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Cahill’s late goal saves Red Bulls in wild draw with ten-man Revolution

JohnnySteeleNewYorkRedBulls1-NewEnglandRevolutionOct2013 (USATodaySports)


Trailing by a goal with likely only seconds remaining, New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill stepped up to score a goal in dramatic fashion.

On a free kick sent in by Johnny Steele in 90th minute stoppage time, Cahill peeled off his marker and sent a looping header in for the game-tying goal, sending the sellout crowd of 25,219 at Red Bull Arena to their feet.The goal gave the Red Bulls a 2-2 draw with the Revolution on Saturday evening and clinched head coach Mike Petke’s squad a place in the 2013 MLS playoffs.

“I’m proud of my guys,” Petke said to reporters following the match. “We showed character again to come back, even though I think too many times we’ve put ourselves in that situation to have to come back.”

Coming off a workmanlike performance last Sunday against the Seattle Sounders, Espindola picked up right where he left off in the 14th minute. Taking advantage of an errant pass from Revolution midfielder Scott Caldwell, Espindola dribbled past one defender and scored a rare goal with his right foot to put the Red Bulls ahead.

From that moment on it, the Red Bulls dominated the rest of the half, using a patient attack to open up chances for Thierry Henry and Espindola while Revolution attackers Agudelo, Lee Nguyen, and Diego Fagundez hardly had anywhere to move to receive a pass.

“I thought we were brilliant at times in the first half, but we knew that (the Revolution) were going to have a go, because they needed to win,” Henry said. “I thought in the second half we were a bit more passive and they took their chances.”

In the second half, the Revolution, still batting for a playoff spot as the season winds down, came out with more energy and intensity, and began to cause some problems to the Red Bulls backline.

Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles came up huge for the hosts in the 62nd minute, when he stoned Revolution forward Saer Sene from close range to keep a clean sheet. Sene was played through after a wonderful sequence of passes between Nguyen and Agudelo sliced up the Red Bulls defense.

The match took a controversial turn towards the visitors in the 84th minute when Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave was whistled for a handball in the box, though video evidence suggested afterwards that the ball cannoned off his upper torso. Nguyen stepped up to the spot one minute later and scored into the corner, just beyond the reach of a diving Robles.

“I tried to read it, I felt like I read it pretty well, I felt confident, and it just skipped away from me,” Robles said.

One minute later, the Revolution were handed a late blow as substitute Andy Dorman was shown a straight red card for a studs up tackle on Red Bulls winger Eric Alexander. Despite the advantage, it was the Revolution who would take a shock 2-1 lead as we entered stoppage time.

Red Bulls left back David Carney, for possibly the only time all game, played a pass that went straight to an opponent. The 18-year-old Fagundez picked up the mistake and ran through on goal, slotting home to stun and quiet the packed house.

“We knew we were down a man and we were looking for that win,” Fagundez said. “We pressured their backs and then the ball came loose and of course I just went for the one-on-one and finished it.”

With four minutes of stoppage time and some added following the goal, the Red Bulls created two chances to tie the game up in the final moments. Henry turned his defender and sent a low cross across the face of goal that no Red Bull could get on the end of, but with the last play of the match, Cahill wound up being the Red Bulls hero once again with another trademark header finish to the delight of the crowd and his team.

“In the end, the box was so crowded, I asked (Henry) for a block and then I asked Peguy (Luyindula) for a block,” Cahill said following the match As I ran in I backed off my run and the ball fell nicely.”

Added Cahill: “No one touched it, (it) hit the back of the net, and I was buzzing with that.”

The Red Bulls now have a well-timed break after another hard fought match all the way until the end. Petke’s squad have proven all season long that they’ve ground out results with late goals, as they have 18 goals in the 76th minute or later of matches this season.

“I think sometimes you just make your own luck, and the way the guys have been playing for the last six games has been incredible,” Robles said. “If we continue to work like that and improve some of our mistakes, I think we’re gonna be dangerous going into the playoffs.”

Here are the match highlights:


  1. The ref may have gotten the pk wrong (at least he didn’t compound it by tossed cards in), but everything else went the RB’s way. The soft red on Dorman (his feet are on the grass, minimal contact, soles down), lack of any call on Henry’s dirty/dangerous play (which was clearly an obvious attempt to trick his way to a pk), the no-call on Robles taking down Imbongo, forcing Farrell off in a critical moment, …

    But, the one that had me most incensed was right before Robles took down Imbongo, Holgerson, already on a yellow, grabs Imbongo from behind with both hands trying (and failing) to stop him from running into the area. That’s a yellow in *any* game in MLS. Regardless of the “play on”, next whistle that should be a 2nd yellow and ejection.

