Playing in front of a sellout crowd of 25,177 spectators at Red Bull Arena, the New York Red Bulls (6-6-13) needed to rally to tie the worst team in MLS, the Chicago Fire (2-7-14), 2-2 on Saturday night.
The only people who has to be happy with tonight's Red Bulls 2-2 home tie with MLS's worst team in front of 25,177 fans are Lil Jimmy and anyone else who enjoys seeing the top two teams in draws (27 combined) battle it out to a draw.
If a selected party from the Red Bulls should be commended for their efforts is the staff who handles the team's social media. For the second consecutive week, they've had to handle the responsibilities of patronizing their followers with the optimistic politically correct tweets and Facebook statuses.
I would love to really know what's their opinion of Saturday night's contest. Imagine having to find the positives of a team that's won one game in their past 10 games and have accumulated a 1-4-5 record during that span.
In a match brought to you by McDonald's (I'm serious), the Red Bulls continue to debunk the myth that they are contenders for the 2011 MLS Cup. Playing more like pretenders, the Red Bulls missed numerous opportunities to score an additional two or three goals against the lowly Fire.
Despite having a 20-9 advantage on shots and an 11-5 corner kick advantage, the Red Bulls weren't able to execute a set-piece play. While the Red Bulls struggled in the penalty area, the worst team in the MLS was a far more entertaining team to watch as they simply advanced the ball well and played excellent and smart team defense.
It's easy to forget that Thierry Henry scored his league-leading 12th goal of the season in the ninth minute of the match to give his Red Bulls a 1-0 lead. For a team that literally has nothing to lose, the Fire played like a team fighting for a playoff spot.
Considering they play in the Eastern Conference, there's an outside chance for the Fire to make the playoffs with nine games remaining. In a span of eight minutes, the Fire literally scorched the Red Bulls defense and recently acquired goalkeeper Chris Konopka for two goals.
With regular Red Bulls goalkeeper Frank Rost injured and Bouna Coundoul facing flight problems, Dominic Oduro and Sebastian Grazzini momentarily razzled the New Jersey native Konopka with their goals in the 16th and 24th minute of the first half. Once settled in, Konopka played the rest of the match well with his aggressive style of defense.
In the second half, the Red Bulls continued to miss their opportunities to equalize the game because they would internally implode when they would reach the penalty area. However, in the 63rd minute of the match, Joel Lindpere tied the match when he accepted a pass from Dane Richards before sending the ball to the back of the net. For Lindpere, this was his sixth goal of the season.
For the second consecutive year, Lindpere continues to demonstrate why he's been the team's most consistent player. While Theirry Henry, Juan Agudelo, Rafa Maraquez, Tim Ream and Luke Rodgers continue to draw the most attention, it's the style play of Lindpere that continues to keep the Red Bulls season alive with his clutch performance.
While Joel Lindpere has been the foundation for the Red Bulls, Rafa Marquez has been the team's designated statue. Instead of justifying his salary, the captain of the Mexican team continues to play inconsistently.
Fellow reporter Ian Thomson of FirstTouchOnline.com stated it best when he said, "Marquez is so slow that seagulls have been known to mistakenly confuse him for a statue."
Along with the individual performance many have to question the decision making skills of head coach Hans Backe whose yet to demonstrate that he make his diverse pool of players to play cohesively as a powerhouse team they appear to be on paper.
Regardless of who's productive and who isn't, the Red Bulls are simply not playing well. Instead earning three points, the Red Bulls remain in third place behind the Columbus Crew and Philadelphia Union of the Eastern Conference. After 25 matches, the Red Bulls lead Sporting Kansas City by one point and it has to be noted that Sporting KC has only completed in 22 matches.
For their next match, the Red Bulls will face the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium on Saturday, August 20 at 7:30 PM, EDT. Following that match, the Red Bulls return to Red Bull Arena for their August 28 showdown against the MLS-best Los Angeles Galaxy.
With nine games remaining in the regular season, it'll be a curiosity to see if the Red Bulls will sync or sink together.
Other MLS Results from Saturday
Seattle Sounders (11-5-9) battled Chivas USA (7-8-9) to a scoreless draw.
D.C. United (7-6-9) blanked the Vancouver Whitecaps (3-12-9) 4-0.
Columbus Crew (10-7-7) trounced the New England Revolution (4-11-9) 3-1.
Philadelphia Union (8-5-10) battled FC Dallas (12-6-7) to a 2-2 draw.
Cesar Diaz covers Soccer for LatinoSports.com. He also writes for 5 Points Press and 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 firstname.lastname@example.org and at Twitter at @CoveringSoccer.