The New York Red Bulls pulled off one of the most surprising results in the club's history on Saturday night as they managed to finish a match against the New England Revolution with the same number of goals as their opponent. Curiously, there was no overtime, extra time, or a penalty shootout -- surely this calls for some kind of inquiry, if there's not already a law against it.
New York's night of possibly illicit activity began with the news that top scorer and captain Thierry Henry would miss the game due to fear. Fear of injury due to playing football on FieldTurf, also known as "doing the job he gets paid $5.5 million a year to do." Dane Richards and Juan Agudelo were paired up top, while Mehdi Ballouchy reminded Hans Backe about those pictures from the '70s -- you know the ones -- and unsurprisingly got another start in midfield. Frank Rost's long-term quadriceps injury meant that track-and-field crossover Bouna Coundoul started in goal.
The Red Bulls decided just before the first half that they were far the superior side, so they would let New England go out and play the first half by themselves to make the match a fair contest. The Revs took advantage of the opportunity, as Milton Caraglio bagged a brace and New England took a 2-0 lead into the halftime break. The referee decided to further even out the game and help his friends in Asian betting syndicates by giving Dax McCarty a yellow card when Bobby Shuttleworth tripped the Red Bulls midfielder, who was clean through on goal in the penalty area.During the halftime break, the Red Bulls decided to play football for the second half (in contrast to the curling that they'd been playing for the first forty-five minutes) and their vast superiority quickly told, as Dane Richards ran onto a long pass by Tim Ream and fired in to halve New England's advantage. The referee, who had realized during the interval that he'd forgotten to wear his contacts, sent off Kenny Mansally shortly after, before sending Teemu Tainio on his way for a nasty tackle on Shalrie Joseph.
Backe took a couple of very strange decisions in the second half, asking both Chris Albright and Mehdi Ballouchy to leave the field of play and then replacing them with other players. This type of underhanded maneuver really shouldn't be allowed.
After such a sporting first half, the Red Bulls completed their criminal, skulduggeristic (Is that a word? It should be.) turnaround in the final minutes. After the referee, whose contacts had mysteriously fallen out again, had failed to give a penalty to each side Lindpere played the ball across from the left wing to Richards, whose simple tap-in and the whistle-blow by the referee that followed minutes later shocked sports fans the world over: the game finished with the scores level. It was landmark moment in sport that anyone watching will remember for many years.
Just after 9:30 Eastern time, Rafael Márquez turned up at Red Bull Arena, asking the grounds staff where the rest of the players were for the night's game.