After a long rain delay turned the field into giant puddle, both teams would likely have been happy if they'd been offered a point each and spared the experience of chasing a wet ball around a soggy pitch.
Instead, we got to watch RBNY labor to yet another 2-2 draw on the road. And yet another two-goal lead surrendered.
1. Again? Again.
The New York Red Bulls built a two-goal lead on a terrible, water-logged pitch. Bradley Wright-Phillips showed the way, scoring one...
BWP gives RBNY a 1-0 lead! pic.twitter.com/ftw1kuP6DQ— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 21, 2016
...and giving Felipe the chance to bang in the second.
Goal! Felipe makes it 2-0 RBNY!!! pic.twitter.com/ZjRcZCXswh— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 21, 2016
In conditions not-at-all suited to soccer, the lead seemed like one even RBNY couldn't blow. It wasn't. Lloyd Sam made the point he'd been hoping to make all game: winning a penalty to remind his old team of what they are missing.
Penalty to DCU! pic.twitter.com/xViyQL9sWp— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 21, 2016
And three minutes later, it was all square. Patrick Mullins nodded home the equalizer as RBNY failed to defend a corner.
Mullins ties it up for DCU! IT's 2-2! pic.twitter.com/54tC8PgELA— Total MLS (@TotalMLS) August 21, 2016
There were, as always, reasons for the dropped points on the road. This time around, one could point to the conditions, which did not allow either team to settle into any sort of rhythm. It was a scrappy game, made scrappier by referee Ismail Elfath's sparing use of the yellow card.
But there comes a point when the specifics of an individual game are secondary to the overall pattern of the season. Dropping points, most notably on the road, has become RBNY's signature move.
For those of you counting at home, that's 16 points RBNY have dropped from leading positions in 2016.— Bill Reese (@ReeseCommaBill) August 21, 2016
2. A team built for playoffs, not the league
There is a silver lining to RBNY's latest away-day stumble. The team didn't lose. And it scored goals. The Red Bulls are now unbeaten in their last eight games in MLS. They have scored in seven of those, including four consecutive 2-2 draws on the road. And they have won their last three home games.
This is not a team built to win the Supporters' Shield this year. Not without a drastic improvement in its road form. But being able to tie on the road and win at home consistently is the key to a good playoff run. If this is the form RBNY brings into the post-season, it will be a contender to make MLS Cup.
It just won't be considered a contender to win it, if the final has to be played outside Red Bull Arena.
3. Daniel Royer's debut
Spare a thought for RBNY's new signing, Daniel Royer, who was handed his debut for the club in the 76th minute - three minutes after his new teammates had just rolled over and watched DC score twice in three minutes.
We saw enough of him to see he likes to run, on and off the ball. And we'd already seen enough of the pitch to see that it wasn't going to let the ball move in a way that would support a lot of dribbling or clever movement. Not the best circumstances for Royer to make his first appearance, but the team will surely have better days - and so will he.