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Tainio injury halts Red Bulls’ quick start in season-ending loss to Galaxy

Tainio (Getty Images)


CARSON, Calif. – The Western Conference final second leg between the Los Angeles Galaxy and New York Red Bulls certainly lived up to its much-anticipated hype. Aggression was high, tempers flared and drama unfolded after a quick start by the Red Bulls, but in the end, New York took the long plane ride home broken and defeated.

Luke Rodgers set the tone early on. Immediately after scoring a shock goal in the fourth minute, he was booked after taking down David Beckham right after the restart. The mercurial New York striker soon after turned 20,000 fans against him after smashing a ball that was clearly heading out of bounds into the stands. The jeers only fueled him even more.

"We had a great start. You can't ask for anything more," Rodgers said. "We needed a goal, we came here, we got the goal, we were on top and then we concede a goal on the set piece just before half time. Whenever a team scores before halftime it gives them a massive lift, and that's what killed us."

However, it's not as simple as Rodgers makes it out to be. Much of what derailed New York's early success surrounded a 16th-minute injury to central midfielder Teemu Tainio that forced him out of the match.

"It was a massive blow to lose Tainio that early in the game," said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. "He was definitely a key player without (Rafa) Marquez. He was involved in almost every buildup from the back four when he drops from his midfield position. He's the guy with the precise final passes in our attacking game. We lost both the attacking and defending."

Tainio suffered a right hamstring strain and was replaced by midseason acquisition Stephane Auvray. The injury forced Thierry Henry to pull back from his withdrawn striker position even more as the Red Bulls tried to fill the void of the Finnish player.

Plenty in the visitors' locker room credited Tainio's untimely exit as the turning point in the game.

"People probably give us a lot of credit for coming out and playing the first 20 minutes the way we did," said Dax MaCarty, who started alongside Tainio in place of the suspended Marquez. "They couldn't get the ball, and then unfortunately we lost Teemu and lost our rhythm."

The loss of Tainio, which forced the Red Bulls to play with two second-choice central midfielders, made New York adjust on the fly with high stakes on the line and negated much of the Red Bulls' advantage in the midfield considering that the Galaxy were forced to play without the suspended Juninho.  

"Certainly you never want to lose a player, especially in the middle of the park that early to an injury, but that being said, even with him in there the game started to be back and forth," McCarty said. "When he got taken out we had to figure things out how to play and keep our organization, but unfortunately the Galaxy took advantage of that in that little period when we were trying to figure out the new personnel."


  1. Rodgers was money for NY and MLS this season. RBNY lost their form when he went down. We need some characters.

    Nice addition to the league.

  2. Clearly Galaxy deserved to win the series, however, that doesn’t change the fact that it’s the whiniest team in MLS. How many times was Magee whining about a throw-in, foul, or any number of things?

  3. Or to put it another way, Tainio’s replacement absolutely sucked.

    Glad you mentioned Miller. That was so unprofessional. I’m going out on a limb, but things like that have to be a reflection of the entire team. Lack of discipline, lack of class, weak bench… can we put that down to poor leadership and just call it a day?

  4. I don’t like Rodgers by any means. He’s a total piece of shiit but he gives it his 100%, kinda of like a bull in a china shop…. sooner or later he’s gonna break something. He’ll shoot his mouth off to someone in NY and they’ll probably cap him arse.

  5. agree with all you say, but the takedown after the restar was indeed on Beckham; Magee came to his immediate defense tho 🙂

  6. Considering he struggled to hit a 24 foot goal on his 2nd half breakaway, I don’t think we can suggest he was expecting to hit her.

    Still, he is a complete loser and should be punished.

  7. No it wasn’t during play. It’s like someone deliberately throwing a bat or ball into the stands after striking out, huge difference.

  8. Rodgers did well this season, but he was really lucky last night. He could easily have been sent off and hurt his team in a critical game. His recklessness continued even after teammates like Henry and Lindpere tried to get him to calm down. If this were the regular season, I think he would have been shown a second yellow.

