On two days rest, and having to travel, the New York Red Bulls visited Sporting Kansas City for the first meeting between the 2013 MLS Cup & Supporter Shield winners. The visitors gave up an early goal but managed to pull one back after halftime for a 1-1 draw.
Tale of two halves
This game was truly a tale of two halves (cliche, I know) for the Red Bulls. They came out very conservative in the first half, showing weak legs from a very understandably 2 days of rest & travel. SKC, who had one extra day of rest and didn't have to travel, came out like a team on fire. They almost got a goal in the first few minutes, but then finally got one when Toni put away his first ever MLS goal. They got slightly better as the half went on, but SKC controlled the game.
When the second half started, it was a different story. Bradley Wright-Phillips scored in the 50th minute after walking the offside trap masterfully and receiving a great through ball from Thierry Henry. They continued to pressure the SKC back line getting multiple chances that took great effort by keeper Eric Kronberg. SKC made a push towards the end, but the Red Bulls were able to weather the storm.
Where was the card?
Midway through the second half, Sporting KC keeper Kronberg came out and handled the ball outside the box, thinking play had been stopped for an injury, when there was no whistle signifying a stoppage. The referee correctly awarded the Red Bulls a free kick from just outside the box, which Thierry Henry put into the SKC wall. However, where was the card for Kronberg? Keepers in the past have gotten a red for similar infractions, so why wasn't he punished? The Disciplinary Committee won't hand out any extra punishment on that, but he deserved a yellow at minimum and probably a red & 1 game suspension.
To sub or not to sub
Are we sure Hans Backe's spirit hasn't somehow taken over the body of Mike Petke? He's gone on a streak of not using all of his subs, or if he does, he uses them too late (seriously, Andre Akpan only in stoppage time?). This was a big issue under Backe, and something Petke didn't put us through last year. Why not use subs? Does he not trust the young guys? If so, why not do something about it and go find someone else? When this team really gets into the dog days of July & August, and the CONCACAF Champions League, the bench will be needed badly.
Bonus: First Englishman to score 11 goals in a MLS season
Coming into tonight's game, Bradley Wright-Phillips and Dom Dwyer were the first two Englishman to score 10 goals in a MLS season. After his goal in the 50th minute, BWP can rightfully claim to be the first to 11.