Roy Miller

Costa Rica 2-2 Jamaica: Reggae Boyz earn solid draw with Los Ticos

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Maybe Jamaica’s participation in the Copa America last month in Chile will pay off this month on the other side of the equator.

The Reggae Boyz opened their 2015 Gold Cup run with a solid result against world No. 14 Costa Rica, drawing 2-2 in Carson on Wednesday night.

Roy Miller and David Ramirez scored for Costa Rica, while Garath McCleary and Jobi McAnuff netted for Jamaica. The Reggae Boyz led 1-0 and trailed 2-1.

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Jamaica lost all three of its matches at the Copa America, as Winfried Schafer charges suffered 1-0 losses to Uruguay, Paraguay and Argentina.

But they weren’t fazed by Costa Rica, scoring the first goal when Kemar Lawrence’s long throw bounded off the grass and over Junior Diaz, who mistimed the bounce. McCleary was in prime position to finish from close range, and Jamaica led 1-0 in the 13th minute

Los Ticos tied it up on crafty free kick play in the 33rd minute. Sending a ball in from the left, Bryan Ruiz played a low pass across the top of the 18, and Ramirez flicked it over the charging Jamaican defense for Miller to head home.

Costa Rica found a lead four minutes later. Celso Borges sent a long ball over the top of the Reggae Boyz’ defense, and Ramirez got in tight to put his first touch home.

Jamaica got a little bit of luck to help tie the score, as McAnuff’s out-of-control dribble paid off. McAnuff slapped his foot at an odd bounce, and it fooled Miller. His next touch was a fine finish, and it was 2-2.

It was Esteban Alvarado, not Keylor Navas, in goal for Costa Rica, and the 26-year-old AZ Alkmaar keeper made a strong low save to stop a cutting dribble into the 18 by Darren Mattocks.

Both teams looked capable of scoring a winner late, but neither found a way to take all three points. The 89th minute saw Alvarado explode off his line to deny a late Jamaican shot.

Jamaica next faces Canada on Saturday in Houston, while Costa Rica will play El Salvador.

D.C. United 2-1 New York Red Bulls: 3-2 aggregate score sends RBNY to Eastern Conference finals

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The New York Red Bulls, for only the third time in club history and the first since 2008, find themselves headed to the Eastern Conference finals thanks to a 2-1 second-leg defeat and 3-2 aggregate victory over D.C. United.

Things looked far from certain for the Red Bulls at halftime, trailing United 1-0 on the day, up only a goal in the two-leg series and without a vital away goal to their name, yet.

United forward went agonizingly close to tying the aggregate score in the 55th minute. The Argentine forward got his head onto a DeLeon cross just six yards from goal and glanced his header inches wide of Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles‘s far post.

The home side was made to regret that missed chance just two minutes later. Thierry Henry, as he has done so often in his prolific MLS career, served up a perfect ball from the left wing into the most dangerous of spots. RBNY forward Peguy Luyindula did just enough at the near post to redirect the ball over the top of DCU goalkeeper Bill Hamid and into the back of the net.

Full highlights:

RBNY defender Roy Miller kept things interesting and left the door ever so slightly open for DCU, down 3-1 on aggregate including the series’ only away goal, by getting himself sent off in the 78th minute. Miller, already on a yellow card, left a foot high and exposed near the head of Sean Franklin and earned a straight red for his actions. As a result, Miller will miss both legs of the Eastern Conference finals.

Franklin managed to give DCU the faintest of lifelines with a 91st minute goal to pull his side back to within one on aggregate, but with RBNY’s trump card, the series’s only away goal.

RBNY will host the winner of the New England Revolution and Columbus Crew‘s conference semifinals series (the Revs hold a 4-2 advantage ahead of Sunday’s second leg in Foxboro, Mass.,) at Red Bull Arena on Nov. 23 (time TBD).

