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Braun Hat Trick leads Chivas USA past Red Bulls

JustinBraun (GettyImages)


New York Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said during the week that Sunday's match vs. Chivas USA could be a trap game for the Eastern Conference leaders. And that's exactly what it was. 

Justin Braun's hat trick was just enough for Chivas USA to slip by New York, 3-2, at Red Bull Arena on Sunday. Braun's player-of-the-week performance came in his first start of the season for the Goats. 

"I hadn't scored until this game this year," said Braun. "I kind have been struggling a little bit. I think it was a coming out game for me. Hopefully, I can build on it and gain some confidence from it–keep moving forward scoring goals and helping this team win."

New York dominated the second half, but an Alejandro Moreno header opened the door for Braun's hat trick. Coundoul punched a header from Moreno off the post and the ball trickled to the goal line. Braun was wide open and tapped it in for the 3-2 win. 

"I think it's a statement game for us," said the hat trick hero. "A lot of guys haven't been talking about Chivas or they're telling us we're not good enough. That's what it's like being the underdog. I think we're showing we are one of the top teams in the league. Even tonight, we didn't play our best soccer, but we were committed as a group and we came away with three points in a hostile environment against a very good team."

"I think for a young group that is growing and in the building process, I think a result like this, with this kind of effort, further confirms everything that we're trying to do," added first year Chivas USA coach Robin Fraser."I think as a young team coming up, this win will be extremely important down the road."

The game was delayed 31 minutes due to a power surge that knocked the lights out right before kickoff. Chivas USA was unphased by the delay and came out to a cracking start. 

Braun's first goal opened the scoring in the sixth minute after he cut up Jan Gunnar Solli and ripped a beautiful shot in the upper right hand corner of the goal past the diving Bouna Coundoul. New York equalized fifteen minutes later thanks to a Thierry Henry goal. Rafa Marquez played pin point long ball to Henry, who took the pass down with class and finished cooly past Chivas USA keeper Dan Kennedy. 

Braun put Chivas up again in 31st minute. Heath Pearce played a free kick from midfeld into the box. Ante Jazic was just able to get a touch on it to keep it from crossing the endline and Braun capitilized with a blast past Coundoul. 

"We just gotta clean it up," said Red Bulls defender Tim Ream. 

Ream added: "There was a mishap on the backpost [on the second goal]. The guys kinda got complacent and thought the ball was going out. By the time we switched back on, the ball was coming back across. Their third goal, I think, was just a miscommunication. And on top of that, I think a lot of guys thought there was going to be a whistle because the wall was being set up. But again, you can't make excuses and we just have to be sharp and always be tuned in."

Dwyane De Rosario capped the first half scoring in the 35th minute with a confident finish from the penalty spot. The late call came from referee Alex Prus after Heath pearce bumped Luke Rodgers from behind on an Henry cross. Rodgers beat Pearce to the spot of the cross and would've had a golden opportunity at a one time finish. The penalty would conclude the scoring for New York, despite peppering the Chivas goal with nine corners and six shots in the second half. 

"We played too pretty and too sloppy," said Red Bulls head man Hans Backe. "Conceding two goals like that on set plays is too sloppy…"

Backe continued: "(We) are disappointed of course that we didn't control the game at home, dictate the game at home. Every team in this league, you need to play up to your potential every game if you're going to win in this league."

Coming into the match, the Red Bulls boasted one of the stingiest defenses in MLS only allowing three goals in eight games. Two defense lapses on set pieces cost New York valuable points at home. Defending on set pieces is now a concern with the two goals allowed against the Goats and Landon Donovan's set piece header last week. 

New York will need to address that problem quick with a visit to Houston on Saturday, a team they only mustered a point against at home. It will be key for New York to pick up the full six points out of the next two games before they lose five key players to Gold Cup committments. 

On the other side, Chivas USA has now only lost one game since the start of April after starting the year 0-3. The lone loss came against what many regard as the best team in MLS, Real Salt Lake. Chivas USA's stingy defense had only allowed three goals in six games walking into the match against New York. The transformation of the backline is due in part to the stellar play of Heath Pearce and rookie Zarek Valentin. But, according to Braun, the main reason for the team's success is rookie coach, Robin Fraser. 

"He's [Robin Fraser] a great soccer mind and you can see it in the way we play," said Braun of his first year coach. 

"As you can see he's done wonders for the team. We went from being one of the worst teams in the league last year to now I feel like we haven't played a team we couldn't beat."


  1. This is definitely a perfect piece of content! I’ve book-marked it and emailed this out to virtually all of my buddies simply because I know they are going to intrigued, thank you very much!

  2. +1. Seattle’s attendance is incredible, every opposing fan (and every GM and team owner) wishes they had that support.
    Envious Earthquake Fan

  3. Very true. He’s great in the run of play but his set pieces are almost always off-target.

    At least we know D-Ro can take penalties.

  4. I will be curious to see Rafa’s play during the World Cup, and compare it to the oh-so-smooth way he plays for RBNY. Does he show more passion for El Tri? I’m not asking for the hothead who cleated Tim Howard in the thigh, but at times he looks almost bored out there.

