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Cahill equalizer earns Red Bulls crucial point against Sounders


Photo by Jane Gersovich/Soccer By Ives


SEATTLE – The match wasn’t much prettier than the weather, but even without Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave the New York Red Bulls escaped Seattle with a vital 1-1 draw on Sunday night.

The point from the tie allowed the Red Bulls (15-9-7, 52 points) to reclaim sole possession of the league’s best record with just three games left on their schedule.

“I’m extremely proud of my guys,” said Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke. “Not only to get a result here, but to play very good [soccer] and to put pressure all over a phenomenal team like Seattle.”

The Sounders (15-8-6, 51 points) and Real Salt Lake (15-10-6, 51 points) trail New York by just a point. Seattle has two games in hand on both the Red Bulls and RSL.

With his teaming trailing 1-0 in the 76th minute amid heavy rain and strong winds, Tim Cahill stepped into a loose ball in the penalty area and buried a one-touch equalizer past goalkeeper Michael Gspurning.

It was Cahill’s ninth goal of the year, and just the fifth goal the Sounders have allowed in the last 30 minutes all season.

“My whole career,” said Cahill, “I’ve looked to try to make the difference in front of big crowds and the best teams in the leagues—everywhere I’ve played—and tonight that was it. It was pretty special, but not for me, for my team. Because we had a lot of players step in due to other circumstances and this is what it means to be a team.”

An 86th-minute free kick from the edge of the arc ended up being Seattle’s best chance to regain the lead, but late substitute Adam Moffat drove it harmlessly into the Red Bulls’ wall.

Brad Evans opened the scoring in the 45th minute after referee Kevin Stott whistled defender Markus Holgersson for a handball in the penalty area. Evans drove the ensuing penalty kick into the bottom-right corner of the net, beating goalkeeper Luis Robles for the 1-0 lead in front of 39,083 at CenturyLink Field.

Evans is now 7-for-7 on penalty kicks in his career—all since joining the Sounders before their inaugural season in 2009. But the 28-year-old midfielder was in no kind of self-congratulatory mood after the match.

“I didn’t think I had a good game by any means, maybe minus the goal,” Evans said. “From a personal standpoint, got to do better. Whatever it is I need to do to start connecting my passes a little bit better in the midfield and finding the forwards, I gotta do that.”

The match started slowly, but the Sounders—missing Clint Dempsey to a hamstring injury—built momentum throughout the first half and came close to opening the scoring on multiple occasions.

In the 38th minute, Eddie Johnson unleashed a shot from just 10 yards out, but Robles came up with a diving save to keep the match scoreless. In the 41st minute, Johnson found Obafemi Martins on a cross with Robles well out of position, but the Nigerian’s header sailed wide right.

Those were just two of several missed chances the Sounders would end up regretting.

New York outplayed Seattle in a sloppy second half, nearly equalizing twice before Cahill evened the score in his second game back from a knee injury.

In the 61st minute a Holgersson header off a free kick ricocheted off the frame’s left elbow. Barely a minute later Fabian Espindola—starting for the injured Bradley Wright-Phillips—sent a header off the right post.

“I know we can play better than we played tonight,” said Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid. “We still came out with a tie, so that’s something. We got a point. We still have some games in hand. But obviously when we play at home we’d like to win.”

For the Red Bulls, the result was perhaps especially gratifying after taking some criticism during the week for leaving Henry and Olave in New York out of concern the CenturyLink FieldTurf might aggravate nagging injuries.

“I think a lot of emphasis [was] put on who we didn’t have [rather] than on who we did have play tonight,” said Petke, “and I thought that was a discredit to a lot of the guys. We knew [Henry and Olave] weren’t going to travel early in the week so it was out of our mind. That was the focus for these guys. I have faith in these guys and they have faith in each other to come in and get a result, and they did that.”

Both teams are back in action Saturday. The Sounders travel to Colorado to play the Rapids (12-9-9, 45 points), while New York hosts the New England Revolution (11-11-8, 41 points).

Here are the match highlights:


  1. Red Bulls should have won that one, I think the middies are more comfortable without Henry but in a way the forwards weren’t as aggressive. Either way, that was the final team we hadn’t faced and I feel good versus anyone in the league in the playoffs now.

  2. The legend of Tim Cahill continues to grow. He was absolutely everywhere last night.

    Silly, silly handball by Holgersson, who seems to concede a PK about once a month. His left hand was out far enough to warrant the call. He has to be more careful there.

