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Red Bulls rip Fire, roll to 2013 MLS Supporters Shield

Tim Cahill, Lloyd Sam, Dax McCarty, Jonny Steele, Thierry Henry

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On Sunday night, curses didn’t matter. Past failures didn’t matter. Nor did 18 mostly disappointing years matter. On this Sunday night, these New York Red Bulls were not going to lose.

On a night when previous Red Bulls teams may have wilted under the pressure of potentially winning their first major piece of silverware, this Red Bulls squad ignored club history and turned in a performance never before seen in the club’s history.

Thanks to four second-half goals and a wonder strike from Thierry Henry, the Red Bulls defeated the Chicago Fire, 5-2, on Sunday evening at Red Bull Arena in front of a sold-out crowd of 25,219. The win earned the Red Bulls first place in the Eastern Conference and the Supporters Shield title, the first major piece of silverware in club history.

The loss eliminated the Fire from playoff contention. They were tied on points and wins with the Montreal Impact, but the Impact advanced to the playoffs by having scored more goals.

The story of the night though was the Red Bulls, which exorcised their demons with a win that had fans, and head coach Mike Petke, in tears.

“This is a great moment in our franchise for the players, for the staff, for the supporters especially, it’s been a long time coming,” Petke said after the game. “These guys earned it, it doesn’t matter what’s written, it doesn’t matter how we played in certain moments, these guys gave me everything they had this year to end the season.”

Despite the final outcome, the Red Bulls couldn’t have asked for a worse start, and the goal came via two Fire players with connections to the club. New Jersey native Dilly Duka was given space outside the box in the 6th minute and ripped a long-range shot that caught Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles off-balance. Robles did his best to parry the shot but the ball was sent into the path of Mike Magee, who finished easily from close range to give the Fire an early lead. The goal was Magee’s 21st of the season, putting him in the clear lead for the MLS scoring title.

After trying to play through the flanks, the Red Bulls tied the match in the 25th minute with a simple chip down the middle. The finish however was anything but simple. Peguy Luyindula, playing a midfield role on Sunday, found Henry between the Fire defense with a chip pass. Henry chested the ball down and then on the half volley, unleashed a vicious strike that went in off the top of the crossbar, leaving Fire goalkeeper Sean Johnson helpless.

“That’s why he’s considered one of the greatest players to ever live,” Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty said. “It was a fantastic finish, one of the goals of the season for me. The skill it takes to pull off a goal like that is amazing and it sent us on our way.”

It was Henry’s 10th of the year and 41st in a Red Bulls uniform, tying him with Giovanni Savarese for second on the all-time Red Bulls/Metrostars scoring list.

Though the hosts contained the better of the chances in the rest of the half, the Red Bulls came out in the second half with a renewed sense of urgency that was absent through the early part of the match.

It only took the Red Bulls five minutes into the second half to reverse the scoreline. Off a free kick taken by Henry, Red Bulls defender Ibrahim Sekagya scored on a goalmouth scramble to put the Red Bulls ahead for good, with an assist from Tim Cahill on the play.

Six minutes later on a break set up by Luyindula, Lloyd Sam finished the game off with a beautiful curling strike after turning around his defender from the edge of the box to make it 3-1 Red Bulls.

“Peguy played it across, I took one touch and the (defender) was coming,” Sam said. “I knew if I faked to shoot he’s going to have to try and block it. That’s just a go-to move to me. So I chopped inside and I had a bit of space, and it went exactly where I wanted it to go. It’s just nice when it comes off like that and then you see it hit the back of the net.”

Red Bulls substitute Eric Alexander was set up from a similar position by Luyindula as he had acres of space to run into down the right win, firing past Johnson from a tight angle in the 77th minute. Red Bulls winger Johnny Steele put the icing on the cake with a close range first-time finish off an Henry cross in the 84th minute to make it a 5-1 lead for the hosts.

“I knew at that moment when we got to halftime that (the team) would come out sparked,” Petke said. “I didn’t know what would happen, but I knew they’d come out fired up. Perhaps that first 45 minutes was a way for them to get the (poor play) out of their system and the second half they came out blazing.”

