The New York Red Bulls went into Century Link Field on Sunday and looked to do something that had only one other time this year, beat the Seattle Sounders in their own building. In the first half, it looked like they had a shot. Clint Dempsey and Obafemi Martins were ineffective. Lloyd Sam got on the end of a blocked free kick and gave the Red Bulls the lead. Then, the second half happened.
Marco Pappa showed Chris Duvall that he still has stuff to learn about being a MLS defender and put one past an outstretched Luis Robles. In stoppage time, Dempsey put a ball back across the face of goal and Chad Barrett tapped it in with Robles scrambling back to try anything to stop the goal. The hosts would hold on for the last few fleeting moments and took a 2-1 victory. The loss is the third for the Red Bulls in 2015 and it was the 1st time in 2015 they lost two matches in a row.
The bane of all soccer fans is the referee. We don't notice the referee until they have what is a negative impact on our own teams. Today was one of those days, as referee Jose Carlos Rivero did not cover himself in glory today. All too often when a Sounder player neared the Red Bulls box and went down, the whistle came out and Seattle had a free kick. Bradley Wright-Phillips gets taken out in the box by Brad Evans, and nothing gets called. Clint Dempsey in an offside position, but is allowed to get a ball without establishing an onside position just because a defender chests it? Nope, you're good.
What a lopsided match from a referee. MLS/US Soccer has a long way to go in this department.
EDIT: Looking back, the Red Bulls did get lucky in some respects. The handball called against Brad Evans that led to the Red Bulls' lone goal did not deserve to be called as Evans didn't really have time to react. The call for a penalty when Wright-Philips was brought down in the box could have also seen a handball called on the forward. The replays weren't clear enough to say for certain but there were hints. There was also the kick out by Osvaldo Alonso on Felipe Martins after a whistle was blown that went without a card. Both teams have legitimate gripes about the referee in this match.
One substitution was used before stoppage time, and that was Dane Richards for Mike Grella. One substitution. Once of Three. The second sub (Anatole Abang) came on after Seattle made it 2-1 in their favor. Jesse Marsch has not been one to leave substitutions on the bench this year, but it probably cost him today. The defense was getting hammered during the end of the match and a fresh pair of legs, anyone, before the second goal would've been an improvement.
Until this match, the Red Bulls were a perfect 4-0-0 when scoring first. So much for that. Now maybe we can win when giving up the first goal (0-2-5)? HAHA yea...