Lineups

DC United: Hamid, Kemp, Birnbaum, Boswell, Franklin, Pontius (Estrada 73′), Kitchen, Arnaud (Johnson 60′), DeLeon, Rolfe (Neal 66′), Espindola

Goals: DeLeon (37′), Franklin (90+1′)

Subs: Willis, Estrada, Inkoom, Johnson, Neal, Martin, Korb

New York Red Bulls: Robles, Eckersley, Olave, Sekagya, Miller, Alexander (Cahill 65′), McCarty, Sam (Armando 90+5′), Luyindula (Oyongo 76′), Henry, Wright-Phillips

Goal: Luyindula (57′)

Subs: Meara, Armando, Duvall, Bover, Lade, Oyongo, Cahill

New York Red Bulls 2-1 Sporting KC: Wright-Phillips’ late winner shocks reigning champs

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One game in 100 words: The MLS playoffs had already kicked off when the Vancouver Whitecaps succumbed to a 2-1 defeat to FC Dallas, but when the Red Bulls faced Sporting KC in Harrison, NJ., there was no shortage of thrills. In the first half, New York hung onto possession, dictated the pace and style of play, and, for the most part kept Sporting attackers at bay. However, Peter Vermes’ squad converted the first goal, putting their clinical finishing abilities on display to spur NY into a sort of desperation mode. Thierry Henry and Bradley Wright-Phillips assaulted the net, but squandered opportunities wide right, left and over the top. After the score had been drawn level, the Red Bulls kept pressing forward in the attack. Cue the dramatic 90th-minute finish. Utterly spectacular.

 

Goals

New York: Bradley Wright-Phillips 77’, 90′

Kansas City: Dominic Dwyer 54’

 

Moments that mattered

53’ — Sporting pounces on turnover — It wasn’t the prettiest start for Sporting Kansas City’s offense; regardless, they were able to take advantage of simple instance of sloppy play by New York when Henry forced a pass in the middle of pitch that Benny Feilhaber broke up and quickly advanced into his opponent’s end on the break. Then, the former New England Revolution standout slid an crafty through ball to Dominic Dwyer, who sped into the penalty area to apply the close-range finish.

77’— Wright-Phillips gets RBNY on the board — This conversion was only a matter of time. The Red Bulls sustained their attack and relentlessly for the equalizer. Peguy Luyindula started the sequence by locating Henry with a pinpoint ball toward the end line, affording the former Arsenal superstar space to nick a low, short cross to Wright-Phillips near the six-yard area. The league’s top goal scorer would have no issues burying his effort with a rapid toe poke, sending Sporting goalkeeper Eric Kronberg helplessly to his left.

90’ — MLS Golden Boot winner nails it — After his first goal to equalize the match, timeliness by Wright-Phillips and the entire New York team, for that matter, ended the contest in a breathtaking fashion. Peguy Luyindula skipped a pass down the right wing for Ambroise Oyongo Bitolo, and he then whipped a high-arching cross, which appeared non-threatening at first, toward the six-yard box. Nevertheless, Wright-Phillips shook the defender responsible for marking him, and positioned himself in perfect position to bury the header just inside the far post. Red Bull stadium erupted, basically confirming their squad’s victory in the face of Sporting’s inability to generate offense.

 

Lineups

New York: Luis Robles; Richard Eckersley (Ambroise Oyongo Bitolo 75’), Jamison Olave, Ibrahim Sekagya, Roy Miller; Dax McCarty, Eric Alexander (Peguy Luyindula 65’), Lloyd Sam, Tim Cahill (Connor Lade 90’+4’), Thierry Henry; Bradley-Wright Phillips

Kansas City: Eric Kronberg; Kevin Ellis, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Paulo Nagamura, Jorge Claros, Benny Feilhaber; C.J. Sapong (Jacob Peterson 81’), Dominic Dwyer, Graham Zusi

MLS Snapshot: New York Red Bulls 1-0 Houston Dynamo

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One game in 100 words: The New York Red Bulls started the game with obvious intentions of snagging the first goal, as Mike Petke’s side pushed the Houston Dynamo back line time and time again in the opening half. No goals were scored, however, until the beginning of the final 45 minutes. After that occurrence, the Dynamo picked up their performance and strove for the equalizer, especially when Tim Cahill was ejected with a red card just as he came on the pitch as a substitute in the waning minutes. But New York preserved possession and almost scored a second goal in the final minute of stoppage time, bolstering their fifth-place playoff standing with three points. Houston finds their postseason hopes in dire straits, positioned eight points back from the Red Bulls.

