BY ERIC GIACOMETTI
The dominance in Harrison continues, and in quite grand fashion, if we’re being honest. Now, far be it for me to call this bunch a team of destiny, but when you have Dax McCarty tallying headed goals off corner kicks and Thierry Henry busting out Olimpicos like it ain’t no thing, well it’s gotta mean something, right?
Maybe I’m still on a high from that win over Columbus, but something about those three points felt so fulfilling. Granted, New York continued its troubling trend of conceding early (as they’ve done in three of their last four), but they fought back from behind to get a result for the fourth match in a row … pretty impressive if you ask me.
Lambast me for my overzealous aspirations if you’d like, but this team is going to win MLS Cup. After all, it’s pretty much my civic duty to overreact to anything the Red Bulls do.
From an analytical standpoint, the game plan was employed almost to a T. New York dominated possession, killed the Crew center backs with long balls over the top, and actually made use of their set pieces (go figure). With the return of Rafa Marquez, Dax was forced out to an unnatural wing position on the right flank. Credit to Hans for finding a way to keep the team’s MVP in the starting XI despite both CM slots being taken. While not his preferred position, Dax filled in admirably and notched the aforementioned goal.
And while the result was a massive one, there were some worrying aspects of the match … one of them being the performance of Kenny Cooper. There is something I never thought I’d say. The team’s leading goal scorer had been lethal all season long and was almost a sure bet to bury any and all chances in front of goal, but not on this night.
One moment in particular comes into mind; a ball was played in from the right and he took a big swing-and-a-miss on a chance that surely would have found the back of the net 9 out of 10 times. Not to mention the fact the he’s seemed gun shy in front of goal and apprehensive to take his chances.
Does this have anything to do with the fact that Backe hasn’t consistently slotted Cooper into the starting lineup? Maybe, but either way, I’m not all that worried. For starters, we still have Sebastian LeToux as a more than capable replacement up top. But before we exhaust that option, let’s give KFC another chance or two. He’s been our best striker option all season, so he gets a pass on this one.
With another big win placing the Red Bulls within two points of pace-setters Kansas City, Wednesday’s tilt figures to be all that much more important. To New York’s delight, their next two matches with SKC will both be at Red Bull Arena, so there’s that.
There’s just something about this team that seems different. At times, when you feel it’s just gonna be another one of those games, they pull a rabbit out of the hat and pleasantly surprise you. The players even seem aware of the past plight of this franchise, citing that they want to bring some silverware home for the long enduring fans of the Metro Bulls.
So excuse me if it seems that I’m chomping at the bit for any excuse to get excited about this team … but c’mon, let me just have this one.