This was a proverbial 'find a way to win' game. The New York Red Bulls pulled out a scrappy 2-1 win despite playing the last third of the game a man down and never really threatening Donovan Ricketts' goal for extended periods...but a win is most definitely a win, and the Red Bulls have now won FIVE games in a row for the first time since 2003. If you're not deliriously happy, what is wrong with you?
The Red Bulls set up with a 4-5-1 again, a regular approach of late for Hans Backe in away games. They failed to make their numerical advantage in midfield count for much, and Victor Pálsson's defensive role was limited by the booking he took for a nasty tackle early in the first half. Yet again, the New York midfield didn't protect the backline enough (I'm going to keep saying this until it changes).
It was, for the most part, a fairly dull regular season game -- complete with a healthy dose of atrocious refereeing. Neither of the penalties awarded in the first half were particularly convincing, and the penalty given to Montreal was particularly ridiculous. Mr. Elfath gave a spot-kick for a handball by Markus Holgersson, who was facing away from the ball when it hit his hand. It was one of the worst refereeing decisions in a league full of terrible officials. Victor Pálsson was sent off in the second half, but this was his fault for committing a series of stupid fouls.
The Red Bulls bounced back pretty well from going a goal down, and took the few chances they did create. Cooper smashed New York's penalty to level the scores late in the first half, and Dane Richards drilled home from inside the box to give the Red Bulls a lead midway through the second half.
Montreal didn't put New York under sustained pressure until the final few minutes, and Ryan Meara was, yet again, up to the task of saving just about everything shot towards him. There wasn't much brilliance in the win, although the Red Bulls got good performances from Richards, Cooper, Dax McCarty, and the defense. Next up is a home match against Chivas USA before a three-and-a-half-week break.
Selected Stats (NY - MTL)
Possession: 40% - 60%
Passing Accuracy: 68% - 81%
Total Passes: 302 - 471
Corners: 3 - 5
Open Play Crosses: 12 - 22
Fouls: 15 - 8
Shots (On Goal): 12(4) - 20(6)