    As to Rodgers kicking the ball that just missed that lady — the replay shows him look up just before striking the ball. As a professional, he has the skill to kick a ball with great accuracy. Also, despite having watched the flight of the ball he kicked, he gave a “What? What did I do?” shoulder shrug like a guilty child. Had it been an accident, Rodgers could easily have made an apologestic gesture to the lady. As a result, I conclude that he was trying to drill that defenseless lady in the face. What a gigantic tool.

  9. Agreed thqt Rodgers was a disaster waiting to happen. But if constantly mouthing off were a bookable offense, Donovan would be permanently suspended.

  10. pretty sure the ball had gone out, or play had stopped, that’s why he was frustrated and slammed the ball.

    I think he should be fined for this anyway. A 60mph soccer ball slamming an unsuspecting lady in the face from 5 yards away would do serious damage.

  11. That tackle straight off the kickoff was on Magee, but the point stands.

    And even if the ref gave Rodgers a break, that later tackle on Magee at the touchline, around the 30th minute (?), was his third bookable offense.

    And that doesn’t even include the constant mouthing off.

  12. If the ball is in play he can kick it out of bounds as hard as he wants. If it hits her in the face it’t too bad but they can’t do anything about it. They shouldn’t have those table seats there anyway. No different than getting hit by a foul ball or a puck.

  13. Rodgers should have been out of the game after that tackle on Beckham and that smash into the stands. ESPN replays show a woman just ducking out of the way. It was clearly deliberate and malicious. He certainly would have been sued if he hit that young lady.

    Omar showed that he’s not ready for the USA first eleven but enough to challenge Ream and Orozco for call-ups. The times he looked bad were when Franklin was far up field, which was frequently.

    Klinsmann should drop Landon for the France game. He’s still not in top form. Why the long journey to sit?

  14. Ugh Good riddance to a crap season. If Rafa Marquez is back next year I might become a Cosmos fan! Seriously no team is better than a team with that crap punk on it!

  15. Yes, in theory he would sit the first two games next season.

    But, more likely than not (assuming someone in the NYRB organization has any brains), he will be playing elsewhere so he will never serve the suspension.

  16. Meh, soccer is a game of 10-15 minute stretches.

    No doubt Taino going off effected that stretch but it was so early on in the game, the RB’s had plenty of time to adjust.

    Perhaps the real “turning point” was RB’s mismanagement of their shallow bench and their faith a hothead moron like Marquez could be depended on. Those are my “turning points” that directly effected this game.

  17. agree. its frustrating.

    Soler was a norway international, so he has the football background, not sure on the management side. But yes, it’s so poorly mis-managed.

  18. Couldn’t he have tried to tough it out a little bit? They seemed to pull him very quickly, and he didnt seem to be in all that much pain. Beckham meanwhile could barely stand up but he stuck it out and contributed.

    I wonder if rogers realizes he was inches away from smashing that ball into that woman’s face, and potentially changing her life for the near future, all because he is a hothead and had to slam the ball out of bounds. Hopefully he apologized to her. he should have been sent off for a 2nd yellow.

  19. Lack of organization and focus for RBNY causes first goal. Another set piece goal, really?

    Lack of discipline. Another stupid foul… in the box no less causes second goal.

    These are the same problems that have been plaguing RBNY all year. A team with no organization and no discipline is typically poorly coached. These are 2 of the few areas a manager can directly influence.

    Backe is in a bad situation with prima donna players, but he hasn’t gotten a handle on these problems at all. Soler has been equally awful. The Marquez move was a disaster and trading DeRo for Dax is a joke. RBNY needs to clean house. I hate to call for anyone’s job, but these guys have been bad. Soler doesn’t even come from a football background does he?

  20. Exactly. Tainio has been the engine for the team this whole season and that showed when he had to come off last night. Him and Dax controlled LA in the beginning and did very well. Credit to the Galaxy, they showed they were the best team in the league after Tainio came off. Had he not come off, it would have been a much different game, don’t know that the result had been different, but would have been a much better game for the Red Bulls. Oh, and Miller is a complete idiot, he’s terrible.


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