Top Stories

Red Bulls tie Rapids after first-half goal blitz



The rapid succession of goals between Colorado and New York looked more like a boxing match than a soccer game, as the teams went blow for blow scoring four first half goals in six minutes. The blitz started with a Jeff Larentowicz penalty and concluded with a Luke Rodgers class finish. Those six minutes contained all the scoring in the match as Colorado and New York ended in a 2-2 tie.

Luke Rodgers capped off the first-half slugfest with a flick just over the reach of Rapids keeper Matt Pickens. Roy Miller chipped a ball at the corner of the penalty area and Rodgers outran Marvell Wynne to get a touch in front of the oncoming Pickens.

"Just lifed it over him [Matt Pickens]," said Rodgers. "Just a striker's goal, but I was pleased to have scored that. And then I thought we were going to go on and win the game, but sometimes these things don't happen."

Added Pickens: "We met the ball at the exact same time. I figured the only way he's going to score is if he flicks it over me on the run. And I didn't think he'd be able to do that, so I just threw my body low. He had a good finish, I even told him during the game that it was a good finish and he agreed."

Larentowicz opened the scoring in the 27th minute from the spot. Red Bull's keeper Greg Sutton stopped the initial penalty, but the ball popped right back to Larentowicz, who easily scored the wide open rebound. Andre Akpan earned the PK for Colorado when Roy Miller pushed the Rapids' forward out of the way of a incoming cross just outside the penalty box. Both players fell into the area and referee Jorge Gonzalez pointed to the spot. The foul looked like it was in the box to the naked eye, but after the benefit of replay, it was clear Miller committed the push just outside.

"I thought it's [the penalty kick call] a little bit of a cheap one," said New York defender Jan Gunnar Solli. "I think he dropped down real easy and there is probably contact, but that doesn't mean he has to drop down inside the eighteen yard line. If the referee was a little bit unsure, he should've given the foul outside."

"I do not know if it was a penalty or not," said Thierry Henry. "I have to see the replay. But we keep on conceding cheap goals. We cannot afford that."

The Red Bulls answered quickly, just two minutes later, thanks to a cool Henry one-time finish. Joel Lindpere found Dwyane De Rosario streaking down the left wing and the Canadian International found Henry trailing the play at the top of the box.

Defending on set pieces was in question again for New York on Colorado's second goal in the 32nd minute. After an Henry foul 25 yards from goal, Colorado lined three guys up behind the ball. Pablo Mastroeni touched the ball right and Larentowicz snuck from behind the trio of Rapids players to hit a low driving shot. Sutton never saw it as the ball streaked under the New York wall into left corner of the goal to give Larentowicz his brace.

"I think they surprised us a little bit by pushing the ball in other direction," said Solli. "It's not usual that you push the ball to the left [Solli's left] and then a right footer shoots. And it goes between the legs of one our guys."

Solli continued: "When we are struggling a little bit, it's typical to let in those type of goals. Now, I feel like we need to try to clear our minds, it's going to be a tough period of games now."

Added Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe: "We have defended very well. There have been some strange goals, mostly from wide free kicks against us. When you have a wall and it goes through the wall, you can say of course that it's a little bit sloppy, but overall I think when you look at corners and wide free kicks against us it was okay. I think there's not too much for me to talk about."

Despite the assuredness of Backe, set piece defending has become a big problem for the Red Bulls of late. New York has given up four set piece goals and two penalties in the last four games, which resulted in three ties and a loss.

Colorado might've scored two fluky goals, but they came close a number of other times in a well played match. Sanna Nyassi hit woodwork in the 42nd minute on a rocket from 25 yards out that had Greg Sutton beat. 

Colorado looked like the more dangerous side in the second half and looked to have clinched the win off the foot of Conor Casey, but Tim Ream saved the day for New York in the 77th minute. Casey hit a low shot off a clever Joseph Nane through ball. Sutton got a piece of the shot, but the ball slipped through towards goal. Ream cleared it with a backheel flick inside the six yard box.

"I think we did have the better chances," said Rapids defender Drew Moor. "To be fair, I think we did outplay them. We will walk away with out heads held high, but without a doubt there is that slight disappointment that we felt we could have gotten the full three points by creating some chances here in the second half. But, it's a quick turnaround and that's always a good thing."

The Rapids and the Red Bulls have only a few days of rest with both playing Saturday. The Rapids host Sporting KC and the Red Bulls travel to Vancouver. This will be the last game that the Red Bulls will have the services of Tim Ream, Dwyane De Rosario and Juan Agudelo for over a month because of the Gold Cup. New York were already without Dane Richards and Rafa Marquez for the CONCACAF bi-annual tournament. The Rapids will only be without one player for the Gold Cup, their leading scorer from last year, Omar Cummings.


  1. Unfortunately, with Richards at the Gold Cup, and Nielsen not yet ready, we’re probably going to be seeing a lot of Ballouchy in the midfield in June. Is anybody else on the roster ready to step in? Can Solli move up to RM (where he has plenty of experience, and where he spends a lot of time overlapping anyway), if and when Albright is ready?

  2. I agree on the PK, I also have seats right down the line from the 18, and I wasn’t even sure it was a foul, and it certainly wasn’t a PK. But those are the breaks. The other goal was ridiculous. How they allowed that goal to be score is beyond me.

    And Sutton really showed off why he has started a couple games while also demonstrating why Toronto let him go. The PK save and a few reaction saves were amazing. But he almost cost the team the game at the end when he came out for a ball he had no business going for, and he didn’t even move on the set piece. He was also caught napping when Nyassi drilled one that went off the cross bar, though credit to Nyassi for hitting it well. I think I’d rather have Bouna out there with all his faults than Sutton.

