Columbus Crew set a team record as they recorded their fourth straight shutout in a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City. Winning in front of their fans at Crew Stadium, Columbus now has owns a 2-1-2 record. For Sporting Kansas City, they now fall to 1-2-1.

On Thursday, April 14th, the Portland Timbers played their first MLS home game at the Jeld-Wen Field as they doused the Chicago Fire with a 4-2 victory in front of their boisterous crowd. Portland's first home win was also their first of the season as they're now 1-2-1. For the Fired, the loss leaves them with an identical record of 1-2-1.

Earlier in the week, Toronto FC played the Los Angeles Galaxy to a scoreless draw on Wednesday, April 13th in Toronto. With the tie, the Los Angeles Galaxy now hold a 2-1-3 record.

Fighting for the Rocky Mountain Cup on Wednesday, April 13th were the two past MLS Cup winners, Real Salt Lake and the Colorado Rapids. Playing at Rio Tinto Stadium, Real Salt Lake remained undefeated thanks to Fabian Espindola's game winner in stoppage-time for the 1-0 win over the defending champions the Colorado Rapids. With the win, Real stands alone with a 4-0-0 record. For Colorado, they are currently in second place with a 3-2-0 record.

Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He's also a Columnist for 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 cesar@latinosports.com and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.

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