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Convey stars as Earthquakes eliminate Red Bulls

Bobby Convey (

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The San Jose Earthquakes weren't given much of a chance when they took the field against the New York Red Bulls on Thursday night, but they knew they could pull the upset if the executed their game plan. And the New York Red Bulls? They knew they could put away this Eastern Conference playoff series if they finished the chances they were bound to create.

Only the Earthquakes were able to accomplish their mission.

Led by an inspired performance by Bobby Convey, the Earthquakes scored three goals and held off a mis-firing Red Bulls squad to post a dramatic 3-1 victory and 3-2 series aggregate victory at Red Bull Arena.

The win moves the Earthquakes into the Eastern Conference final, where they will face either the Columbus Crew or the Colorado Rapids. The Crew hosts the Rapids on Saturday in game two of their series (Colorado posted a 1-0 win in the first leg).

Convey scored an early goal to erase the 1-0 lead New York carried from the first leg, and as the Red Bulls wasted countless opportunities, the Earthquakes eventually found chinks in the Red Bulls armor. Convey led the way, adding a second goal before setting up Chris Wondolowski for the series-clinching goal to erase a dramatic tally by Juan Pablo Angel, who scored in his final game as a Red Bull.

The Red Bulls had a chance to equalize late, but Thierry Henry missed a free header later after coming on as a late substitute.

Convey was the star of the show, providing a threat on the left wing, and playing impeccable defense after replacing injured fullback Ramiro Corrales at left back just before halftime. He added his second goal by turning Tim Ream in the penalty area and beating Bouna Coundoul from close range, then delivered the series-clinching assist in the final minutes.

What did you think of the result? Impressed with San Jose? Still can't believe New York lost? Think the Earthquakes can make a run to the MLS Cup Final?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’m not a spiteful person, but given the RBNY bias of this column (I love it generally), it was somewhat pleasing to see the favored and overrated (save Lindpere) team lose to a team with heart and energy-at-the-right-time. Bummer to me because RB Arena should be filled every game, and this result will only make that situation more difficult. Is this team managed correctly (I wouldn’t want to make those decisions given the roster)?

  2. What proof do you have that NY is an overcrowded soccer/sports market? NY is the largest metropolitan area in the US and has 1 MLS team (in NJ). London, the largest metropolitan area in the UK, currently has 5 first division teams and 7 with a stadium that exceeds RBA’s capacity. Sao Paulo, the largest metropolian area in South America, has 3 major teams/stadiums (some would include Santos as a fourth). Virtually every major city in Europe (and many elsewhere) has two regular first division sides and many have quality second and lower division teams also. So the notion of 2 soccer teams in a metro areas the size and importance of NY is common sense. Chivas is a terrible example — poorly thought out concept, shared stadium — that would never be repeated in NY.

  3. Oh, no doubt, Adam. I live in Brooklyn and it still can be a difficult trip. Last night, I didn’t get home until midnight (and no I didn’t stop at The Patriot for cheap beer and wings on the way home). I definitely understand why it would be too difficult for many people who live further out, particularly ones with kids.

  4. I think its a geography issue, not regionalism. To get to RBA from most of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx or much of Upper Manhattan, you have to take long subway ride to the PATH and the PATH, which combined can take over an hour each way, or you have to drive, which is expensive and unpredictable. Add more time/hassle if you are coming from Long Island. A Queens-based team wouldn’t have those issues and would draw more causal and game-day fans. But there is plenty of room for two teams in NY.

  5. Jeremy, the problem is your arguments are not factual. The entire lower bowl was sold out and almost the entire upper bowl was filled. A few thousand fans did not show up on a cold rainy weeknight, including some who sit in the “better” (and more noticable yellow) seats. Hardly terrible and no argument against a second team if the second team would be in Queens, which is nowhere near RBA and would draw from a very different population (Queens, Brooklyn, LI, CT) given its location. Somehow, the “NY market” has three NHL teams, two NBA teams, two NFL teams, and two MLB teams, and 1 MLS team. But you are probably right that adding another MLS team would be just too much for the market to bear. Maybe you should spend some time in NYC before you tell us what we deserve.

  6. There are a variety of thing I think the league is considering when it comes to this question about a second team in NY.

    The first is the sheer number of people in NYC and the possibility for future growth there. While the turnout, I think, has been very good for the first year at RB Arena, think of how many fans could potentially support two clubs here. It is pretty massive.

    Second, another inter-city derby for the league would be great.

