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Speed kills, as Wade Barrett and the Houston Dynamo found out Sunday at Robertson Stadium. Dane Richards first fired a verbal salvo before the start of the Western Conference Semifinal Series, warning that he was going to "run that left back into the ground," referring to Houston’s Wade Barrett.

The Jamaican winger’s bravado didn’t sit well with the two-time defending MLS Cup champions. But Richards, who played at San Jacinto Junior College in Houston where he earned National Junior College Player of the Year honors in 2004, backed up his words with a stunning performance in the second leg of the series.

"I won’t comment on that because they’re pretty upset about that," Richards said. "But we exploited that so I’m glad we did it."

Richards played a part in all three Red Bulls goals, helping lift New York to its greatest victory in club history and one of the greatest ever upsets in MLS Cup playoffs as the Red Bulls advance to the Western Conference Final against Real Salt Lake 4-1 on aggregate.

"He was great, a threat from the very first minute," Juan Pablo Angel said. "When you have Dane on one of those days, you have to make the most of him…I would take Dane every day when he’s performing like that."

Richards stunned the orange-clad Dynamo fans, when he took a pass from Sinisa Ubiparipovic on the ground, blew past Barrett and into the box, where he rifled an attempt from 12 yards out past Pat Onstad on 25 minutes.

"I know I have an advantage in front of them, so I just kept going," Richards said. "If they touch me, it’s a PK."

Ten minutes later, Richards’ speed again set the Red Bulls’ second goal when he ran free down the right and his cross was handled by Ricardo Clark and referee Baldomero Toldeo pointed to the spot. Angel stepped up and put his penalty kick into the side netting to Onstad’s right to give the Red Bulls a 2-0 lead.

"Credit to Dane," Red Bulls coach Juan Carlos Osorio said. "He played with controlled aggression…I think he’s done a lot better work now. You can see he comes inside and looks for the pass, now his combination play is better and we always know he is a threat in behind. I’m very pleased with his performance today."

Barrett was replaced at halftime by Corey Ashe, as the Dynamo went with a 3-5-2 formation, hoping to generate more offense in a two-goal hole.

"He led us offensively today," Andrew Boyens said. "Every time he got the ball he was a threat. They didn’t know how to deal with him."

But Richards helped clinch the stunning victory when he sliced apart made a remarkable run to the end line, crossing the ball in front to John Wolyniec, who tapped the ball into the empty net in the 81st minute to ensure that there will be a new MLS Cup champion as the two-time defending champs were ousted.

"It’s funny because I think Barrett got in his head a little bit in the first 10 minutes and then I think Dane just took it upon himself to say, ‘This guy’s not going to beat me,’" Wolyniec said. "He got behind hhim a bunch of times early and really made the difference on the first two goals and obviously on the third. He was the key cog in all three goals."

While Richards’ caught heat for his incendiary comments before the series, comments by critics, including former Red Bulls president and general manager Alexi Lalas, served as motivation.

"(The critics) said our season would end today and we needed better players," Richards said. "We proved to ourselves and our fans that we do it for them."


  1. The girth of his knowledge is endless, the power of his thrust merciless. For he is the one, the only, the logorrheic phallous!

    All hail The Great Kpud!

  2. Obama…RBNY…don’t forget the G-men (technically 07 season but in the 08 calendar). These events have shattered my superstition that whatever team I root for inevitably loses, possibly partially because I’m somehow jinxed and rooting for them. If only we still had Dema, oh wait, oh boy. Don’t do it DEEEEEMMMMAAAAA!!!!!

  3. “And no one wants to discuss the highly questionable PK call on Clark, which was undoubtedly the turning point in the match???? I suspect this board is filled with Red Bulls trolls, with Captain Ives leading the hoard.

    Posted by: Dom Kinnear | November 10, 2008 at 01:22 PM”

    You’re the first person I’ve heard call the PK questionable. Clark stuck his hand out in front of him after the ball was struck by Dane. From his reaction it was clear he knew he f’ed up.

    I’m not sure how you can call the RBNY fans on the boards trolls, either. Ives is the main RBNY beat writer, so of course NY fans read this blog. You’re the one trolling here.

  4. you know – I actually called this before the series on this blog. But I wasn’t counting in Dane Richards being the diffrence. I was thinking Angel being the best player in the series being the diffrence maker. I’m happy either way though.

