Halftime, MLS Cup Playoffs: New York Red Bulls 1-1 New England Revolution after thrilling first half

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We’re through 45 thrilling minutes of end-to-end soccer at Red Bull Arena, with the score 1-1 between the New York Red Bulls and New England Revolution (Watch live on NBC and online via Live Extra). The visiting Revolution showed no interest in sitting back to play for a road draw in the first half.

Jermaine Jones had the game’s first great scoring chance, a 4th-minute headed effort from six yards out, but Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles did well to get down quickly and hold the ball. Lloyd Sam could have put the Red Bulls a goal to the good just three minutes later, but Bobby Shuttleworth easily pushed away Sam’s tight-angled effort.

Revs forward Teal Bunbury opened the scoring in the 17th minute (above video) with the goal of the playoffs thus far, a pinpoint, curling effort from just outside the 18-yard box. After beating Ambroise Oyongo with a stepover and cut inside, Bunbury unleashed the curler with his weaker left foot and Robles had no chance of saving the upper-90-bound curler.

Jones was perhaps lucky to not see a straight red card when he made a lunging, scissor-kick challenge on Dax McCarty from behind. The German-American World Cup star was instead shown the yellow by referee Allen Chapman.

What Bunbury’s goal had in terms of class and intent, the Red Bulls’ opening goal (below video) equalled it in sheer insanity. After Shuttleworth stonewalled Pueguy Luyindua from six yards out, the French forward hit the rebound back at goal from his backside only to see it carom off the crossbar and back into play.

Revs captain Jose Goncalves watched the ball bounce off the crossbar, out of his reach and onto the head of Bradley Wright-Phillips, scorer of 27 regular-season goals in 2014, two yards from the goal line. Wright-Phillips looked to be just offside with Shuttleworth well off his line at that point, but the assistant referee kept his flag down and the Englishman made no mistake heading it home.