It's time for the Match of the Year. The difference here is that we take into account the whole match, not just a particular moment.
2014 End of Year Awards:
- Young Player of the Year
- Defensive Player of the Year
- Offensive Player of the Year
- Moment of the Year
Austin Fido - RBNY 2-1 New England Revolution (August 24th)
With hindsight, it would have been better if RBNY’s astonishing 45-minute turnaround against the Revs was saved for a chilly day in late November. Instead, it came in August, and the New York Red Bulls wouldn’t have been playing anyone in late November but for what happened in this game.
Down a man and a goal with the entire second half to play, the Red Bulls looked sunk, home advantage notwithstanding. But Mike Petke channeled a bit of playoff fever, threw his team into three-at-the-back, all-out attack mode from the restart, and got some of the best attacking soccer we’d seen all year up to that point.
The experience was pivotal. A few games later, the team had changed tactics for good. Not the tactics used to win this particular match, but I’d wager this was the moment Petke realized the flat 4-4-2 wasn’t getting the best out of his team.
For its contribution to the success that followed - and Dax’s goal - this was the game of the season for me.
Jason Iapicco - RBNY 4-1 Seattle Sounders (September 20th)
While starting a side mostly made of substitutes, the Sounders were coming off of a US Open Cup title victory over the Philadelphia Union. The Red Bulls used the night to fully embrace the MetroStars history with the revealing of the "As long as we're breathing" banners. The match was one of the best attended in 2014 and the crowd was electric, especially with Bradley Wright-Phillips hat trick for goal 22-24. While it was book ended by disappointing CCL matches, it was something the Red Bulls needed in the September run for the playoffs.
Matt Coyne - D.C. United 2-1 RBNY, ECSF Leg 2 (November 8th)
Wait, the Red Bulls lost this one?
Yeah, it doesn’t feel like it, but D.C. did end up taking a late lead. But it didn’t matter. The Red Bulls got out to an early lead in the tie, going up 2-0, then pretty much put the series to bed thanks to a Peguy Luyindula goal, meaning D.C. would have to score four to win.
It’s not often a loss feels like a win, but this time it did. And with it, the Red Bulls slayed two demons: They finally advanced past the conference semi-finals and they finally knocked D.C. out of the playoffs.
Tim Dean - D.C. United 2-1 RBNY, ECSF Leg 2 (November 8th)
See also: Moment of the Year
What is your match of the year? Let us know in the comments.