The Red Bulls heroically defeated the Toronto FC B-team by a score of 2-0. The Red Bulls have advanced to the championship of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic and have an opportunity to add to their massive collection of meaningless trophies. Nobody should draw any conclusions from this result other than that it's better to win a meaningless pre-season game than to lose a meaningless pre-season game.
Full recap of the match below.
In the Pride Lands of Africa, a lion rules over the animals as king. The birth of King Mufasa and Queen Sarabi's son Simba creates envy and resentment in Mufasa's younger brother, Scar, who knows his nephew now replaces him as heir to the throne. After Simba has grown into a young cub, Mufasa gives him a tour of the Pride Lands, teaching him the responsibilities of being a king and the circle of life. Later that day, Scar tricks Simba and his best friend Nala into exploring a forbidden elephant graveyard, despite the protests of Mufasa's hornbill majordomo Zazu. At the graveyard, three spotted hyenas named Shenzi, Banzai and Ed attack the cubs before Mufasa, alerted by Zazu, rescues them and forgives Simba for his actions. That night, the hyenas, who are allied with Scar, plot with him to kill Mufasa and Simba.
The next day Scar lures Simba to a gorge and tells him to wait there while he gets Mufasa. On Scar's orders, the hyenas stampede a large herd of wildebeest into the gorge. Mufasa rescues Simba, but as Mufasa tries to climb up the gorge's walls, Scar throws him back into the stampede, where he is trampled to death. After Simba finds Mufasa's body, Scar convinces him he was responsible for his father's death and advises Simba to flee the kingdom. As Simba leaves, Scar orders the hyenas to kill the cub, but Simba escapes. That night, Scar announces to the pride that both Mufasa and Simba were killed in the stampede and steps forward as the new king, allowing a pack of hyenas to live in the Pride Lands.
After running far away, Simba collapses from exhaustion in a desert. Timon and Pumbaa, a meerkat and a warthog, find him and nurse him back to health. Simba subsequently grows up with them in the jungle, living a carefree life with his friends under the motto "hakuna matata" ("no worries"). When he is a young adult, Simba rescues Timon and Pumbaa from a hungry lioness, who turns out to be Nala. She and Simba reconcile and fall in love. Nala urges Simba to return home, telling him the Pride Lands have become a wasteland with not enough food and water. Feeling guilty over his father's death, Simba refuses and storms off, leaving Nala disappointed and angry. As Simba exits the jungle, he encounters Mufasa's mandrill friend and advisor, Rafiki. Rafiki tells Simba that Mufasa is "alive" and takes him to a pond. There Simba is visited by the ghost of Mufasa in the sky, who tells him he must take his rightful place as the king of the Pride Lands. Simba realizes he can no longer run from his past and goes home. Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa join him, and agree to help him fight.
At the Pride Lands, Simba sees Scar hit Sarabi and confronts him, but Scar taunts Simba over his "part" in Mufasa's death. However, when Scar pushes Simba to the edge of Pride Rock, he admits he himself killed Mufasa. Enraged, Simba roars back up and forces Scar to reveal the truth to the pride. Timon, Pumbaa, Rafiki, Zazu, and the lionesses fend off the hyenas while Scar, attempting to escape, is cornered by Simba at the top of Pride Rock. Scar begs Simba for mercy, saying he is family and placing the blame on the hyenas. Simba says he does not believe Scar anymore but spares his life and commands him to forever leave the Pride Lands. Scar meekly walks past him, but then attacks his nephew. After a fierce battle, Simba throws his uncle off Pride Rock. Scar survives the fall, but is attacked and killed by the hyenas, who overheard his attempt to betray them.
With Scar and the hyenas gone, Simba ascends to the top of Pride Rock and takes over the kingdom as the rain falls again. Sometime later, with Pride Rock restored to its former glory, Simba looks down happily at his kingdom with Nala, Timon, and Pumbaa by his side; Rafiki presents Simba and Nala's newborn cub to the inhabitants of the Pride Lands, and the "circle of life" continues.
Oops. Sorry. That's the Wikipedia summary of The Lion King.
Here is how they started the match.
