Hurricane Irene Gives The New York Red Bulls An Unexpected Playoff Lift

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Thanks to the futility of the teams comprising the Eastern Conference, the New York Red Bulls somehow made their way through the storm with a brighter playoff perspective … and they didn’t have to take the pitch to do it!

Every single result this weekend has played into the hands of the Red Bulls. The Seattle Sounders absolutely dismantled the Columbus Crew 6-2, taking full advantage of the Black and Yellows weakened defense. Rich Balkan and Chad Marshall tried to fill in the shoes of star centerback Julius James (yellow card suspension) in vain as the Sounders picked them apart early and often.

Meanwhile, a weak Vancouver Whitecaps side took three points at home over the East’s second place side, the Houston Dynamo. F.C. Dallas earned three solid points on the road against Sporting K.C. Down two goals on the road, Dallas came back in dramatic fashion behind the force of an inspired Brek Shea to take out Sporting K.C. at Livestrong Park 3-2. Wild card contending Chivas USA failed to pick up points, as Real Salt Lake closed the door on the Goats with a 1-0 defeat. And even the seemingly out of reach Colorado Rapids dropped points and games in hand as they lost 2-0 in a shocker to the Chicago Fire.

The D.C. United / Portland Timbers clash was also cancelled due to Hurricane conditions.

The results begin to even out the standings in the games played category, which was a point of concern for New York. With these results, New York are now nine points behind with two games in hand on the Wild Card leading Rapids, but only three points behind with a game in hand on the currently qualified Houston Dynamo. Sporting K.C. holds on to their four point lead on the Bulls, but are now even in the games played category. Salt Lake continues to hold two big games in hand, but they are the lesser issue for New York who are more concerned with a surging Chivas USA breathing down their neck. Chivas USA’s loss gives New York a one point cushion with a game in hand. The Portland Timbers remain even with New York in points and games played, but their -8 goal differential gives the Red Bulls the tie breaker. D.C. United, however, remains dangerous trailing the Red Bulls by a single point with two games in hand.

Next week is a FIFA international calendar date, highlighted by the U.S., Costa Rica clash at the Home Depot Center. However, two previously postponed MLS matches will be taking place when the L.A. Galaxy take on Sporting K.C. at LiveStrong Park, and Real Salt Lake face the Philadelphia Union at Rio Tinto. Both games will hold major playoff implications with three contending sides vying for points under difficult circumstances. For the Union, it will be the first of two games over a four day span, as they travel from Salt Lake to Philadelphia for a midweek clash against the New England Revolution. By the time both games are completed, the Union and New York will hold an equal number of games played heading into the weekend fixtures, where a rested Red Bulls side will host Vancouver and Philadelphia take in their third game in seven days, hosting the Portland Timbers.

Score that as an assist to Hurricane Irene.

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  • Dave Johnson

    So Hurricane Irene forced the Red Bulls off the pitch, and they actually secured firm ground in the playoffs? Can we have a natural disaster every week?

  • Ferris

    Tough losses for Houston and Kansas City in particular – the 1-0 loss to Vancouver and SKC giving up a 2-0 lead at home against a Dallas side that’s between CONCACAF champions and U.S. Open Cup matches definitely hurts both teams’ playoff hopes.

    Chicago hasn’t looked half bad the last few weeks, and their next three league matches are all winnable. Not that nine points would be enough for the Fire to contend for the playoffs but it would keep the cluster of mediocre Eastern Conference teams even more on edge.

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