They almost ruined it. The Red Bulls were inches- literally, inches- away from falling into the hands of a late collapse. If Marco Di Vaio didn't defy Euclid's geometry by hitting both posts off a volley deep into stoppage time (well, and had not been offsides, too), it would have all come crashing down. The Red Bulls better thank their stars that they escaped with the full three points today, and more importantly, thank Thierry Henry's sublime finishing, accentuated by a superb bicycle kick off a corner. Moreover, although Henry did notch a brace on Wednesday night, it truly came down to a solid team effort and a good showing at Red Bull Arena.
Luis Robles (5.5)- A hot and cold night for the man in goal. Came up with a huge stop on a 1-on-1 vs Nyassi, made a few good saves, but also botched a clearance/pass to no-one which led to Di Vaio's goal. When Robles is on his game, he can turn in excellent performances, but also tends to make really boneheaded mistakes.
Heath Pearce (6.5)- Wasn't too active going forward, but the left back provided good defensive cover and more or less dealt with trouble that came down his flank. Look for Pearce to drop to the bench in favor of Miller this coming Saturday vs the Revs.
Jamison Olave (7.5)- The big man almost had a goal of his own, putting a first-time volley just wide of the post. Good defensive effort, aerial clearances, and an overall good showing from the centerback.
Markus Holgersson (8)- With every performance, the Swede is becoming more and more of a fixture in the back-line- even head coach Mike Petke says so. A very good defensive performance, marred by just a few questionable decisions with distribution out of the back.
Kosuke Kimura (6)- Was pretty much invisible throughout the game, but provided defensively when called upon. Couldn't expect much more from a right back replacement for Barklage.
Johnny Steele (7.5)- The Irishman was denied a goal by the hands of Troy Perkins, but contributed many times going forward. Many of the somewhat limited attacks involved Steele, and he continues to show signs of improvement after a rather mediocre start to the season.
Tim Cahill (7)- I've said it once and I'll say it again- Cahill is the heart and soul of this Red Bulls team. Sure, he didn't get a goal today, but the Aussie proves to be a dominant force in the air and has finally settled into a box-to-box midfielder role.
Juninho (6.5)- An underwhelming performance from Juninho. Made many key passes, but lacked creativity in the final third. Came close with a free kick in the first half.
Eric Alexander (7)- Hit the crossbar with a thundering shot, which eventually led to Henry's first goal. Alexander was good going forward and solid defensive-wise. He's pretty much all but confirmed the starting left midfield spot.
Thierry Henry (8.5)- A spectacular acrobatic effort to cap off a brilliant two-goal evening from the Frenchman. Also helped out my fantasy team quite a bit- just as an added plus.
Peguy Luyindula (N/A)- Worked a good 25 minutes before being subbed out due to a nagging hamstring. Played too little to be accurately rated.
Mike Petke (7.5)- The local boy has led the Red Bulls to four consecutive victories, two at home and two on the road. Up next: a trip to the dreaded Gillette Stadium.