    Houston has played too many games and traveled way too much but that is less of a reason for their loss then the fact New York wanted it more.

    Hey Ives- still calling Osoiro’s 1st year a failure?

    Take note Arena- that’s how you manage a big game.

  5. Brilliant title Ives, cant believe I didnt come up w/ it, lol…but shows you are one smart cookie. Should play that song thats out now, changing girl to boy *That boy is so dangerous, that boy is so dangerous, hes so bad, girl!*…And nothing wrong w/ Goldy diving says the Italian, Colombian fan!…And lay off kpugs, hes a little loopy but we love his passion!!!

  6. And you, Dom Kinnear want to be, your team lost. Show a little class.

    I hate whiney fans. Houston lost. NY was the better team in the first game, and destroyed them in the second.

    Just crappy front running fans, they can’t fathom that they would support a team that doesn’t win, so the only possible solution is that they were somehow screwed over by “luck.” Total losers.


  7. Who cares what Lalas says. One of the biggest Jackass GM’s of all time. His comments in the studio aren’t much better.

    I think whatever he says is just to get a rise out of people for saying it.

    Someone told me to only listen to people who have a history of success and accomplishment. Lalas has neither.

  8. Nathan,

    Nothing like fans of a team who are 2 time MLS champions, and also happen to be sore losers.

    Your team lost. They sucked. It was not chance or luck. NY dominated. Houston was entirely ineffective except for 10 minutes in each half.

    At least give credit where it is due.


  9. It’s hard to believe that:

    1. So many people wanted to bench Dane in favor of Mbuta (on what basis, IDK)

    2. So many people thought Wolyniec was useless

    3. So many people wanted to outright cut Van Den Bergh at the start of the season

    4. Osorio swallowed his pride and played a no-gimmicks 4-4-2 with what was basically Arena’s team

  10. And no one wants to discuss the highly questionable PK call on Clark, which was undoubtedly the turning point in the match???? I suspect this board is filled with Red Bulls trolls, with Captain Ives leading the hoard.

  11. Not sure if you can criticize my substitutions. I subbed off my badly beaten LB (Barrett) for a speedy, attacking LM (Ashe). Then quickly swapped out Kamara for Jaqua. And then in around the 60th minute I brought on Holden for Davis.

    Ugly tactics my arse. Let’s talk about the Red Bulls players diving like like girls all around the pitch. I’m looking at you Goldthwaite.

  12. Homey: You’re not a Metros/Red Bulls fan are you? If the league was set up for things like this, how come it’s taken 12 years for the Red Bulls/Metros to do anything of this magnitude?

  13. To put it another way, I’d feel pretty confident of RSL’s chances, but with Vandenberg and JPA on the field, those guys can come up big under any circumstances. They’re 2 class players that make an otherwise mediocre team dangerous. Richards is a factor in that he will stretch the defense giving Vandenberg and JPA more room to exploit.

  14. I dunno how any result in MLS is considered “shocking.” Maybe mildly surprising. But c’mon… the teams are pretty much all the same and there are surprising results every single week.

    I’m not complaining about it. I’d hate it if it were just the “haves” and “have nots.” But at the same time, I can’t say I’m stunned at this result either. The league is set up for things like this.

  15. I can’t remember the last time I was shocked. I TIVO’d the match because I thought it would be an easy Dynamo win. I check Ives around 8pm and whoa! I’m amazed! But then again, this is totally the year of the underdog and the Bulls are filling that role. They played a scrappy game. And forget about luck. This team got luck for the first time in its history. They are always on the other side of that luck but this time they scored and kept the Dynamo off their game. Also should be noted Kinnear made some bad tactical moves waiting forever to sub when the game was out of hand. It’s okay to criticize the other coach for once and so Dom gets the “doesn’t know what he’s doing” award for this past weekend.

  16. It will be an interesting matchup with Richards and JPA against the RSL backline. The RSL backline with Olave and Robbie Russell has a lot more speed than the Houston backline.

    The matchup of RSL’s frontline with NYRB’s will be interesting too. I’m not impressed with the NYRB backline. They may have kept Houston off the scoreline, but it was more due to Houston missing many, many golden opportunities (and NY’s keeper) than anything the backline did.

    In the midfield I think RSL has the edge as far as being able to possess the ball. However, Vandenberg is a big plus for NYRB. His crosses and ability to shoot accurately have given RSL fits in the past. It should be a game that’s up for grabs and I think it really will come down to which team plays a better game and whose midfield is best.