In the final minutes of the match, Petke substituted both Cahill and Henry to boisterous ovations from the Red Bulls supporters.

“(A) great night,” Henry said. “I think it’s an amazing (moment) for this club. For the fans, I guess they have been waiting for a very long time for that. Me too, since I’ve been here.

“It’s a great night, I think we have to enjoy it and come back tomorrow, next week, and prepare for the playoffs.”

The Fire added a consolation prize in the 90th minute when Fire substitute and former Red Bull Joel Lindpere curled a corner kick that was headed home by fellow substitute Quincy Amarikwa.

“This is going to hurt for a while,” Magee said after the match. “It’s cool to score goals and all but you play the game to lift the trophy and to kind of come that close after so much work just to get ourselves back in a spot to have a chance at making the playoffs, to be honest is heartbreaking.”

While the Fire’s season is over, the Red Bulls begin preparations on Monday for their next match on Saturday or Sunday against either the Houston Dynamo or the Montreal Impact, who will play mid-week for the right to face the Red Bulls next.

Here are the game highlights:


  1. What a difference 1 goal makes over a course of the season. That wrongfully dissalowed goal in DC, by SKC changes the trophy winner. ehh….

  2. As a long suffering Metro/Red Bulls fan I am simply delighted and thrilled. More than ever I am pleased for Mike Petke as he has been the heart and soul of this franchise He taught his players to play with heart and leave everything out on the field. Much as he played when he was a local hero in his own right. That said he also brilliantly handled huge eggos and motivated this team to pull together and make it,. All season Mike had his players back and was not afraid to call it as he saw it good bad or ugly..that’s Mike so for that I salute you Mike and our Red Bulls Thank you. Now we have to regroup and finish the job with 5 more games.

    Coach K

  3. Klopas needs to be let go today!!! Slow start again. Has a lot of talent, chasing all season. Total crap!!!
    He needs to be fired today!!!

    • Nope. There is no match where this happens in MLS. Keep in mind that the Shield winner could still wind up being MLS Cup Champion as well. Both do get a direct placement in the CONCACAF Champions League group stage though.

    • Kyle- The MLS Cup winner has been the season champion since the beginning of MLS back in 1996. For the first three years the MLS Cup was the only piece of silverware. The Supporters Shield did not come about until 1999, when a group of supporters from Kansas City decided to award the best regular season team based on points total, hence the name Supporters Shield. They saw that the best team over the course of the season does not always get the MLS Cup so they wanted to recognise the best team over the course of the regular season. In the NFL you can go 16-0, but if you don’t win the Super Bowl you it doesn’t matter. Americans are used to playoffs and feel if you don’t win the game that matters your season doesn’t matter. Brutal, I know, but hems the brakes in America. Personally, I like that there are two major trophy’s. Ont thing to point out is there are two conferences, East and West because we havve a huge geographic country so the league does not have a truly balanced schedule, in that all teams play each other twice, home and away, so it can be argued that some teams win had an easier time winning the supporters shield. I feel it is still legit. Most teams have similar schedules, and even in the Premier league you can argue that som teams played team X when they were in form vs. not in form. However, it is still viewed as a major trophy and for several years now it has been officially recognized by the league. Winners of the US Open Cup, Supporters Shield, and BOTH teams that make MLS Cup finals earn spots in CONCACAF Champions League for the following season. Hope this helps.

      • You’re a little off in your info. I was involved (in a very minor way) in the creation of the Supporters’ Shield. Wiki’s wrong as well, so I guess there isn’t a lot of info available on it.
        The Shield was created on the Sam’s Army listserv, and I think the discussions began even before MLS started– probably as soon as they announced the playoff format of determining league champion. A bunch of people contributed to the idea, first that there should be any trophy at all, then that the trophy should be the “Supporters’ Scudetto” and then that the better name was the Supporters’ Shield. Wiki has it right that Sam Pierron was the one who organized the donation campaign to get an actual Shield made, and that Phil Schoen really got behind the idea as well. But while I believe Sam WAS in KC, both the idea of the Shield and the money to get it created came from people across the country.

