One game, 100 words or less: Bang. That’s how quick you can concede a goal.
The US National Team figured that out the hard way against Portugal at the death, and with USMNT winger Brad Davis back to captain the side, the Houston Dynamo also discovered that against New York. In fact, both sides did.
Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his blistering run, bagging his 13th and 14th goals of the season to lead the league.
Three moments that mattered:
1′ – Houston strikes early – Well, that was quick. Kofi Sardokie shot up the right touchline, and sent a dangerous cross into the box. The defending was horrific, and the ball sailed a wide-open Will Bruin and fell to an equally as wide-open Giles Barnes who headed home. There was absolutely no man-marking by the Red Bulls, who were all caught ball-watching in the opening seconds. Oops.
72′ – BWP does it again – Yea, he’s on fire. After scoring in the 13th minute out of nothing, he picked up a brace. Ambroise Oyongo made Andrew Driver look silly on the left flank, and Wright-Phillips fired home his league-leading 14th goal of the season. He skipped away with a carefree
81′ – Davis returns in style – Ehhhh. A penalty for a handball allowed Houston a way back in, albeit a soft one. Chris Duvall was called for the foul, but replays showed the ball likely hit his shoulder legally. Brad Davis, back from World Cup duty, calmly and cooly equalized by converting low for a 2-2 draw.
Three lessons going forward:
1. Defending lasts for 90 minutes
Both teams learned in the opening 15 minutes that one iota of relaxation at the back can result in a concession. New York took the opening minute to get their legs under them, and it resulted in a disastrously defended corner. Houston then let up for a moment, and they were punished for a second of losing concentration.
2. Misses matter
Will Bruin will be kicking himself. Chris Wondolowski missed a sitter to send the US past Belgium at the end of regulation, and Bruin had a wide open goal at the end of the first half that ended up being a big miss. Gotta take the chances the opponent gives you.
3. Petke won’t like this
It could be ugly for Mike Petke postmatch, as he will surely be asked about the penalty that allowed Houston to steal a point. The Red Bulls benefitted from Wright-Phillips’ wonderful form, but it ultimately wasn’t enough to earn all the points. Well…it was, except that it wasn’t. The match was wide open, but New York, er, Wright-Phillips was more clinical in front of net. Look out Red Bulls reporters, Petke could be heated.
Where that leaves them:
Nobody wins here. Both teams would have been clamoring for a win, but a point each leaves the sides in eighth and fifth respectively.
- New York sits on 20 points, sitting them in fifth place having played 17 matches to a 4-8-5 record.
- Houston jumps to 18 points, good enough for seventh place with 18 matches under their belt on a 5-3-10 record.