    Espindola looks so slow and awkward sometimes. Too often he kills the ball movement and then turns the ball over. And his right foot has offically entered the witness protection program.

  3. Seattle was a bit disappointing in the second half, something clearly isnt fully clicking for them in the attack yet. They were lucky that RBNY didn’t get a goal earlier than the one they did

  4. In other unreported MLS news — The hottest team currently in MLS, the Columbus Crew, took 3 more points on the road. Creeping their way into the playoff picture.

  5. Good result especially given the guys who chose not to play. Probably not enough for the shield but if RBNY take care of business, maybe Seattle will drop a few points since they have a fairly tough finish to the season.

  6. that turf is laugh out loud bad . . . especially in the rain.

    when the list is formed for things that need to happend for the “MLS to be taken serious internationally”, the turf situations should be at the top. This isn’t scandanavia, and we dont even play through the winter. That turf will take years off Clint Dempsey’s career.

    • Seattle is a top chef blessed with the best receipe, the freshest ingredients, a great location, plently of tabletops, and a great atmosphere, who then uses a 5 dollar pans that makes the ingredients go bad faster and dinner taste funny. So close, and yet so far.

      • Because the five-dollar pans are the only ones that the people who own the restaurant let them use. Sounders need to get their own restaurant, er, stadium, or else they’ll continue to have to play lowest-common-denominator with the playing surface.

    • You do know this game would have been even worse on a grass surface right? There was a college football game there Saturday night in the rain that would have torn the field up. Then the Sounders game would have had to have been played on a torn up and rain soaked field before the game even got going.

  7. Tim is a great guy. His attitude is pure class and I wish Henry can take a page out of Tim’s book on how to be a Man and Professional. As for the RBNY, great result. I do think RBNY was the better team yesterday and were unlucky to not come out with the 3 points but considering the circumstances, a draw is still a great result.

    Lets go RBNY!!!

    • Couldn’t agree more about the class of Tim Cahill. He gives 100% every time he’s on the field. Henry plays hard when he feels like it. Cahill should be the permanent captain.

  8. I think the Red Bulls really needed a win tonight. While the Sounders schedule is a little more challenging, they also have two games in hand. Plus, RSL, Portland, SKC and LAG are still in the hunt.

  9. It’s a shocking result when you consider that Seattle invented soccer, not to mention fan culture, coffee, rain and the universe itself.

      • Not sure where some of you learned to how run and move, but hands in and near the body when running and moving is anything but natural.

      • Actually, arms should be close to the body when running and not flapping like a bird. Yes you pump the arms, but close to your body otherwise you waste energy (been running for nearly 15 years and am doing my 8th marathon this weekend)

      • If you are running in a straight line and not stopping or turning, sure. It’s pretty normal when you are running and turning and leaning and stopping for the arms to splay about but in the current refereeing climate, you have to make a cnscious effort to tuck them in. There is no question in my mind that MH was not intentionally trying to put his arms in a position to hit the ball but that’s the way they are calling things now and he has to be more careful.

  10. Don’t look now Sounders, but those two games in hands will catch up to you just like it will for Montreal. Sounder’s games are much more difficult than the one’s NY has.

    • ON the other hand of the games left puzzle is Colorado, who played more games earlier in the year than anyone and now have had two weekends off in the last month or so. Should be a bit better rested for the stretch run and yet they now look almost assured of a playoff spot since Vancouver and FC Dallas have both stumbled lately.

  11. It was very wet.

    Disappointing second half from Seattle considering the lineup that was out there. None of the forwards were sharp in front of goal. This was a great chance to jump to the top of the league, even though they still have games in hand.

    Henry’s a big baby for not playing. Rosales is about his age, and he runs all over that turf.

      • Stop interjecting logic in this discussion. Ofcourse Arsenals highest scorer ever, World Cup winner, FIFA player of the year nominee, isnt comparable to that other guy.

        Its not like hes so passionate hes getting into fighting with his coach, scoring goals setting up assists getting the New York skyline tattooed on his arm or anything. Hes just in New York for a check. Not like Arsenal would have taken him back or anything…

      • I can’t tell where your sarcasm begins and where it ends. You need to change fonts or something. TH is an a$$ but he definitely is not just in it for a check. He is pa$$ionate and generally busts it pretty good when he’s not sulking or simulating. He takes losing and bad play really hard. That’s why he’s an all time great.

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