  4. Hate to see the Red Bulls win a trophy finally but would love to see them win the CCL. It’s not like the LA only tries to win MLS Cups, er the LA “Galaxy” will pull it off.

  5. Luyindula was just sensational, he adds a dimension that not many teams have. He may not be able to hit the net with a shot, but that’s not what they need anyway. Guy can hold and turn like very few in the MLS, and his vision and touch for passing is superb. Really a revelation for them and what I think separates them from the pack at this point.

  6. I like them all, open cup, supporters shield, MLS cup BUT if u want teams to take supporters shield seriously, then give them something special like an extra DP spot or $$$$$$.
    If I was an MLS coach, I would want US open cup, MLS cup, then supporters shield. If u make the the top 3 spot conference playoffs, then u don’t need a supporters shield.
    MLS needs to give the winner a big big big prize, if not it’s pointless.
    That’s why, make west and east conference a single table system. If u are at top, then u win ur conference and have a direct semifinal for MLS cup. As for supporters shield, as the league reaches 24 teams or 26, it will make more sense for the pride of the long season.
    For example, once u reach 24 teams, go for single table in each conference. Top 6 teams make it n conference winner awaits at the semifinal but no two legged series, do it like nfl does it, simple as that. That would be amazing and epic for MLS Cup. Then have a super soccer cup, MLS vs NASL champion every year.

    • Remember why have playoffs to win your conference?!!!!!! Just have a single table to win your conference, west and east.
      Remember, top six make it and conference winner awaits at the semifinal but DO NOT have two legged series, make it like NFL has it (knock out games,oh yeah)
      With knock out games and single table for conference, teams will want to finish higher and play harder.
      By doing that, u help the conference winner and make the playoffs better, u don’t have people crying, u don’t have a thousand extra games like MLB,NHL, NBA to be champions. You also make us open cup an easier task to win but more interesting by opening more the chance to win it.
      Do it MLS, do it. As for supporters shield, it will get better once MLS hits 24 teams but give them a super juicy unique prize, like an extra DP spot or more $$$$$$$

    • I’m not going to claim that the Red Bulls are thrifty, but they didn’t even use their third DP slot. Their acquisitions since the end of last season are the kinds of players any team in MLS could have acquired. Steele, Alexander, Olave, Espindola, Kimura, Sam, Wright-Phillips. These are not expensive foreign toys. The Red Bulls didn’t just throw cash at their problems. They built a good team through smart decision making.

      • Agreed. They had a few expensive pieces with no supporting cast that gelled as a system, and a cancer in Marquez. Offloading Rafa, and picking up these guys, as well as hiring Petke made all the difference. Don’t forget that Petke wasnt the coach until like January if I recall. RB kept shopping around all offseason trying to get a good coach. I think they liked Petke, but didn’t trust that he could succeed as a first year coach with big personalities. He came in and exceeded eveyone’s expectations. I know Kreis has done amazing things this year considering it was supposed to be a rebuilding year for RSL, but if either Petke or Porter don’t get coach of the year I’ll blow a gasket. Both coaches have exceeded all expectations. Turned around failing organizations in their first seasons in MLS. Rookies leading the way.

      • ‘The Red Bulls didn’t just throw cash at their problems.’

        they most certainly did; it’s just that it worked this season.

        and to k-town: petke really shouldn’t get coach of the year unless they also win the mls cup. yes, he’s kept the team from imploding like usual, but with their talent, that’s basically the minimum right now.

        i think they’ll give it to him anyway, though. mls needed rbny to get a trophy.

      • I am so tired of hearing that “it’s the Red Bulls even if they win it doesn’t matter because HEY! they splashed the cash and spent to win a title.” They spent the cash on Henry and Cahill – any other team *cough Sounders* can spend on DPs, it’s entirely within the league rules. It’s not like you can just put Henry and Cahill on the field with 9 scrubs and win everything.

        In fact, what has made RBNY win this year is all the complementary players. Look at their starting 11 last night and their subs…most of that team wasn’t here last year and those guys could be picked up by ANY team in MLS – such as Sam, Steele, Peguy, Carney, BWP, etc…all within the salary cap.