Three moments that mattered

47’ — Henry cooly buries the open netter — This sequence was the most significant moment of the match because it was simply the only score of the match. Lloyd Sam charged up the right wing and ran to the edge of the box before sliding a low pass to Bradley Wright-Phillips near the five-yard box. But Wright-Phillips was heavily guarded, and it appeared that he then flicked the ball to open space at the far post. This reversal presented a empty net for Henry, who followed the run of play to strike the close-range finish.

53’ — Barnes misses wonderful chance to draw level — The Red Bulls had captured the lead, and the Dynamo’s initial response, a sense of urgency, was exactly what they wanted. Unfortunately, their greatest chance of the game wasn’t converted. Brad Davis held up for a second on the wing prior to delivering a cross to Giles Barnes at the near post, as the forward crashed the net and brushed past his opposition’s back line. Barnes made contact on the ball, but it sailed past frame.

38’ — Henry meets iron on curled set piece — New York hadn’t scored the game-winning goal quite yet, so at this point in the contest, Thierry Henry’s missed strike on goal appeared crucial. If Henry nailed his curled set piece from outside the box, it would have been the defining moment of the game, notably due to its quality. This conversion likely could have received MLS Goal of the Week honors, depending on its opposition. Regardless, this failed attempt marked the Red Bulls’ struggling to properly cap off their numerous scoring prospects.

Lineups

New York: Luis Robles; Richard Eckersley, Armando, Ibrahim Sekagya, Roy Miller; Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam, Peguy Luyindula, Thierry Henry (Ian Christianson 90’); Bradley Wright-Phillips

Houston: Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst (Alexander Lopez 80’), A.J. Cochran, DaMarcus Beasley; Oscar Garcia, Ricardo Clark (Jermaine Taylor 72’), Luis Garrido, Brad Davis; Giles Barnes, Omar Cummings (Andrew Driver 67’)

Watch Live: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo (Lineups)

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Red Bull Arena and the New York Red Bulls will play host to the Houston Dynamo on NBCSN at 6:00 p.m. ET tonight. You can also catch the game live at NBC Sports Live Extra.

Houston is fighting to jump the Eastern Conference tables to slide into the playoffs, but right now, they’re situated in eight place, sitting behind three other teams including the New York Red Bulls in fifth place. The Dynamo have 36 points and would need to win the majority of their final games to have a legitimate chance at snagging a postseason birth.

The Red Bulls have to remain firm with their performances. Essentially, they can’t afford a losing streak to close out the season, and even though a mix of ties and victories should see them into the playoffs, Toronto FC and the Philadelphia Union are only one and two points back from NY respectively.

[WATCH LIVE: New York Red Bulls vs. Houston Dynamo]

Both sides have already met twice this year, in July, with the 2-2 result. In April, however, New York trounced Dominic Kinnear’s team, 4-0. And the Red Bulls should enjoy home turf, considering a 4-0 loss to the LA Galaxy last week stretched their away winless run to seven competitions.

A week ago, the Dynamo extended their undefeated streak to five games, blanking the Chicago Fire, 2-0. Although long periods of success eventually come to an end, Houston’s victorious momentum could help them capture a important result in Harrison.

But can MLS MVP candidate Bradley Wright-Phillips and New York’s shaky defense trump their opponent?

LINEUPS

New York: Luis Robles; Richard Eckersley, Armando, Ibrahim Sekagya, Roy Miller; Eric Alexander, Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam, Peguy Luyindula, Thierry Henry; Bradley Wright-Phillips

Bench — Ryan Meara; Chris Duvall; Tim Cahill, Ian Christianson, Eric Stevenson; Saer Sene, Damien Perrinelle

Houston: Tyler Deric; Kofi Sarkodie, David Horst, A.J. Cochran, DaMarcus Beasley; Oscar Garcia, Ricardo Clark, Luis Garrido, Brad Davis; Giles Barnes, Omar Cummings

Bench– Michael Lisch; Jermaine Taylor, Eric Brunner; Andrew Driver, Brian Ownby, Servando Carrasco, Alexander Lopez