Controversial penalty call helps Dynamo draw Red Bulls


The New York Red Bulls were eight minutes away from earning their three points at the formidable BBVA Compass Stadium, but referee Ismael Elfath took that chance away with a controversial penalty call.

Rookie Chris Duvall was called for a handball and returning U.S. Men’s National Team midfielder Brad Davis made the most of his opportunity, cleanly beating keeper Luis Robles for the tying goal in a 2-2 draw.

“Listen, any point on the road is valuable,” New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said. “Aside from the start of the game, I thought we were in somewhat of cruise control and if we stepped it up a little bit, I think we could have taken that game.

“I feel that we lost two points tonight to be honest with you.”

New York fell behind just :39 seconds into the match on the end of a Giles Barnes header. A brace from Bradley Wright-Phillips put the Red Bulls on top until Elfath’s questionable call gave Houston a lifeline, and the draw.

The Red Bulls now sit with 20 pts. through 17 games (4-5-8) while the Houston Dynamo earn a point for an even 18 pts in 18 games (5-10-3).

Petke trotted out the same young defense that earned him a draw against Toronto F.C. last week. Houston began the match targeting fullback Ambroise Oyongo to start the match, and found a key opportunity right away. Jermaine Taylor exposed space behind the young Cameroonian defender, slashing a cross into the box right at the head of Barnes who head his opportunity past Robles, giving Houston the 1-0 lead in the first minute of the match.

Barnes would challenge Robles yet again 12 minutes later. The Dynamo striker beat Jamison Olave to the cross and put his shot just high of net.

Wright-Phillips wouldn’t miss. Just one minute after Barnes’ attempt, the former Charlton United striker split the Dynamo centerbacks on an Eric Alexander long ball and one-timed a shot past tally Hall for the tying goal.

The Dynamo responded with a brilliant sequence nine minutes later. Returning international midfielder Brad Davis fed fellow World Cup participant Oscar Boniek Garcia in the box. His shot went on frame towards a diving Robles, who recovered as the ball nearly squibbed beneath him. Minutes later, Eric Alexander forced Hall to stretch, saving a shot to the far post.

The back-and-forth action continued throughout most of the 90 minute encounter. Snakebit striker Will Bruin sent a shot wide of net. Minutes later, Oyongo took a Thierry Henry feed in the box and head a shot on frame, forcing hall into a save.

Both teams managed to find opportunities early in the second half as well. Returning striker Tim Cahill rang a shot off the post with an attempt. The Dynamo answered with a shot of their own.

Again, it would be Wright-Phillips breaking the deadlock. Fullback Oyongo repeated his Toronto F.C. performance, shaking off his defender and pinpointing Wright-Phillips in the box. The English striker sent a looping header past Hall for the lead in the 72nd minute.

Houston would continue their press and eventually found an opportunity. Davis lined up a free kick from 35 yards out. Sekagya and Bruin jostled for the cross which deflected back to the middle of the box where Duvall shouldered the ball down for the clearance. Elfath called a handball, and Davis beat Robles for the tying goal.

The Red Bulls have earned one win since May 10th (1-3-3). New York now head back home for a July 12th encounter against the Columbus Crew at Red Bull Arena.

  • Glad [product ad] New York got screwed, but MLS probably paid him to do it so they could say, “see, the ref is bad, we didn’t fix all those Open Cup games against NASL sides.”