        In fact, considering that Petke has NEVER coached before and had a short offseason, what he accomplished is remarkable. He was basically left with 2 DPs, Dax, and Robles and little else other than question marks and through acquisitions and putting people in the right place, won the Shield.

        Hell, look what he did with Peguy – couldn’t hit the side of a barn as a fwd and turned him into a midfielder who dished out 3 assists last night.

        It’s not $$$. It’s solid player acquisitions within the salary cap and excellent coaching that just won the shield.

      • don’t know who’s saying the trophy doesn’t matter, or doesn’t count, or whatever. i’m certainly not saying that, because you’re right–any other team could’ve gotten a sugar daddy to get them two of the best players in the history of the league (and one of the best players ever). isn’t it amazing how well mediocre players play when they’re alongside some of the best players in the world? (no, dempsey doesn’t count as that.)

        anyway, didn’t really mean anything by my original comment; just poking some fun at my rbny friends. 🙂

      • too funny a guy with the name Nate Dollars talking about throwing dollars around.

        They spent and brought in good players – cheap players and $$$$ players.

      • Back up your claim with some evidence. What acquisition has RB made since the end of last season that was an instance of just throwing cash at a problem?

      • why does it have to be since last season? i’m saying that they spent a massive amount of money to finally get a trophy. (and there’s nothing wrong with that, really. like i told acidburn, my op was just a little harmless troIIing.)

  7. Congrats to New York!

    Regardless if the media produces it to be the ultimate prize or not the SS is the prize valued most by the real fans and the players. Playoffs and Open Cup are great 5 or so games tournaments but nothing can be denied about being the best team over 34 games. Cant believe that it took them so long to finally get something!

    • Also, they are a team i certainly can trust in the CCL next year.. cautiously optimistic about the other team already in.. Hopefully we get two quality teams in playoff finals

      • The extra allocation money they get for going to CCL will help pay the supporting cast to ensure they stay deep and not reliant on just the stars.

  8. I’ve seen it all since 1998. This win was fan-friggin-tastic!!

    Utmost class to have Fernando Ruiz and his son raise the shield.

    NY/NJ done good! B-)

  9. Awesome job by the Fire. Really the owner is awesome, spends so much money on great players….ha such a joke of a franchise now. Goes to show spending money on great Euro players actually does work instead of trying to get cheap S. American talents and hoping they become the next Freddy Montero! Great game Red Bulls, hope either you LA or Seattle win it all this year.

  10. 1. Red Bulls is a failed because it has no “hardware.”
    2. Red Bulls win Supporter’s Shield.
    3. Supporters Shield no longer matters; no longer legal tender as “hardware” in bulletin-boards pißing matches.

    • No no no. Congratulations! That’s great! I’m glad the curse is broken, now the rivalry can get better as you are one closer to matching our 13. The closer the teams are, the better the rivalry. So congrats on your 1st! I’d just rather have the Open Cup…. With all the Olsen and D.C. bashing going on this year, at least we got that.

      • You’d “rather” win a competition where most MLS teams don’t even play first choice lineups until the semifinals at the earliest? I find that hard to believe. One playoff appearance in the last seven years and the worst record in the history of MLS this season. That’s ok – keep resting on those trophies won when the league was in its infancy.

      • ‘those trophies won when the league was in its infancy’

        dc’s last two supporters’ shields were won closer to today than the beginning of the league (’06, ’07), but don’t worry about it–most rbny fans didn’t even know their team existed back then.

  11. Now win MLS cup red bulls. The east is really week, u got skc and red bull and impact as the dark horse.
    The west is just crazy, but I see timbers vs impact in the final at pdx.

    • The supporters shield is how we should award the best team title.

      Yet, $$$$$$$. It’s how the 16-0 Patriots ended up not winning the “championship.” Does anyone really believe the 9-7 Giants were a better team? Ha. Not a chance.

      Americans are fascinated with a so called championship.

      • Hahaha, they were better on the night. You must be European if you are actually denouncing the Super Bowl! Haha!!

    • Don’t go impersonating me.

      It’s the US.

      There are playoffs.

      That’s the way it goes.

