August 8, 2010
'IT WAS ONE-WAY TRAFFIC'
Backe laments 0-0 tie with Fire after 'magic' Johnson comes up big in goal
BRIDGEVIEW, ILL. -- The Red Bulls might have lost more than an opportunity to make some space between them and the rest of the Eastern Conference Sunday. They might have lost star striker Thierry Henry to a groin strain.
|Macoumba Kandji put on a clinic on how not to score a goal
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Henry left the Red Bulls' scoreless tie with the Chicago Fire with a minute remaining in the first half. It will not be known how long he will be sidelined with the Red Bulls hosting Toronto FC Wednesday and the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday.
The second-place Red Bulls (8-6-4, 28 points) squandered a chance to move further ahead of Toronto (7-6-5, 26) , which is breathing down their backs after a 2-1 win over Chivas USA on Saturday. The Fire (21 ) is 5-5-6.
It was a frustrating match for the Red Bulls, who had many more shots on goal than the Fire before a standing room only crowd of 21,868 at Toyota Park.
“It’s not coming away with a point," Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said. "It’s losing two because it was one-way traffic and we should have won five-nil.That’s an easy analysis. We had 22 to the Fire’s five, and they have seven saves to our one. It was one-way traffic in the second half.”
Captain Juan Pablo Angel said he was “disappointed. We should have won the game, especially in the second half it was one-way traffic. We had a number of chances that we couldn’t put away. In general . . . we are happy with the performance.”
Backe was right on with the statistics as goalkeeper Sean Johnson was the man of the match.
He denied rookie central defender Tim Ream in the 90th minute, saving his blast from atop the penalty area.
Johnson stopped Juan Pablo Angel's shot a minute into stoppage time.
“He made at least four or five great saves," Backe said. "Excellent saves. He saved Chicago in this game.”
Johnson admitted he did not think of the save he made.
“I just tried to do my best to keep my team in it," he said. "That’s the important thing. I don’t really think about the saves I make or anything like that. At the end of the day, it’s good to get a shutout defensively for our team and to get a point out of the night which I think is good.”
Angel started things out with a header that Johnson saved in the 19th minute.
Only two minutes later, Rafa Marquez, making his MLS debut, found Henry, who bolted past defender CJ Brown on the left side. But Henry penetrated just a little too much, not giving himself much of angle to shoot as his attempt was easily saved by Johnson.
The Red Bulls and Henry kept coming.
The former French international striker performed a 360-degree turn on Baggio Husidic and in the 29th minute, but fired a 25-yard shot wide right.
Angel, who took advantage of a pair of Henry feed to score a pair of goals in the 2-2 draw at the Houston Dynamo last week, set up Henry with a through pass. Johnson barely gathered in the ball before Henry could get to it in the Chicago penalty area in the 29th minute.
Barely two minutes later Marquez officially was welcomed to the physical play of MLS as Husidic fouled him and was subsequently booked.
Only a minute later, Red Bulls rookie central defender Tim Ream was forced to foul Freddie Ljungberg some 35 yards out and was slapped with a yellow card.
The Red Bulls had an interesting opportunity as left fullback Roy Miller sent Macoumba Kandji a cross. Kandji volleyed it wide left, but he was called for a handball in the area.
The Red Bulls suffered a tough blow when Henry was replaced by Dane Richards in the final minute of the first half. There was no immediate reason why Henry was taken out of the match, although he did appear to injure his head during a corner kick attempt several minutes earlier.
Kandji moved to the front line and Richards settled in at right midfield.
During the early part of the second half, Kandji put on a clinic on how not to score goal.
In the 47th minute, Marquez found Richards with a perfect through-ball on the right side. Richards sent a cross to Kandji, who couldn't get to the ball in time from point-blank range.
Two minutes later, Lindpere sent in a left wing cross than Kandji headed wide right.
After goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul saved Marco Pappa's attempt after the Red Bulls lost the ball in a bad area in the 51st minute, Kandji yet missed again in the 56th minute.
Mexican international Nery Castillo replaced Fire striker Brian McBride in the 56th minute as an MLS match had five designated players for the first time in league history. The other DPs were Angel, Henry and Marquez from the Red Bulls and Ljungberg from Chicago.
Marquez, who wanted to play 45 minutes, was subbed by midfielder Seth Stammler in the 61st minute.
Angel tested Johnson with a shot in the 68th minute, but the keeper knocked away his blast with both hands. In the 77th minute, a Richards' cross found Angel, but he could not get a decent shot on goal.