  17. John – interesting comments about the JCO strategy/Arena legacy. I’ve been impressed with VdBergh from the start and never understood the guff he got for a while from RBNY fans – maybe there are teams/players he doesn’t stack up well against and the criticism saw the trees but not the forest.

    There was a lot of determination out there, and maybe some complacency on Houston’s part.

  18. Kudos to Richards. He really exposed those orange hacks.

    I loved his run on the last goal. He looked like Gale Sayers dodging the shoulder barges from the Dynamo. When the play was over there were 3 or 4 orange heaps laying on the ground because they tried to knock Richards over and missed.

    I am not a Red Bulls fan, but I am over the moon with this result. Finally a team has exposed Kinear’s ugly, disruptive, physical tactics in the playoffs. I never thought it would be the Red Bulls, but I’ll take it. Once the second goal went in, the Dynamo had to abandon their normal ugly style.

    BTW, I think Cepero should be more proud of his performance yesterday than that freak goal. He was a monster.

  19. Interesting result. JCO really likes to have one player with speed on the frontline, regardless of that player’s capability. He did that with Chicago, it was true of his team in Colombia and he’s been insistent on either playing Richards (who strictly speaking doesn’t have great technical ability) or Kandji on the frontline to get that speed.

    And Sunday we got a reminder that….speed kills. This is not to minimize the result because it’s a fabulous win for the Redbulls (and it’s also great to see Houston crash out) but if Houston had a left back that could handle speed OR if it hadn’t been Richards (let’s say it had been Magee or Echeverry or one of the other forwards JCO has used this season) we’re talking probably a Houston win.

    This was also, in some ways, an anti-JCO win. I say “anti” because….

    –JCO likes to throw tactical twists at the opposition. You might argue that the tie at home was a function, in part, of Houston being unprepared for the crazy idea of Sinisa and Co. in the middle of the field rather than the imports. But this match, no tactical twists, in fact, pretty much what Houston saw before with no changes. That’s very unlike JCO–he didn’t try to outsmart anyone. This was a case of “less is more.”

    –a lot of the key contributors here were Arena finds. I’m not trying to defend Arena, only point out that: JPA has been not just a good goal scorer but not has become so much of a team leader and Mr. Reliable. Richards was passed over by other teams b/c he’d count as an SI but Arena grabbed him for his speed. The initial book on Van Den Bergh at the start of the season was that JCO was likely to cut him (and instead he’s been the only consistent distributor out of midfield all season).

  20. I just meant that it may have been hard to pick out which player most deserved the first Monday morning post. I was personally as impressed by Cepero as by Richards and would’ve been torn about whom to highlight more.

  21. The quote by Angel was interesting. He’s basically saying that Dane needs to show up and play like that EVERY game. I think that’s the major criticism of Richards. He lacks consistency. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had a real stinker Saturday.

  22. Tim, you going to email me? Or what? Just hide behind your ignorant anonymity and make bitter posts like the loser you are? I’m more than happy to fill you in.

  23. The most annoying thing about this win for everybody else in MLS is that now New York’s fans are going to think their team’s actually good instead of two good players (Richards and Angel), one good performance (Cepero), and a bunch of scrubs.

    Soon they will realize it was two good performances (Richards’ and Cepero’s) combined with a lack of luck for the Dynamo that kept that game from ending 4-2 to the Dynamo.

    Hopefully, Chicago or Columbus will wake them to that realization (maybe RSL, if they focus).

  24. A Diddy, since the post is about Richards why would the headline involve Cepero?

    Tim, you must know nothing about this league. This is not this teams most important victory. If you want to email me so I can explain the history of the league and this club to you like a child, feel free. Better than you being a bitter fool and making stupid posts.

  25. What better time for Dane to raise his game and elevate his confidence than now?

    Missed the game but when I got home and found out we routed Houston, I did about three backflips.

    Haven’t felt this good about the team since the early 2000’s when Clint Mathis was at his prime with the Metros.

    I’m thinking about spending my Xmas money on some MLS Cup tickets if the Red Bulls make it to LA.

    Vamos RB!!!!

  26. What a terrific game by the Great Dane … Richards. He combined his usual speed dribbling with a laser shot on goal (I didn’t know he had in him) and a couple of effective crosses. Keep it going Dane … keep it going.


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