October 27, 2013
SAVORING THE MOMENT
Cahill doesn't get a chance to touch trophy as he watches the fans, players celebrate
By Michael Lewis
|Tim Cahill: "I just really wanted to savor the moment and just watch the fans celebrate and the players and the people who have been here the longest."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
HARRISON, N.J. -- One of the men truly responsible for the Red Bulls securing the Supporters Shield never got an opportunity to touch the precious and much-desired silver trophy during the team's raucous post-match celebrations on Sunday, and that was fine with Tim Cahill.
Cahill said it "was just chilled" to win the trophy, which symbolizes regular-season superiority right before the MLS playoffs.
"I donít even think I got to touch [the Supportersí Shield]," Cahill said after the Red Bulls rolled to a 5-2 triumph over the Chicago Fire in their regular-season finale at Red Bull Arena. "I just really wanted to savor the moment and just watch the fans celebrate and the players and the people who have been here the longest."
The Australian international was referring to head coach Mike Petke, who joined the team in 1998, when it was named the MetroStars and was named head man this past January, and team equipment manager Fernando Ruiz.
"It was a special touch and Iíll touch the trophy later. Weíll enjoy it tonight."
Then reality will set in on Monday, when the official MLS playoff schedule comes out. The Red Bulls know they will play the knockout-round winner (Houston Dynamo or Montreal Impact) in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The wildcard match will be played either Wednesday or Thursday. The first leg of the conference semis will be held in either Houston or Montreal on Saturday or Sunday, while the second leg will be here either Wednesday, Nov. 6 or Thursday, Nov. 7.
"Thereís a big, big job in hand coming up for the MLS Cup to really, really put the icing on the cake and to be real contenders for such an amazing competition," Cahill said.
The Red Bulls needed to win on Sunday to clinch the Supporters Shield. There would be no help from any other team.
Asked if he felt pressure about the encounter with the Fire, Cahill replied, "Pressure is pressure. Every week it was pressure; Houston, Seattle Ö thereís pressure every week. I was really relaxed this week, because I really believe in the teamís ability. We were playing tournaments in the week and right now itís just a moment to savor it, itís a pretty special moment for New York Red Bulls."
In the first half, the Fire did everything in its power to make sure the Red Bulls would not get that special moment as former Red Bull Mike Magee lifted the visitors into a 1-0 lead in the sixth minute.
"I was even relaxed after we conceded the goal," Cahill said. "They cheated a bit and tried to play on the counter. It was all about us finding our feet. Second half we changed it up, Peguy [Luyindula went forward, I went to the midfield. At the end it was an amazing win, itís probably the best on one of the biggest occasions."
The Red Bulls equalized on Thierry Henry's goal in the 24th minute before exploding for four second-half scores to break the game open.
"It was just amazing," Cahill said. "This is a team, time and time again weíve needed the essence of every single player to put their heart and soul on the line and itís proved for this league. The teams that have won the Supporters Shield year in, year out itís because theyíre a team and thatís what weíve shown this year. Iím pretty proud and it was a special moment for me as well."