New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) February 25, 2015
Stuff happened. The Red Bulls had some good possession. Toronto FC got behind the Red Bulls' defense and had some opportunities against the run of play (including a header off the post). Then this happened.
You'll notice that Bradley Wright-Phillips was able to score without Thierry Henry being on the field. Frankly, since I am merely a fan and a not a fancy American soccer writer, I'm going to congratulate Wright-Phillips on a well hit goal. If I was an American soccer writer, I'd claim that the recently retired Henry was wearing an invisibility cloak and carried the ball into the net for the obviously unskilled Wright-Phillips.
Anyway, Robles made some more saves. Then the referee blew his whistle for halftime.
The halftime show (which was unfortunately not shown by the online stream) featured John Travolta and Meat Loaf performing a medley of songs from the hit musical film Grease. Travolta was good. Meat Loaf, performing the female roles, was awkward.
Despite the inability to top such a brilliant show, both teams decided to give it a go and play the second half. The Red Bulls brought out this lineup.
#RBNY Second Half Starters: Reynish; Ouimette, Jean-Baptiste, Miazga, Lawrence; Davis, Sanchez; Richards, Grella, Zizzo; Abang
— New York Red Bulls (@NewYorkRedBulls) February 26, 2015
More stuff happened. You got older. The sea levels continued to rise. Life became increasingly more meaningless. Zizzo scored a goal off a re-directed Mike Grella shot.
Some more stuff happened. Someone might have scored. I don't think so. I had the game on mute. But hey, Kevin Hartman was one of the commentators. That's cool. Remember him? He was on the team once. There was a streaker , and then the game ended, 2-0. Yay. The players celebrated advancing to the championship by
giving Jesse Marsch a Gatorade shower walking back to the locker room.
Who stood out
John Travolta - You could tell it was more than just a paycheck for him. He really gave it his all. His partner was clearly uninterested, but this didn't deter Travolta. It almost made him stand out more. He's the one that I want... for every halftime show ever.
Luis Robles - Robles (pronounced Rab-eels) made a lot of great saves. Remember when he almost retired because league rules were preventing him from signing with the Red Bulls? Could you imagine if we were deprived of his brilliance? What a dark timeline that would have been.
Thierry Henry - Bradley Wright-Phillips scored a goal. Therefore all credit goes to Thierry Henry.
High pressure - The Red Bulls notably played a high pressure system which is a departure from previous teams. The presence of Thierry Henry for the last 50 years made it difficult for the Red Bulls to play high pressure. It's a welcome switch for the team and it created some opportunities. However, the Red Bulls remain susceptible to the counter and will have to be more disciplined in maintaining their shape if they are going to continue to press.
Kljestan at left mid - Kljestan played at left mid. Pretty self-explanatory. He created some chances. He alternated between getting involved and making you wonder if he was at the concession stand. Vintage Kljestan.
Dax and Felipe pairing - Dax McCarty and Felipe Martins paired together in the midfield and it was okay. Felipe had some really fancy footwork to spring a counter attack, but only after he spent 10 seconds ball watching on defense. Both Dax and Felipe tend to drift out wide which could hurt the team down the line if other teams are quick on counter-attacks. There were times when both players were hugging the sideline with miles of space in the middle of the field between the center backs and the front of the formation.
Toronto FC DPs didn't play - Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, and the short Italian guy didn't play. Toronto FC is trying to get their star players on a "Saturday schedule," which is fine, but it's not going to win you any pre-season trophies. LOSERS!
Miazga plays limited minutes - Austin "Julie Andrews" Fido recently questioned if everything is all right with the young Red Bulls center back. He made a brief appearance.
And Miazga concludes his first #RBNY game of preseason. Played about 30 minutes. Perrinelle joins the fray.
— Once A Metro (@Once_A_Metro) February 26, 2015
NCIS:LA - NCIS: Los Angeles has been on for six seasons. How is that possible? My mother (who loves awful television) watches NCIS religiously and even she hates NCIS: Los Angeles. If she's not watching it, then who is?
The Red Bulls will play in the championship on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. against Philadelphia. The match will be streamed. It will be meaningless like every other pre-season match is.