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.
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
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
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.: