Well, our local team, the New York Red Bulls, have gone crashing out of the MLS playoffs even with the likes of Rafa Márquez and Theirry Henry on the roster. To be fair, Henry was injured and only came on in the last 5 minutes, when he mishit a ball lofted gently to his head whilst unmarked inside the six yard box. It would’ve tied the game. Henry would’ve been a hero, worth every penny. I couldn’t believe it. But first things first.
The Bulls were actually pretty fun to watch tonight. Sure they lack that killer last pass, and even if they made the right choice the person on the end of the ball usually stiffened up and turned it over. But there were some serious bright spots. Lindpere was solid as usual, and Dane Richards created some dangerous attacks up the right. Ballouchy in the center ran hot and cold. He’d get into good positions, but often waste the ball. And Tim Ream, left back and rookie born in the USofA, was also solid and has had a great first season. Potential USMNT call up for certain.
The real standout in the losing effort was 17 yr old Juan Agudelo. His movement wasn’t always the best, but he’s quick, has very good control, and plays patiently even right in front of net. He smashed a shot into the post at one point and was a general nuisance to San Jose throughout. By the way, it was his second ever game for the team. You can see he has the markings of a man set for European.
In other news: the ref was sub-par this evening. I’m not one to approve of whistling ticky tacky fouls, but players were barreling into each other, the ball nowhere near them, and the ref would let play continue without a blink. And John Harkes on the ESPN color commentary, sweet jesus what a mouth on that guy. He spent a good 10 minutes just venting about Márquez from a place of deep and long-standing resentment. The guy is like a drunk at the bar shooting off his mouth. Instead of providing well crafted, diplomatic insight into the good bad and ugly on the pitch, he’d rather rant about a tackle on Cobi Jones from a decade ago. He actually has some good things to say, but when you’re a paid sportscaster, it’s all about the delivery. (ps. we’re not paid, so we can be crap)