A sub-par performance by the New York Red Bulls was enough to scrape a 1-1 draw with Sporting Kansas City that keeps the home side in first place in the Eastern Conference, but keeps New York within striking distance in the final months of the season. Kei Kamara scored at each end in the first half, and Bill Gaudette performed solidly in goal to keep KC to a single goal. The Red Bulls will rue not taking their few late chances, but barely deserved those for their generally poor showing.
The Red Bulls struggles were evident from the start -- they simply could not get the ball and keep it for long enough to build a decent attack. Sporting KC were far from excellent, frequently relying on long balls to stretch the visitors' defense, but they at least provided a threat to score, and played positively throughout. They were rewarded for their approach after just four minutes, as Teal Bunbury got around Markus Holgersson and chipped a long ball back up for Kei Kamara to head in for the opening goal.
Although KC were certainly the better side in the first half, the two teams went in level after Kamara accidentally knocked a free kick into his own goal as he tried to get ahead of Tim Cahill, who caused the hosts frequent problems with his aerial ability. The other major incident in the first half was a pair of nasty elbows to the head delivered by Aurelien Collin to Heath Pearce and Wilman Conde, although Collin escaped with just one yellow card.
Both sides carved out chances in the second half, but New York's best, and possibly the best of the match, fell to Dax McCarty in stoppage time. After playing in Sebastien Le Toux on the break, McCarty got the ball back from the French striker with only Jimmy Nielsen to beat, but miscontrolled it and spurned the best opportunity to steal all three points. The visitors shouldn't be too unhappy with a draw, but could yet rue not taking that chance. More importantly, though, New York's performance going forward was far from acceptable and must improve for Wednesday's game against DC United.
Selected Stats (NY - SKC)
Possession: 39% - 61%
Passing Accuracy: 71% - 82%
Total Passes: 300 - 479
Corners: 0 - 5
Open Play Crosses: 6 - 15
Fouls: 18 - 14
Shots (On Goal): 14(3) - 3(0)