  5. The Best MLS Team In History(TM) just lost to Chivas? I love how all the RB fans want to coronate this team in April and May. How about maybe waiting until October or November when you’ve got the SS* or the Cup*?


    BTW did you have to give back one of your trophies with this loss? From the comments on here I was pretty sure you’d won 2 or 3 bits of silverware just for beating up on a middling DC team last month.

  6. Give the Goats credit, they took a page out of the Galaxy “playbook” and applied pressure to our midfield and made it more difficult to play through the center of the field. So they used the long ball more often to loosen them up. Mixed results to be sure…

    With the exception of a moment of brilliance on the long ball to Henry, Rafa looked lost out there. His service on dead ball situations was horrendous, and he, along with the rest of the defense was lousy.

    On the penalty, I thought Pearce should have been carded. I only saw it live and haven’t seen the replay yet, but red was in my mind at that moment, though I could be wrong.

  7. Sorry for bringing my 10 year old (who probably follows soccer more than you ) to the game on Saturday, it ruined your vision of who should be at a Sounders game.

    Glad you can enjoy your real support in NY.

    what a stupid post…..

  8. Worst defensive performance of the year, that’s for sure. Don’t want to make of it. They better get the next 6 points or we’re in for a mid-season meltdown come Gold Cup when we lose FIVE starters and Agudelo. Ugh. I also think Agudelo deserves a few start over Rogers. He needs more time to grow and the only way to do that is to play…and not 20 minutes at the end of the game with unfair pressure heaped on…

  9. If I had to guess, I would say it was Chivas missing both centerbacks that sucked them into that strayegy. Henry getting the goal from a long ball didn’t help change their minds otherwise.

    Red Bulls deserved to lose last night, but I’m not going to get carried away about one game. (this last bit isn’t directed at you, just a general comment on the game).

  10. There were a lot of empty seats last night and it shows that RBNY fans only show up when its perfect picnic weather. I am a season ticket holder and find this lack of support pathetic.

    The front office probably only cares a little as there are a lot of tickets sold, just not fannies in the seats.

  11. “Too pretty and too sloppy.” That’s how Backe described RBNY’s play. The defense looked half asleep. Sometimes I wish the central defense would show a bit of fire; Marquez, especially, looks like he floats through the game. And when did RBNY turn into an old-fashioned English club? So many balls over the top, and almost no linking through the middle.

  12. RBNY defense was appalling last night. Hard to tell from TV who was to blame for each goal but the unit as a whole was just terrible. Hopefully a one-off…

  13. Seriously. Now on the second goal, looks like Braun five-holed him. But c’mon, Bouna made an INCREDIBLE save on the first header. You really should correct this, Mike, b/c it makes you look like you have either a) no clue about soccer or b) an anti-Bouna bias.

  14. Easily one of the most ignorant comments I’ve seen on here.

    What exactly is “fake or contrived” about over 36,000 fans a game, every game? What’s fake is how fans of other teams pretend like they don’t want that same thing at their home games.

  15. the supporters section at RBA is always packed, and one of larger ones in MLS…. if you think random familys add to the game experience, thank you need to go back to a fake, contrived seattle match. NY support is real.

  16. Just returned from the game. RB looked a step short the whole game. The goats came out with a lot of energy, but RB should have performed better. As poor as they looked, they still had a chance to tie or win. No more mid-week friendlies!

    Taino looked a bit slow coming back from his injury. DeRo played ok, but he should have helped control the midfield, esp. in the first 15 minutes of the game. Rafa is not giving good service from free kicks or corners. I thought Rodgers did well, except for being called for offsides every time he touched the ball… Henry looked good, and Juan could have use better service. COYB!

  17. Luke Rodgers goal/90: .68
    Agudelo goal/90: .52.

    Since Rodgers has been starting, New York has scored 11 goals over 5 games. When Agudelo was starting, New York scored 2 goals over 3 games.

    Not exactly ridiculous that Rodgers is starting. Disappointing that Agudelo isn’t starting, but New York has been playing better since Rodgers started playing, particularly its offense. Agudelo will have to get better to force his inclusion.

  18. Embarrassing loss…The Red Bulls have no Home Field Advantage…This one looked awfully familiar to last year’s home loss to San Jose. The best MLS team in history and the fans dont even bother to show up.

    & when is De Ro going to show up? He should have dominated an awful Chivas midfield. Tainio didn’t do much either.

  19. Is there going to be a game all year that SBI doesn’t claim that the NYRB loss isn’t a result of their own cause?

  20. how was that condoul’s fault on the third goal

    he had to get on a full stretch for Moreno’s header barely saved it onto the post.

    but hey

    nice marking!

  21. That would be a resounding YES! He’s played out of position (cb) but has kept the integrity up in Jimmy Conrad’s absence. JB is always going to be a fan favorite but Pearce is worth his salary (even if means not signing Feilhaber).
    No time to celebrate. Galaxy game is next. Damn.

  22. Agreed. Don’t mind Rodgers. But I’m sick of seeing the most exciting American player of this genereation coming on as a last gasp desperatation player. He should start. And Ballouchy and Miller must never play again.


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