    Third, while many cities in the country would love to have a franchise, how many hotbeds of soccer are there left, really? And what is their revenue-generating potential both from ticket sales and merchandising standpoints? I’m not sure there are many, or even a few, left. At least not at the level the MLS wants to be at as a professional league.

    Fourth, if it is the Cosmos and they do play in NY, they will be a massive hit. They will have money and there will be players who want to play for a club that in its previous incarnation had Pele, Beckenbauer, Carlos Alberto, etc.

    Anyway, I think the consideration here is far beyond how many people show up at RB Arena.

    I would understand completely if people in St. Louis, Milwaukee, Florida, etc. disagree.

  7. SBI – The fact that you refuse to acknowledge that it is unacceptable to not be selling out a brand new stadium for a playoff game that is the biggest game of the year is evidence alone that this discussion should be ended. I mentioned several other times that the reason I brought this up is that I do not think NY deserves a second team and it would only be more harmful to add a second team to the market. You conveniently didn’t say a word about any of that, but instead you attacked me for commenting on the CLEARLY empty seats all throughout the lower bowl. Several of my friends who watched the game also mentioned the same exact thing without being prompted to do so. When you are in the biggest market in the nation, you have a brand new stadium, a good product on the field, and it is the biggest game of the year, it is most definitely an embarrassment that you cannot fill a 25k stadium.

    (SBI-Jeremy, you have no idea what you’re talking about and continue to stress your own ideas about what YOU think is “acceptable” and “unacceptable”. Move on.)

  8. I love it! If RSL gets to the final they will face a much easier team. Regardless of who that may be Crapids, Quakes, or the Crew- Well the Crew won’t survive past tomorrow either. I’m starting to think it’s going to be a Rocky Mountain MLS Cup. But I see a lot of drive in the Quakes. At least that’s who I’m rooting for in the east now. Come on Crew, not the Crapids out!

  9. 1. There were easily 20,000 people in attendance at RBA last night despite the late weeknight start and cold soaking rain. The atmosphere in the stadium was incredible (the roof helped). Why some season tix holders with the best seats don’t show is a mystery.

    2. Angel showed why his time is up. Backe has had an excellent year but he should have replaced him way before he got his goal.

    3. Ream will be the USMNT’s John Terry (on the field). Yes, he is that good. No, he is not perfect. Neither is Terry or anyone else.

    4. Marquez was a little sloppy at times, but not dramatically so. He will be devestating if RB gets their big Number 10 in the offseason, which they need.

    5. Henry can count this year’s “should have” goals on two hands (pun slightly intended), but anyone who thinks he hasn’t been a success is shortshighted.

    6. San Jose deserves all the credit for playing a tough game, as does Convey.

    7. Agudelo has a lot of potential, but it remains to be seen if he is a finisher.

    8. RBA needs to get the picanha sandwiches on their inside the stadium menu. Really missed those due to the rain last night.

    9. If you hate RB because they have owners willing to spend tens of millions of dollars to improve an awful franchise and build a world class facility, you need your head checked. Every sports team should have owners like that.

    10. Barca didn’t win the Champions League last year. Great teams don’t win playoffs sometimes. That’s why we play the games.

  10. The main problem was that Angel’s poor play left them without a finisher, a viable link at center forward or, because of their set up, anyone on the opposite field from Richards, who San Jose snuffed out effectively. Ream was outstanding for most of the night and should have had better cover on Convey’s move. Marquez was a little sloopy, but not dramatically so. I though Backe was a few minutes too slow on the draw on Henry, but Henry would have had to play overtime also.

  11. The biggest difference that aging DP’s can make on NYRB is helping to develop the younger players with big upside: Agudelo, Tchani etc. Sure Marquez helped NY stabalize the midfield but next year weather it’s two or three DP’s it will be Lindpere, Ream, Agudelo, Richards and Kandoul as the main drivers of this team. If that’s the case than people will still say the DP players are overpaid.

  12. Your statements make sense regarding the surrounding areas and their refusal to support the Red Bulls. I haven’t been to NYC before, but I can appreciate what you are saying.

    Your last paragraph is really the main thought I have had since the second I heard about Garber’s wishes to add a second team. I really think that you are spot on that adding a second team would be at the expense of the existing one. Give that team to another city that would actually passionately support it. What city deserves it? I’m not sure. Arguments can be made for numerous cities, but I just feel strongly that adding another one in NY would not be a good idea.

