October 20, 2012
NO. 6 PLAYS FOR ANOTHER NO. 6
Tainio's performance honors slain Red Bulls youth coach Jones
By Kristian R. Dyer
|Teemu Tainio: “It’s a horrific story, what happened to Mike Jones. No. 6 was his favorite number and I was glad to play with it today. All my thoughts go to his family.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HARRISON, N.J. – On a night where the Red Bulls honored the No. 6, the favorite jersey number worn by Red Bulls Academy coach Mike Jones, who was stabbed and killed three weeks ago in the West Village, the No. 6 on their roster had a strong showing.
Tainio admits to playing with extra emotion this game for the life of Jones, who was 25-years-old when he was murdered. Having worn the No. 6 since he signed with the Red Bulls prior to the 2011 season, Tainio was especially moved that his number was the one often worn by Jones during his playing career before joining the Red Bulls Academy set-up. A pre-game moment of celebration where fans were asked to applaud and cheer the life of Jones touched the Finnish midfielder, as did the supporters section waving cards with the No. 6 printed on them.
“It’s a horrific story, what happened to Mike Jones. No. 6 was his favorite number and I was glad to play with it today. All my thoughts go to his family,” Tainio said.
“It comes to tmind that we have to appreciate the life like it is. It’s very sad what happened to Mike.”
All the Red Bulls players wore their normal jerseys but wore shirts with the No. 6 emblazoned on them in addition to black armbands.
As far as on the field, Saturday night was a strong match for Tainio and very much needed.
For just the second time this season and the first time since Aug. 26, Tainio started and played 90 minutes, pitching in solid work both on defense and on offense. It has been a struggle this year for Tainio to get on the field, with injuries limiting him to this being only his 13th appearance and just eighth start this season. He showed that certainly adds a bit to the midfield.
What Tainio brings to the table is unquestioned. Strong on the tackle and decisive in his challenges, he is the ideal link between the backline and the midfield. There is also Tainio’s vision and his ability to strike an accurate long ball, which he used to switch fields throughout the night.
And then there was just his dogged determination, which Backe implemented to pursue and close down Sporting’s three-man midfield to great effect.
“We knew that we had to change something today,” Tainio said. “We spoke before the game that we had to be aggressive, put them under pressure; not give them time. I think we did a good job.”
But what it all boiled down to on Saturday night was not Tainio pitching in a full 90 minutes or the draw that put New York into the playoffs rather it was legacy of honoring Jones and his life, so cruelly taken away.
“It’s a shame that we didn’t get to win because it was the aim to get the win for his memory,” Tainio said. “It’s not always like we plan but I think we did pretty well today and that was our gift to him.”