Sept. 22, 2013: Red Bulls 1, FC Dallas 0
Winning ugly is becoming something of a trend around Red Bull Arena, but, just like last week against Toronto FC, the style doesn't matter. What does matter is they got the three points.
Sure, it might not look nice and it certainly didn't have the moments of brilliance the last game did (the winner was a Dallas own goal), but the Red Bulls found a way, sort of, to get it done. A good omen, especially since every one of the last four games is the year's most important.
In a relatively drab game -- as is par for the course, the Red Bulls had some good chances and there was some iffy officiating -- the story is more what happened the night before than anything that happened Sunday.
Real Salt Lake and the San Jose Earthquakes slipped into temporary madness for roughly three minutes, during which the two sides traded goals. When everyone regained sanity, the Earthquakes had a lead they'd hold on to for the duration. Later, the Seattle Sounders would strike first against the LA Galaxy, but a late first half equalizer off the foot of Juninho would bring things level.
Those two results left the league's top spot up for grabs. If the Red Bulls could beat FC Dallas, it was all theirs. They did just that, making next week's game, against the Sounders in Seattle, a first blush Game of the Year candidate.
That all makes this bit of news, that Bradley Wright-Phillips, Jamison Olave, Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill had all picked up knocks, all the more worrisome. It's unknown which of them could be unavailable, just yet -- all played the full 90 save Wright-Phillips -- but the Sounders are the hottest team in the league and Sunday's game could make or break the Red Bulls' Supporters' Shield bid. Going into that game with a weak line-up certainly won't help matters.