November 8, 2012
PERFECT PITCH, IMPERFECT RESULT
A day after snowstorm covered field, Red Bulls struggle to find the back of the net
By Kristian R. Dyer
BigAppleSoccer.com Contributing Editor
HARRISON, N.J. – The style and tempo of Thursday night’s match would not have been possible for the Red Bulls if it had been held 24 hours before. The Red Bulls' 1-0 loss to D.C. United in the second leg of the Eastern Conference semifinals was a frustrating and perhaps undeserved result for the team in a match where they clearly were the better of the two sides but still found a way to fall in the end.
The Red Bulls home playoff match was a long way in coming and originally was supposed to be held on Saturday night but was moved to RFK Stadium due to the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy. Then the return leg, scheduled originally for Wednesday night, was moved to Thursday due to a nor’easter that covered the Red Bull Arena pitch with snow and made it unplayable. Had the match been held 24 hours prior, the Red Bulls possession style soccer wouldn’t have been snowed under.
Instead, conditions were perfect for the Red Bulls style of play and there were no excuses for that loss.
“At home, against D.C. Playing the way we played, passing the ball around well, creating chances and not putting the ball in the back of the net,” captain and striker Thierry Henry said. “When you play a game like that, sometime you’re going to stay exposed for the rest of the game and they scored right before the end of the game.”
On what was a pristine pitch, New York strung together their passes. They were able to set-up their passing triangles and find their channels through the United midfield without being bogged down like they would have been the night before.
And they were able to keep a very high line of pressure because of their mobility, something that wouldn’t have been as easily possible on snow and ice.
“No chance, everyone who knows the game knows it was the right decision,” Backe said. “It is impossible to play football in those conditions.”
The irony of the match is that the Red Bulls played one of their best games of their season on Thursday night in what was a losing effort. They controlled the game and at times looked dominant in their efforts against United.
The shutout loss at home was especially cruel for a team that held the ball for 53.5 percent of the match and held a 6:3 advantage in shots on target.
“During the whole season, that’s the game we deserved to win the most and we didn’t. Have to give D.C. credit, they were patient and they scored at the end. We wasted so many chances that you can’t miss in the playoffs,” Henry said. “I don’t remember all season creating that amount of chances against a good team in this league. It’s a tough one but that’s the playoffs. We scored, they didn’t. I don’t know how many chances we had.”