Well I thought RSL could score against New York but my 2-1 prediction didn't have me envisioning anything like this. While New York has given up a good number of early goals, 3 in just over 20 minutes was more than I could have dreamed of but through some great work by Andy Williams to deliver a great ball of a corner kick that Alvaro Saborio was able to finish past a flat footed Frank Rost that gave RSL the early lead in the 7th minute of the match.
Then it was the hardworking Fabian Espindola who would steal the show, first by doing what he has done so well all year, applying high pressure and not letting defenses rest easy for a second, that he got the game winner off a mistake by Tim Ream in the 11th minutes. New York would try to recover from these early lapses but then it was another great effort by Fabian who was on the receiving end of a great Collen Warner pass that put the ball past Rost again and RSL would take a 3-0 lead into halftime.
Now you could see the frustration of some NYRB players, I think the hard working Luke Rodgers started playing harder, while Thierry Henry started looking for shortcuts. He dove on every bit of contact, he took a cheap shot at Nat Borchers and simply made all those who claim that he is a classy guy who is good for the league look like horrible character judges. I think Joel Lindpere and Dax McCarty were solid player who simply couldn't do enough to overcome the many issues that plague the Red Bulls.
after the jump the rest of my thoughts:
OK, lets again start at the back with Nick Rimando. I said it in my match preview and I stick by it that Nick is simply the best keeper in the league. He makes incredible saves, he controls and organizes the defense, and he simply is one difference maker.
The Chris Schuler experiment continues and continues to provide results, against one of the fastest guys in MLS Dane Richards, Chris used positioning and working with his teammates to really make Dane a non factor in the match. Robbie Russell was everywhere, crossing some great balls into dangerous positions, he also was there to break up so many Red Bull attacks that you know Joel Lindpere won't be sending him a Christmas card.
The best two center backs in MLS were able to shut down two of the best offensive players in the league, TH14 and Luke Rodgers are goal scoring machines but they were unable to get anything too dangerous going. I thought the battles between Nat and Thierry were classic and there was a moment when you can see that confident smirk on Nat's face when he knew that on this night he was more than Henry could handle. Olave was simply Olave, everywhere he needed to be when he needed to be there. His size and speed again prove that he is more than capable of taking the top forwards out of their game and into his world.
Now the only lapse in the RSL defense came on a set piece when somehow Joel Lindpere found himself wide open at the PK spot for a spectacular goal that closed the score to 3-1. Will have to watch the replay to see if the camera caught what happened.
Then there is the RSL midfield, and when you consider that the cornerstone of our midfield this year has been Kyle Beckerman was out on yellow card suspension, it makes the result even more impressive. So Jason Kreis took a huge chance by putting in Yordany Alvarez who was acquired from USL Pro side Orlando City on the same day the MLS rosters locked for the season, and he was rewarded by a rock solid effort. Good positioning, good pressure on the ball, a good first touch and the vision and passing that was really beyond expectations. Will Johnson and Andy Williams did exactly what we expect from them, be creative on offense and cause hell on the opposition on defense. So Luis Gil got a break from the starting lineup as Collen Warner stepped into that role, and well he was able to get a huge assist and he played well on both sides of the ball all night long. It was interesting that Jason mentioned earlier this week on ESPN KALL 700 that during this stretch he would need everyone on the roster to contribute and tonight he got that from Collen.
Up top it was Sabo and Fabi that showed what all of us know they are capable of that is scoring goals and causing headaches for defenses. I thought Fabi's work on and off the ball, on offense and defense was top notch, he took it to another level and it paid results for him and for the team.
Off the bench we saw Arturo Alvarez, Jean Alexandre, and Luis Gil all came in late in the second half and while none of them did anything spectacular, they were brought in to give RSL some fresh legs and to help the team hold on for the win, and that is exactly what they did.
A very solid effort, again not a full 90 minutes of the best soccer from RSL but they showed that they can create and score and that their defense is as good as they come in Major League Soccer. Now on to DC for 3 more points on Saturday.
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