  3. Get Wilson Palacios as 3rd DP and you’ll win the cup, plus you’ll fill the stadium (75k Hondurans in NY area).

  4. Rapids defender Drew Moore’s comments are amusing. The Rapids most certainly did not outplay the Red Bulls, particularly in the first half. Aside from the questionable PK and the (as usual) poorly defended free kick, Red Bulls had more possession and two nice goals in the first half. However, I do agree that once again, they fell asleep in the 2nd half. Why does this keep happening? Backe needs to figure that out along with getting the Red Bulls to play better defense on set pieces. Things are still not fully clicking.

  5. The first half was electric and promised a lot for the second half. Unfortunately, the second did not deliver. From where I sat (in line with the edge of the box), the Colorado player went down easily on the edge and into the area. The PK was a gift. Mendes did a decent job replacing Rafa. It was unfortunate that RB resorted to crosses and long balls in the second half, bringing an end to any nice spell of possession.

    To me, Backe needs to start with substitutions well before the 80-85th minute; the subs (or sub) does not get enough time to get into the flow of the game. It seems that TH and his knee could have used the early exit. Tonight, the offense could have used some energy off the bench to seal the deal. Some of our young guns could have helped off the bench.

  6. Hmmm… just had a deja-vu, Jim

    Do you keep your little paragraph in a Word clipboard to quickly copy and paste into a comments section pertaining to the red bulls? Real productive and WOW i’m so impressed by your perfect punctuation – must have taken you hours….

  7. Hilarious to see non-NY fans say that crap and then see different non-NY fans tear it down. I don’t know a single NY fan who considered anything a done deal. Yayy let’s extrapolate one or two internet comments to an entire MLS fanbase.

  8. Wait, NYRB are still playing? Based on the comments here after beating DC last month, I was pretty sure they’d won the MLS Cup and Supporters’ Shield. And the other week another commenter christened them The Greatest MLS Team Ever. I’m all confused. You mean they don’t award trophies in April and May?

  9. Mac Kandji is arguably still a gain in exchange for Ballouchy, despite not having played since his brief appearance in the MLS Cup final.

    It’s also worth noting that this admittedly “weak and very short-handed rapids team playing away from home” is actually 1-0-3 in that situation, recently, a respectable run even if that description didn’t apply.

  10. Didnt see the game but I hear Fabregas and Van Persie were at the game today. Nice to see players like them at mls games.

    Complaints about ballouchy don’t surprise me. Can’t believe he’s wearing #10.

  11. It’s OK to chill, but it’s also OK to scrutinize management and its personnel decisions and effectiveness on the field. After all us Metro fans have been through (and money spent), it is sad that a potential advantage due to an expansion team’s game cancellation is the focus of discussion here…

  12. Opportunity knocks: Vancouver has to replay its match against Toronto tomorrow because of the rain. That means that Vancouver will have played on the 25th and 26th, then travel back to Vancouver on the 27th and play NY on the 28th in the early afternoon. Vancouver is screwed, and NY needs to capitalize.

  13. Everyone needs to chill. The race for the shield is not over. However, I do agree that Red Bull is not as dominant as it should be. They play the wings WAY too much. The middle of the field is ignored. There’s so many times during a game when I want a player to turn with the ball and run toward goal, but instead they pass it backwards or play the wings. Predictable. As I’ve said before, they’ve made a fetish of possession soccer, and to their own detriment.

    P.S. Henry is on fire.

  14. Agree that there are serious issues – don’t want to overreact, but this was a weak and very short-handed rapids team playing away from home, and they created an open game, held the midfield, and crushed us on shots and shots on goal. Only explanation is poor red bull chemistry and mindset. My heart dropped when I heard Backe spend his post game interview complaining about the “unfair” penalty. Are you kidding? He has a lot more to worry about, and should be focused elsewhere. Maybe we are missing Richie Williams and Des on that bench and training more than we realized. We also could have used some young, spirited talent like Tchani, Khandji and Agudelo on the field tonight, if they hadn’t been shipped off by Backe. Oops, forgot the last guy is still on the squad. We need to bounce back hard.

  15. just watched the highlights. the rodgers goal was really nice–great finish by him. suttton is not the answer in goal. red bulls need to get a few wins in a row they will be back on track.

  16. How can hans keep agudelo in the bench for so long. -_-.
    2nd half we bearly attacked we need something dfferentt. Agudelo could have changed the gamee.

  17. Ballouchy is turning out to be a major bust here in NY. He has some flashes, but he’s constantly giving the ball away and stunting the offense. I can’t believe I’m saying it but, it seems like they really missed dane richards tonight. I thought Mendes played well, encouraging to see with the gold cup looming.

    As much as I don’t like him, Rodgers is proving to be a nice pick up. He seems to put himself in the right positions to finish and he’s been teaming well with Henry so far.

  18. The Red Bulls have some serious issues if they claim to be in the hunt for the MLS Cup this year. They aren’t showing themselves to have the tenacity to be a championship team. It takes being down a goal for the club to play as hard as it should be playing in the first place.

    Ballouchy is just unfortunate. He has a bad touch on the ball and is often being stripped or being forced to pass backwards because he hasn’t had a good first touch or can’t bear the pressure – and, when he passes backwards during an offensive buildup, it gives opposing clubs a chance to settle in and get organized.

    Hans Backe is too reluctant to sub. Thierry Henry was hobbling for almost thirty minutes. Agudelo was given less than ten minutes to do something.

    And, Backe ignored fast, intense, and powerful players like Herzog, who has a good shot and has shown himself to be hungry in prior appearances in pre- and regular season.

    Then, there’s the issue of the offensive buildup. DeRosario isn’t dictating the midfield because the defenders are passing up the wings or sending balls over the top.

    Anyone who questions DeRosario only has to look back to Ballouchy being our midfield option. It was much worse.


Leave a Comment