  13. SBI – I never said anything about the atmosphere provided by the fans that actually did show up. Those fans should be commended for supporting their team and for creating the atmosphere that you are defending. There are definitely stadiums that have greater seating issues in the league, but you cannot deny the fact that for a team in NY’s position, that game should have been sold out and the amount of empty seats is an embarrassment to the team.

    (SBI-It’s not an “embarrassment” to the team. The fact remains the team has had an awful first 13 years in existence (including the worst of them all in 2009) and that track record, combined with some awful experiences for fans dealing with Giants Stadium, drove tons of fans away that aren’t going to come right back right away because of a new building or big name players. It takes time. That being said, they’re drawing very good numbers and for you or anybody to use a few thousand empty seats as an excuse to rip the team or market as “embarrassing” is extremely weak.

    What I don’t get is why you continue harping on this. What’s your point? You basically come off as a troll for beating this drum. And looking at your history of comments you have far too many comments relating to opposing teams and their fan situations, and how they don’t compare to Seattle. That’s the definition of smugness. Have nothing else constructive to add to the site? I hope you do, because if you’re just going to be a troll you’re not going to last too long around here.)

  14. Well, I’m not sure what else can be done. But for those of us who have been following the club for years, we were under no illusion that the team would have great support overnight. I know this must seem very strange for people who don’t live here and see millions upon millions of people in NYC and the area. I do think we’ll get there, but it may take a couple of years.

    As far as the second part about a second team in NY, that is a big issue. What I can tell you is that there are many, many soccer fans in the boroughs throughout NYC who refuse to go see Red Bull play but would support a team in the city. They have a variety of reasons for not supporting the club, most of which are bogus. But there is a psychological block with some people about it being New Jersey’s team. What’s interesting to me is that when I take friends from Brooklyn who have never seen the club play before, they love it, and remark on how it’s closer than going to Citifield to see the Mets.

    Whether a second club in NY would draw more fans than the Red Bulls really isn’t known. I think it probably would, but unfortunately at the expense of Red Bull.

  15. I wasn’t impressed with Ballouchy last night. When Henry was waiting in the wings, I was wondering if there was a way to put Agudelo or Henry in his position…

  16. Hmm well maybe it looked different on tv, but you could clearly see the giant Red Bull on the seats since there wasn’t people in them. Honestly I’m not sure what reasons have been thrown out there as to why the fans don’t show up. It just seemed like there was a lot of excitement earlier in the year for the new stadium and the new players. Every game I have seen played in NY recently has been just sad in terms of support. The team is finally putting a quality product on the field and I would think that alone should be enough to get more people out there.

    I’m not sure what more can be done at this point though. New stadium, high profile players, good young players, poor support. The reason I bring this up is because of Garber’s stated wishes to get a second team in NY. If there isn’t enough support for the team that is currently there, how could a 2nd team possibly be supported?

    (SBI-Jeremy, you’re pretty clueless about the atmosphere at Red Bull Arena. The atmosphere for Thursday’s game was great, and the atmosphere for home games has been good all year. Were there empty seats in sections? Yes, but your “The lower bowl was half empty” proclamations are just flat wrong. There are stadiums in MLS where there are serious empty seats issues, but Red Bull Arena isn’t one of them.)

  17. Sorry, Jeremy, that’s just not true. I was there. I sit in the lower bowl. I’d say there were about 21K there last night by about the 15 minute mark.

    The reasons why the stadium isn’t full have been discussed over and over again. But why keep bringing it up? Anytime the reasons are put forth, the same response of, “that’s just an excuse” is fired back.

    This was indeed a playoff match and it would have been great to have a sellout, but we didn’t. I was happy with the support. It was energetic and positive. I think if you had been one of the 5,000 people at matches last year at Giants Stadium, watching an awful team over and over again, you would know where I’m coming from and appreciate the dramatic difference. Being where you are, I don’t think you can relate.


  18. Seattle and yes I have. I would say the same thing about my own team if that was a problem, but obviously that isn’t an issue. I just don’t understand how the top team from the East in a brand new stadium in the biggest market possible could not even fill out the stadium in their biggest game of the year. The attendance figures state there was 22k, but there is no way in hell that is correct. Half of the damn lower bowl was open.

  19. NY’s fan support is a joke. They deserved to lose just based on the amount of empty seats in their fancy new stadium. However the game was good and I’m glad SJ advanced. Columbus needs to go out next so hopefully Garber will finally realize a change needs to be made with the moronic playoff structure that is currently in place.

  20. Whaddya know? Convey can score. All these years and I didn’t think he could do it.

    Great game. RB missed too many open chances. Otherwise they would be going on.

