Running Of The Red Bulls? Your Live Commentary Here

This is a guest preview by TSG writer Jason Price.

Tonight's scene....of the crime?

Football being what it is, and this being MLS, anything is possible in tonight’s Eastern Conference Semi-Final second leg, but if I were a betting man, I wouldn’t put my money on the Earthquakes.

New York carries a 1-0 advantage into Red Bull Arena, so the team formerly known as the Clash will need a victory to progress onto the Conference Finals which, for the Quakes, would either mean a happy trip to the nippy and desolate Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, or a rewarding  jaunt to the chilly and oft unvisited Crew Stadium.

Regardless, here are six scenarios which could somehow see the Quakes through:

1) Bouna time:

Statistically, Bouna Coundoul is among the top goalkeepers in MLS and by and large the Senegalese international has settled in well at RBA as a true number one. At moments spectacular (dare we say, even world class), he is also capable of making some of the most magnificent errors you’ll see among those that have joined the keeper’s cloth – think Barthez without the flare, or Robert Green without the… Well, just think Robert Green.

2) Geovanni and Miller:

Roy Miller is a talented and capable MLS left back, with a proclivity for shutting off from time to time.  Geovanni is a talented and capable MLS attacker, with a proclivity for shutting off from time to time.     Keep an eye on this match-up.  On Saturday night, Miller made two game-threatening errors involving the Hull City man, neither of which the Brazilian DP could take advantage of. Provided Miller is off his game again, and if Geovanni is on his, anything is possible.

Busch's last visit eastward was anything but a walk in a garden...

3) Busch and belief:

On the road underdogs in do-or-die situations gain confidence from keeping clean sheets, and if the Queens native can hold the Bulls at bay with the kind of heroics he displayed back at the Buck over the weekend, then they just might be able to poach a late goal (perhaps one of them Wondo wonder strikes) at which point, it would be anyone’s game.

4) Bobby Convey, danger man:

If Saturday night was any indication, Bobby Convey will have little luck getting in behind Chris Albright this evening – a testament to the right back’s phoenix-like resurrection. Stifled, watch for Convey to drift inside and fill the creative vacuum in the Quakes central midfield in an attempt to make a few connecting passes into the Quakes attacking third. But don’t hold your breath, this is not want Convey does best, and the Bulls have gotten very good of late at closing down that space in front of their back-four.

Man of the moment...

5) A limp Lindpere:

It’s hard to tell just how much the Red Bulls rely on the steely Estonian in midfield, but judging from last week’s fixture, it can’t be underestimated. Apart from the timely goals, excellent service, and endless pressing, the guy’s work rate is downright inspiring – he just doesn’t stop. There are also the little things: as Tim Ream pointed out after Saturday’s match, Lindpere drops in regularly and wins a majority of the second balls that might otherwise fall to attacking opponents in dangerous areas.  The guy is unquestionably Metros’ player of the year not to mention the beating heart of the nascent squad, but he’s also carrying a nagging groin injury, and there’s a chance he might have to pull up at some point tonight.  With Rafa Marquez not at 100%, Tony Tchani coming off injury (and prone to rookie mistakes), and Carl Robinson not getting many minutes of late, a gaping hole could emerge in the Bulls midfield.

6) 89% chance of precipitation:

Anything can happen in the rain.

But these are exceptions to the rule. The Red Bulls come into the match with the lead, and brimming with confidence. They are very good at home, and are quite simply the more talented and better organized squad. In all likelihood, they come of out of this with a comfortable win, and sit back to see who’s coming Passaic-side next.

A new team, a new organization, but some might ask if the ghosts of Metro past entirely gone… Well, in the words of one devout Metro supporter I spoke with who made the costly trans-continental flight to witness the first-leg of this series: “Look, I followed this club since the day… since ’96. And well… I’m scared dude.”

14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by dth on 2010/11/04 at 7:08 PM

    this game has illustrated so so well the promise and peril of tim ream: for 85 of 86 minutes (it’s the 87th as I write this), he’s been wonderful–great coverage, distribution, even some surprising pace–for the other minute? I have to watch it again, but I think he’s either mostly or partially at fault for two of the three goals.


