While it’s old news that the Red Bulls drew against the Vancouver Whitecaps, what fans might have is that Saturday’s draw, in probably the greatest irony in MLS history, pulled even with the Chicago Fire for most draws in a season with 15.
An almost certain cause for celebration.
In the context of American sports a draw is an odd thing. The cliché goes “winning cures all.” Rarely does anyone criticize a team that’s winning. Conversely, losing creates tension. It’s when the fans start booing (or, in our case, protesting), the media starts speculating and the locker room gets testy. It stands to reason, then, that draws should result in some kind of apathetic shrugging and pushes some kind of strange neutrality.
But not when you’re a Red Bulls fan in 2011. In fact, over the last five months we in the South Ward have been schooled in the many varieties of draw. Let’s take a look at some, shall we?
The Benchmark Draw
Example: 1-1 at Los Angeles May 7
The match was a test and pulling out a draw is a positive. It certainly doesn’t feel like a win, but it’s not a meh-inducing exercise, either. Soccer pundits often call road draws “good results,” but this kind of draw is more than that, it’s an indication good things are on the way.
The “Oh my God, what the hell just happened” Draw
Example: 3-3 at Portland, June 19
Some guy got wacked upside the head. Somebody else played the ball in the box with their forearm. Another guy scored an own goal. Thanks to some bizarre occurrences and a whole lot of terrible refereeing leads to a result that doesn’t set in for a few days as you’re left reeling from the ridiculousness.
The “It sure feels like a loss” Draw
Example: 1-1 vs. Columbus, June 4
All it takes to secure three points is some holding on to a lead. During stoppage time, no less. It shouldn’t be that hard, right? You’re wrong, it is. And it’s going to be a long ride back to Midtown.
Just like when your team loses.
The “I don’t like it but I’ll take it” Draw
Example: 2-2 vs. Dallas, July 23
Go up a goal. Go down a goal. Get a red card. Tie the game. It’s not ideal, but you can’t ask for much more when you’re down a man and a goal against one of the hottest teams in the league. Plus, you could use the points, as it’s certainly better than leaving empty handed.
The “Are you freaking serious? We’re doing this again?” Draw
Examples: 2-2 vs. Chicago, August 13; 2-2 at New England, August 20; 1-1 vs. Vancouver, Sept. 10
At this point having the same number of goals as the other team after 90 minutes is no longer cause for any kind of optimism. The shrugging is long gone. Even those who try and cling to the “hey, at least we got one point” logic abandon it for some kind of muted intoxicated grumbling while listing back and forth at the Harrison PATH stop.
See? The draw is more than a blasé 90 minutes of complacency. Put them together in a string and it can be quite the roller coaster. Hell, it could be artistic, even.