  21. 1. Congrats to RBNY on a great year. Teams that finish first (or even win the SS) don’t always win the MLS Cup–DC United knows that all too well. So the trash talk in that regard is kinda lame from my perspective.

    2. RBNY defense let the team down. All year it’s been organized and tight. Not this match. And that’s not criticism of Convey or Wondo, only a reality that the same RB defense shut them down in SJ on their home turf.

    3. I don’t get the Ream-bashing. While I thought Najar was a better choice, I publicly stated that any of the 3 were deserving. I saw nothing last night (despite the Convey goal where he spun Ream around) that indicated Ream was anything other than a seasoned, competent, reliable central defender who gets the job done very well. It was a team let-down with lots of culprits. You don’t give up 3 goals at home unless you have a defensive collapse or the circumstances are extraordinary (ie: Pele is reincarnated, 2 of your players get ejected–stuff of that ilk).

    4. I don’t get the conference bashing. The idea that a single table is the answer is Euro-centric and ignores the realities of MLS. MLS really needs regional rivalries. Seattle and TFC will draw amazing crowds or sell out no matter what. But it’s vital to tap into the RBNY/Philly/DC rivalry. It’s vital to tap into the Seattle/Portland/Vancouver rivalry. It’s vital to have TFC and Vancouver playing each other extra matches. It’s vital to have LAG and Chivas and SJ all playing each other extra matches. So if the idea of a single table is fairness, than you also can’t have uneven schedules (where DCU plays Philly and RBNY extra times, or LAG plays SJ and Chivas extra times). Maybe in 10 years where we complain about the low attendance in Dallas where they only sold out Pizza Hut Park 10 times that season–shockingly low! But right now, MLS needs to build atmosphere at matches. And that happens with good soccer, good supporters groups and great rivalries.

    One last factor–imagine a season where all 8 playoff teams come from the West. Other than bragging rights for the West, can’t you see how bad that would be for MLS? Playoff games that start at 8pm PST would be on at 11pm in the East. I know that soccer coverage in this country isn’t great but it would basically cease to exist except for one timezone of the country (the West Coast). There is some value to a scheme at this point for MLS which insures we get someone from the West and someone from the East in the playoffs every year. In the future, maybe not so much. But right, it’s important.

  22. 2. You can’t ever really assign too much blame to a keeper for getting beaten one v one in the box.

    3. Um, he may deserve to be MVP, but not on the basis of this tie. He was a non-factor for most of both legs who managed to take his one good chance well (and only got that chance thanks to Convey’s brilliant ball).

  23. I’ve got no problem saying Rafa isn’t worth what he’s getting paid. Henry I’m willing to wait and see how he’s playing when he’s actually healthy.

    But if we traded him, we wouldn’t be the first. Seattle already cornered that market.

  24. “Championships matter. Winning matters. Neither Ream nor Agudelo have ever won anything.”

    QED, imo: Ream and Agudelo are overhyped. You, sir, are quite the logician. By your logic, any athlete who has never won a championship is overhyped. Yeah, that makes sense.

  25. My god martha you are a joke. Crawl back under whatever rock you came out from. He started every minute of every game on the first place team with one of the lowest GA averages in the league… as a rookie.

    Go back to smoking whatever crack you have left and leave the adults to talk.

  26. Marco is such a patriot that doesn’t care who wins so long as it’s ABT: anyone but Toronto. Damn those un-American Canucks (and east coasters and west coasters, too, apparently).

  27. Great game, that second half was excellent, great attacking play, back and forth action, and some great goals.

    I hope the rest of the fixtures will be that good.

  28. The main Ballouchy gaffe I recall was his shot that was stopped from just outside the six. That was a wide open look he had and I agree anything other than a goal there is unacceptable. What were the other two?

    I agree that Ballouchy has been fairly average since joining RBNY, and I prefer Tchani to him in most situations, but I didn’t notice him as awful last night. He seemed average again: not creating particularly much, but at the very least getting involved in the offensive flow.

    I think the problem w/ Ballouchy is partially one of expectations. For whatever the reason (reputation? because he was traded for Beckerman?), people expect him to be this dynamic playmaker. He’s pretty clearly not (I’ve noticed that he backpasses and sidepasses a lot just above the attacking third). But he plays ok/average as an attack-minded midfielder, which has at least some value (though maybe more off the bench). The problem comes, I think, if you expect him to be a classic #10. He’s not good enough to be the hub of an attack, but he’s a decent enough cog.


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