  2. We can all agree that the ref was horrid, the PK call was not correct (revs fan here) but that is just a bad call. The lack of a call on Henry on the shove is brutal, he gets away with murder. Where is the AR on that play? Can he not make a call/comment to the main ref on that?

  3. I’m a Revs fan, I’ll just say that out front. There’s a lot of things about this game that made me very upset.

    My team’s lack of hustle until the final 20 minutes – But you know, I can live with that if they produce in the end. Which they did. Refereeing – I don’t know. I thought the penalty call was a good one but, like I said, I’m biased. I’m also OK with the red card on Dorman. I don’t want studs up challenges like that in my league. And supposedly Robles fouled Imbongo in the final minutes too, I didn’t see that. Henry – I’ve been a big Henry fan for years! But shoot, I’m tired of his generally dipsh!tty attitude and that push on Farrell was obscene. Did y’all see Farrell’s face? Unbelievable. Henry should have been sent off for that. Oh yeah, and Imbongo’s coverage of Cahill on the final play. Come on. You don’t win games when you let a guy like that get that open on a corner kick.

    In the end that game was just such a roller coaster. Our playoff hopes are hanging on a string and it really looked like we pulled of some magic at the end there. Winning this game would have been great. The tie is *ok* but really upsetting considering we had that game locked up.

  4. I would like to see the replay of those counter attacks that just died at the feet of Espindola and Henry at the end. You have to take advantage of it or at least force a save.

  5. That ref was shockingly bad. Not only did he make bad calls both ways, but he let the pishing & shoving get out of hand. He had no control over the match.

    The level of play in MLS has improved greatly since 1996. The refs haven’t.

    • Why, oh why does this story never change? Where are the top-class referees that we need? This guy last night exuded the strength and authority of a wet rag. What does MLS/USSF do to improve and train officials? How about sending them “on loan” in the offseason to observe and learn from officials overseas?

  6. No horse in this race but I can’t see how that was a straight red. Heck I’m not even sure the Red Bulls should have gotten that last free kick.

    Also I’d really love for Fagundez to get his US citizenship in time for the next cycle.

  7. Both Carney and the ref should be sent to the bench. On the PK, it was clear the ref had no idea what he was doing. It was as if he said to himself, “We’ll, I blew the whistle, so there must have been a hand ball. So here goes . . .”

  8. Red Bull Arena was all over that ref last night. The place was seriously rockin. Our guys love playing here, it is a fortress.

  9. The ref was a joke. The PK call was just flat wrong and lets face it, that changed the game. Then, the ref knows he screwed up and gifts the Ref Bulls a red card. Hey, we’ll take it. Cahill once again bails us out. Perhaps a Barklage / Kimura line up on the flanks is better than with Carney.

    • First penalty call was flat wrong as you say. But there was also a clear penalty in stoppage time when Robles tackled Fagundez and came nowhere near the ball. A minute or two later NY scored. It should have been a yellow to Dorman, not red.

      And oh yeah, Henry caused Farrell to suffer a serious looking injury, whether it was intentional or not. Farrell was off the field toward the end, putting New England down to nine men.. And I don’t think there was even a foul called on that play. If anything NE got screwed by the ref, not NY.

      • I agree with impartial observer. The pk was weak. the red card was weak. things got worse from there. Henry’s push on Farrell was bush league at best, and not punished. It led to a serious injury and left the revs even further short handed. Also, not only should the Robles foul on imbongo have been a penalty, but it was already an advantage call on a shirt tug denying a one on one with the gk. it’s like the ref went on tilt and couldn’t get anything right. NE got screwed more, but a draw was a fair result. Crazy…

  10. Nearly blew a blood vessel watching david carney attempt to give new england the game…..the “handball” was ridiculous, but carney’s error was worse, second time in his 6 games his misplay lead to the other team scoring…..he clearly is not in top physical form….

    • Multiple times last night the red bulls were trying to be cute under pressure, passing the ball around in tight spaces in front of their own goal. Some times it is ok to boot the ball into touch, like maybe when you are in stoppage time? Atrocious.


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