Three takeaways from New York-New England

By Paul Kennedy

The New England Revolution made it three wins in three playoff games with a 2-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday at sold-out Red Bull Arena. In a game marred by 10 yellow cards -- the second most in MLS playoff history -- the Revs took a giant step toward their fifth MLS Cup appearance with two more brilliant goals. For a look at the match.

1. New England does it on the road again.

Just like they did in the first leg of the conference semifinals against the Columbus, the Revs -- 11-1-1 in their last 13 games -- went into Red Bull Arena, where they had never won since its opening, and came away with a road victory thanks their willingness to take the game to their hosts and punish them with brutal efficiency.

The Revs' secret is simple: soak up the pressure and then put away the game on the counterattack. The 4-2 win over the Crew three weeks ago in Columbus might have been different if Justin Meram had not hit the crossbar early in the first half. New England again got some luck at New York as Bradley Wright-Phillips and Lloyd Sam missed open chances to put the Red Bulls ahead before and after the break.

If they hold on to win the series that returns to Foxboro next Saturday, the Revs will need to win on the road for a third time if they are to finally capture their first MLS Cup title. Seattle or the LA Galaxy is assured of hosting the final on Dec. 7.

2. Revs set standard for golazos.

That Revolution's efficiency requires some great shot-making, and it is setting the standard in that regard. The four goals against the Crew in Columbus were all fantastic, and the Revs scored two more brilliant goals against New York.

Teal Bunbury took advantage of the inexperience of Ambroise Oyongo, subbing for the suspended Roy Miller at left back, and got just enough space to tee up a perfectly flighted bending ball with his left foot into the far corner of the goal in the 17th minute. The winner came with six minutes to play when Chris Tierney, Lee Nguyen and Bunbury combined to feed Jermaine Jones -- seemingly everywhere in the latter stages of the match -- wide open on the doorstep.

Nguyen's streak of six straight games with at least one goal ended, but he once again showed why he is the heir apparent to Landon Donovan as the premier American game-breaker in the open field. Donovan would be smiling after watching Nguyen split apart the Red Bulls' defense with the ball he fed Bunbury on the right wing.

3. Well, Petke needs Cahill now.

Allen Chapman handed out 10 yellow cards -- one every six minutes from the 23rd to 83rd minute -- none more critical than the one he gave to Wright-Phillips for encroachment in the 60th minute.

Four players came into the game with one yellow card, but Wright-Phillips was the only one to face the wrath of Chapman, putting him out of the second leg in Foxboro. (The slate will be wiped clean for MLS Cup.)

Wright-Phillips' suspension means that Red Bulls coach Mike Petke will surely have to turn to Tim Cahill -- whom he benched late in the season -- for the second leg. (If you were wondering, Thierry Henry, who has refused to play on the Gillette Stadium turf throughout his MLS career, says he will play in the second leg.)

TRIVIA. Only the Houston-FC Dallas playoff game in 2007 had more yellow cards -- 11 -- but five came in overtime when Houston prevailed 4-1 to advance to the conference finals with a 4-2 aggregate win.

Nov. 23 in Harrison, N.J.
New York 1 New England 2.
Goals: Wright-Phillips 27; Bunbury (Jones) 17, Jones (Bunbury, Nguyen) 86.
New York -- Robles; Eckersley, Olave, Sekagya, Oyongo;  McCarty, Alexander (Cahill 76); Sam, Luyindula, Henry; Wright-Phillips.
New England --
Shuttleworth; Farrell, Goncalves, Soares, Tierney; Caldwell, Jones; Bunbury, Nguyen (Dorman 94+), Rowe (Alston 62); Davies (Mullins 85).
Yellow Cards: New York -- Henry 37, Sekagya 43, Eckersley 60, Wright-Phillips 60, Alexander 63, Cahill 77; New England -- Soares 23, Jones 26, Caldwell 67, Nguyen 83.
Referee: Allen Chapman.
Att.: 25,000.
3 comments about "Three takeaways from New York-New England".
  1. James Madison, November 23, 2014 at 6:44 p.m.

    Bunbury's goal was a carbon copy of more than one bent by Preki with his left foot from the same spot on the field into the same upper left corner of the goal.

  2. Chester Grant, November 24, 2014 at 1:12 p.m.

    I thought that the second Rev goal was offside.
    That plus the stupid yellow on W-P in a game dominated by Red Bulls means that Cahill will be fired up and set to go. Aussie style. Winning style.

  3. beautiful game, November 24, 2014 at 5:44 p.m.

    With 4 minutes left in regulation, why push everyone up and get exposed to a counter? A precision pass by Nguyen gives the Revs an almost insurmountable advantage. Referee on the night, was mediocre at best. As for Burnbury, he couldn't repeat that goal in 100 tries. As for Sam, he hardly takes advantage of a situation, always thinks twice to react.

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