Thank the heavens that this was the only afternoon game FC Dallas has to play at home. Sunblock was out, and I think all of us in the stadium got ample amounts of vitamin D. With the sun bearing down, the curious placement of team captain Andrew Jacobson at right back, the starting of 2 homegrown players in key positions made this a match where we'd get to see Pareja's management in action.
Ten Minutes In...
The first ten minutes started with a good showing from both teams as they battled on to try and dictate the tempo of the game. I thought for sure that the Texas heat and the New York Red Bulls dark colored uniforms would work to our advantage as it was incredibly hot this afternoon. Then 'The Tackle' happened. Was it even a tackle? From my point of view I saw Watson dodging a tackle and all his momentum taking him into a Tim Cahill who really made the most of it. The replays did not tell the whole story in my book. Right when I saw the ref reaching for his back pocket I exclaimed "OH GOD NOT THE BACK POCKET!!" And lo, he did indeed go to his back pocket and gave Watson his 2nd red card of the season. The crowd around me erupted, in what is usually a kids-friendly section of the stands, turned into a hostile part of the stadium that I've yet to see this season. The referee put himself in the center stage as the antagonist that he almost seemed to love it, and we turned on any Red Bull player on our side of the pitch.
You guys may have heard boos coming from my section and the sections around us every now and then during the game, allow me to explain why. Kosuke Kimura, the right back for the NYRB, was the first target of our disgust at what was transpiring on the pitch this scorching day. To be honest, the reason why we targeted Kimura escaped me, I had no idea why we were booing him every time he got a touch of the ball but I happily joined in because I was severely ticked off at this point. The referee kept making call after call that the sent the people into more and more up in arms throughout the game. Our team was holding fast though, and miraculously kept the Red Bulls scoreless in the first half through some heroic defending, great goalkeeping from last seasons' MLS All-Star Raul Fernandez, and some nice counter-attacking that resulted in a few good chances namely the Benitez break that was stopped by the NYRB goalkeeper but also looked to be some tired legs from the veteran left back who really was up and down the pitch constantly.
The 2nd half started with no changes for either side, and it was a darn good half for our side in terms of effort in my opinion. We had the opportunities, we took the Red Bulls to the limit with 10 men for 80 minutes, but just couldn't seal the deal. We also need Michel to keep taking our penalties, sorry Blas. The player that next drew the ire of the Easterners around me was a player we might recognize, Eric Alexander. It was the build-up to heckling Eric that I finally learned why we were booing Kimura in the first half: just to boo them. It was 2 groups of fans that started yelling out "Number 12 you got nothing!" "Give it up Eric!" "You should retire!". Then after a few more words, every time he touched the ball we proceeded to boo the former FC Dallas player.
We had a God-send in the second half as the ref pointed to the spot after a great run by Danny Garcia (It was Danny right?) forced the NYRB defender to make a mistake in the box and give away a silly penalty. Blas stepped up calmly and Robles had no trouble with the Panama-man's effort. It left us heart-broken, it felt like someone drop-kicked me in my chest. Then just a few minutes later, Henry received the ball, Zimmerman was caught in a wrong position and couldn't recover before the Frenchman slid the ball to Bradley Wright-Phillips for the only goal of the game. New York's left back Miller then drew our wrath after what looked to be time-wasting as he went down twice in front of us. It looked like the heat was really getting to the Red Bulls, and if we had 11 throughout the game I feel like this definitely was a winnable game from what I saw that day. And that fact makes it all the more frustrating.
Are you guys proud of how our boys performed with just 10 men against the Red Bulls? I didn't mind Jacobson at the right back position, how'd y'all feel? Anyone else get sunburned? Can we blame Watson for either of his red cards? Let me know what y'all think! Thanks for reading.