New York Red Bulls Searching for Something
The New York Red Bulls headed to the Windy City looking to make history. While Gerhard Struber’s team has struggled at home this season, their success on the road has helped keep them in Second place in the Eastern Conference, far above their hosts for the evening. The Chicago Fire, languishing in tenth place, would be happy to put New York’s run to an end.
Wondering how much I can take
Chicago threatened early, their first shot coming in just the second minute of the match. They hammered away at the Red Bull defense, pushing towards Carlos Coronel’s goal. In the 17th minute, a handball by Ashley Fletcher put the ball on the spot for MLS newcomer Xherdan Shaqiri… maybe you’ve heard of him. He converted the penalty kick to tally a goal for Chicago. But the Red Bulls battled back. Tom Edwards struck a scant minute later to level the match. However, it became time for one of my least-favorite phrases: ENTER VAR. Lead referee Jon Freemon called the goal back and the hill the Red Bulls had to climb became a little steeper.
Flashing lights against the sky
The Red Bulls refreshed their efforts by the half hour mark. Spending more time in the attacking third, they had gotten their bearings. With a slight edge in possession, the attack was looking more cohesive. They were poised to bring the game level. But an unlikely enemy was the real game changer: The first half was halted near the start of its stoppage time due to lightning strikes in the area. After an hour’s wait, the teams returned to the field for the rest of the game.
Getting up to splash my face
Soldier Field was soggy upon restart, to say the least. The ball skittered and the players sloshed across the ground all through the second half. Patryk Klimala, who has struggled to find the net, chose a great time to remedy that. He collected a ball from Luquinhas and buried it (75’) to level the match. Fate also dealt some interesting twists.. Freemon’s officiating included a bounty of yellow cards, which made two ejections practically inevitable (Jhon Duran, 72’ and Rafael Czichos, 83’). Then came a foul that again prompted one of my favorite phrases: ENTER VAR. A foul on Klimala put him at the spot, which he converted to put New York ahead. Well worth the wait.
Should I try to do some more
It was a chippy game, full of controversy. But the Red Bulls got their win, however unpretty it was. Controversial? Messy? Perhaps, but what more could you want? The important thing now is to bring that success to the pitch in Harrison. But for now, I’m just feeling like I ought to sleep.