New York Red Bulls vs Houston Dynamo: Eastern Conference Foes Battle to a Draw

Cesar Diaz@@gritwriterCorrespondent IIMay 22, 2011

HOUSTON - MAY 21: Mehdi Ballouchy #10, left, of the New York Red Bulls and Geoff Cameron #20 of the Houston Dynamo battle for the ball in the second half at Robertson Stadium on May 21, 2011 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Houston, TX- Needing to rebound from last week's 3-2 loss to Chivas USA, the Red Bulls (4-2-4) responded with a 2-2 tie. All it took for New York was a minute to demonstrate that they weren't going to lose on Saturday night.

Accepting a well-placed pass from Luke Rodgers who seconds earlier handled a long pass from Teemu Tainio, Dane Richards kicked off things for the Red Bulls when he slammed home his second goal of the season within first the 39 seconds of the game. With the score already 1-0, the Dynamo crowd was momentarily silenced.

Fortunately for Dynamo fans, Brad Davis leveled the game when he converted his penalty kick in the 12th minute. From that time, the game was even until forward Koke broke stalemate in the 82nd minute knocking in his first goal of the season off the rebound of Geoff Cameron's header.

Just as it appeared that the Dynamo (3-3-5) was going to give their 25,314 fans at Robertson Stadium the victory, Medhi Ballouchy's headed in a spectacular equalizer in stoppage time off a Joel Lindpere corner kick. With virtually little time to mount a game-winning goal, the game resulted in a 2-2 draw.

While the Red Bulls escaped Houston with the tie, they're clearly illuminating their weakness. For the third consecutive week, the Red Bulls opponents have produced set-piece goals. As a result, the Red Bulls have allowed a total of five set-piece goals over the last three games.

Another rising concern for the Red Bulls is their goalkeeping. After allowing only three goals in the first 8 games of the season, the goalkeeping duo of Bouna Coundoul and Greg Sutton have allowed five goals over their last two games.

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Whether the team's back to back horrific goalkeeping is a slump or a reoccurring problem remains to be seen. Next up for New York is the defending MLS Champions the Colorado Rapids. Playing at home, the Red Bulls will have the opportunity to regain the top spot in the Eastern Conference.

Other MLS Results from Saturday's Games

Playing at home at the PPL Park, the Philadelphia Union (5-3-2) regained the top spot of the Eastern Conference when they defeated the Chicago Fire (1-4-5) 2-1.

The Seattle Sounders (4-3-5) won at Qwest Field when Jeff Parke scored his first MLS goal in seven years in stoppage time to give his team a 1-0 win over Sporting Kansas City (1-6-1).

Over at the Home Depot Center, the Los Angeles Galaxy (6-2-5) triumphed 1-0 over their rivals Chivas USA (3-4-3). With the win, the Galaxy remain in first place in the Western Conference.

Winning for the second time at home, the San Jose Earthquakes (3-4-3) squeaked by the New England Revolution (3-4-4) 2-1 at the Buck Shaw Stadium. Second-half goals from Ellis McLoughlin and Bobby Convey were the difference in the outcome.

Remaining undefeated at home, the Portland Timbers (5-3-2) defeated the Columbus Crew (3-4-4) 1-0 in front of a sellout crowd of 18, 627 at JELD-WEN Field. Former Crew defender Eric Brunner welcomed his former teammates to his new home at Portland when he headed home the game winner in the 46th minute of the game.

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 cesar@latinosports.com and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.