Oct. 5, 2013: Red Bulls 2, Revolution 2
The first half ended with the feeling the Red Bulls should really be up by more. The second half ended with the notion the Red Bulls snatched points from the jaws of defeat.
But, really, the Red Bulls could have, and should have, won this game handily.
Fabian Espindola was the only player who converted their chance, swiping the ball from the Revolution defense and slotting it past Matt Reis. That was the only one that Reis would let by him for the next 83 minutes, stonewalling Thierry Henry on a few chances.
The rest of the Red Bulls' chances, any coming from counters due to the Revolution pouring players forward (they were playing for their season, after all), either fizzled or were all too easily saved.
After a horrific penalty call -- apparently Jamison Olave has a third arm, and it comes out of his neck -- that Lee Nguyen converted, Diego Fagundez made David Carney look silly, dispossessing the defender and beating Luis Robles early in stoppage time, seemingly putting the game out of reach.
But Tim Cahill came to the rescue once again, floating a perfectly weighted header over the Revolution defense and into the net.
That made the draw feel like a bit more of an accomplishment; the Red Bulls fought from behind, again, to get a point, again. They found a way to get points when it seemed well beyond them. In that way, it feels like a win, but you don't heap adjectives like "gutsy" and platitudes like "never say die" on a team that should've put the game away early.
It's also easy to blame the referees, but in truth, Fotis Bazakos made a few truly confusing decisions for both teams. The penalty was bad, which made the red card look like a give back. Then, telling Andrew Farrell to go back to the bench after he was cleared to go back on seemed strange, too. People are going to blame Bazakos' bad call on torpedoing the Red Bulls' Supporters' Shield chances, but really, it was just an awful, awful game on his part.
Speaking of the Shield, the Red Bulls sit at the top of the table, still, holding a single point lead over Real Salt Lake. Sporting Kansas City sits two points back with a game in hand, tied with the Seattle Sounders with an additional game in hand. The Portland Timbers have 50 points, with a game in hand.
But the draw does get the Red Bulls into the playoffs, so on that front, it's mission accomplished. But to win the Shield, and the first real trophy in team history, they'll need to win out and get some help.