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/11/05 at 10:38 AM

      Agree for the 2nd goal, he got turned by Convey, but wasn’t Wondo for the 3rd goal being marked by Miller?


      • Posted by dth on 2010/11/05 at 8:13 PM

        I was thinking he was (admittedly very) partially at fault for the first goal for mistiming the jump on his cross. That was my first-blush reaction, though obviously Marquez deserves the lion’s share of the blame on that breakdown.


  2. Posted by DrBenway on 2010/11/04 at 7:51 PM

    Convey earn his way back into camp? Talks about himself a lot, but give him a shot. Wondo continues to be the few-touch-but-valuable-touch striker. Economy on and off the field.

    MLS brass wanted the opposite of this result so very badly. We’re not there yet where $$ buys titles and that’s fine with SJE fans for now. Maybe they will at least get LA.

    Doesn’t rank up there with the LA playoffs when we were down 4-0, but this is great due to the 3DPs on the other side of the field. GO QUAKES!!


    • Posted by Jared on 2010/11/05 at 3:59 AM

      If Convey doesn’t get a shot at the national team over Bornstein now then there is something seriously wrong with the way the team is run. He may be a loud mouth but he’s definitely a better player when healthy.


  3. Posted by Iggystar on 2010/11/04 at 8:01 PM

    Through the USMNT looking glass, how about that Juan Agudelo?

    He’s like Findley but with Stan Bush’s The Touch.


    • Posted by Iggystar on 2010/11/04 at 8:09 PM

    • Posted by dth on 2010/11/04 at 8:54 PM

      don’t know if Findley’s the right comparison: Agudelo’s a dribbler and Findley’s a speed merchant (yes, even in his good moments).

      Don’t quite know what Agudelo’s going to turn out to be, but I hope it’ll be as impressive as it might be.


      • Posted by dth on 2010/11/04 at 10:16 PM

        One last thought re: Agudelo. I’m hoping the technical director of every MLS team watched Agudelo’s performance over both legs and thought to him/herself: “Now how do I get one of those for my team?” Then, of course, goes out and does it.


  4. Posted by JasonPrice on 2010/11/04 at 9:41 PM

    A few notes:
    -Circle #3 for “Convey, danger man.” But not at all in the way I would have ever imagined…
    -There was “a gaping hole” in midfield tonight, and that was Rafa Marquez, regrettably.
    -Very bad for MLS yes, very good for San Jose. And they deserved it…
    -Busch was stellar, too.
    -As for Ream, sure Convey turned on the kid in the box, but at that point you’re looking at a left back making a central run. It’s hard to pick up, and Convey did well and was brimming with confidence.
    -Lastly, very relieved I am not a betting man and so happy I ended the preview the way I did… proved very fitting… : >


  5. Posted by Russ on 2010/11/05 at 6:32 AM

    I don’t understand how this is bad for MLS. They got an incredibly exciting/well match played in front of a loud/passionate (if not completely capacity) crowd with a myriad of fascinating story lines and moments.

    I don’t think MLS is at a point where large markets doing well has any significant payoff. The goal right now is to win over the hundreds of thousands of soccer fans in this country who don’t watch MLS.

    You don’t do that with geography, you do that with memorable games like last night.


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/11/05 at 11:26 AM

      It’s not about the large media market, it’s about 2 of the biggest DP signings no longer being part of the playoffs.


  6. Posted by kaya on 2010/11/05 at 10:51 AM

    Marquez can’t be bothered to run. What a lazy fool… he got booed at Buckshaw for every free kick he took =)
    Ole defense all around, though.
    Nothing about the brilliance of Backe in waiting until the 85th minute to make all 3 subs? I couldn’t understand that coaching decision at all.


    • Posted by JasonPrice on 2010/11/05 at 11:20 AM

      Exactly, allowing the second ball to drop to Convey in the opening minutes was the greatest indication. I know, at the point, Metro needed another goal, but this game had Carl Robinson written all over it.


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