      I prefer the split season format , but this is MLS and that’s how it rolls.

    • See my above post about how it started. It was originally given by a group of supporters from KC. The fans and teams themselves decided it was important and made it prestigious. That in itself is pretty amazing. It wasn’t like there was a lot of money or anything going with it. It wasnt even officially recognized by the league at first, although it has been for several years now.

  12. that move to put the dread locks dude in midfield was Genius by the coaching staff .. he seemed to have lost his shoot boats as a striker and found his passing boats in the process. he was man of the match for me . refreshing to watch NY with someone who can actually keep the ball and make a decent pass .

  13. We need to start giving the Shield the respect it deserves. It is the best trophy an American soccer team can take home.

      • Not sure what to tell you if you think a Cup competition where MLS teams play their reserve squads and often lost to lower division teams is remotely close to being top of the table at the end of the first division season.

        But whatever floats your boat man. Winning the Open Cup is nice, but it’s not on the level of the Shield.

      • While thats true, as long as MLS plays through international breaks as much as they did this season, the Sheild isn’t really any more important.

    • A. Club Wrld Cup

      B. CONCACAF Champions League

      C. MLS Cup

      D. US Cup

      Are all examples of better trophies to win for an MLS team.

      • This makes no sense.

        Nobody says the FA Cup is as nice as the Shield in the EPL. Or anywhere else.

        You play to win the league. That’s the biggest prize.

      • That’s true. The Eastern Conference teams benefitted from each playing three matches against the worst MLS team ever (DC United 2013) while West teams only faced DC once.

      • No, I’d rather have the MLS Cup than the U.S. Cup, but I’d rather have the U.S. Cup than the Shield. Totally different. If Red Bulls win the MLS Cup, well, props to them. That’s a big deal. That would be winning the league.

      • Talk to any dc united fan. Pretty sure they would swap their us open cup for the red bulls supporters shield without hesitation. Us open cup is unfortunately only take seriously for one game, the final.

      • I feel the same way, although I can’t wait for the Open Cup to be more important. I really wish USSF would let someone else take over, promote it better, and give a better cash prize. Oh yeah, and put it on channel other than Gol TV

      • 1. No MLS team has even reached the club World Cup, so yea, sure.
        2. Yes this would be nice, but most casual fans don’t give a cap about it so, eh.
        3. Yes. Agreed.
        4. What? I’m going to assume your a Seattle fan, because no one else would say that. A tournament of reserves. Frickin dc united won this year man!!
        I know none of this will change your mind, your just a troll, but wanted to point out your ridiculousness.

    • Maybe one day the USOC will be a prestigious thing, but right now there is no way I take the USOC over the SS. You must be a DC fan.

    • You are crazy and obviously not a supporter..

      The best thropy available for the fans who go to every game..hence the name

      Playoffs and Open Cup are awesome runs but nothing compares to watching you team win more games than anyone else over 34 games.

  14. What a win! Did you see Cahill leap into Perke’s arms?? So cool! Even Henry and Petke hugged it out at the end. RB Arena was going nuts!

    • DC 2013 is the worst MLS team ever. Only three wins and 16 points in 34 matches (compared to Tampa Bay’s 14 points in 27, but Tampa won four and had .52 ppg to DC’s pitiful .47 ppg).

    • Considering petke had never been a head coach and was only handed the team at the last minute, that gives him the edge. It’s close tho IMO

      • It was a good season for Red Bulls North America. But Petke was handed a winning team with a huge salary – his assignment was ‘don’t F- it up’. His assignment wasn’t ‘go build us a winning club’. Both over achieved but only one climbed a mountain and the other ran up a hill without tripping on himself.

      • Considering it was Petke’s first time babysitting and he had mostly new children to look after that he had never seen before…

        Petke is the local kid from next door who you hire when no one else is available while Porter is the guy with a Masters in early education who runs his own daycare. Petke gets my vote.

  15. “New Jersey”! uh…”Energy drinks”! uh…”Pink Bulls”! uh…*head explodes*

    As much as I enjoy tweaking the haters, let’s agree: This is a very good-looking Red Bulls team. Proud of them.


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