The second half was a quiet affair between the Red Bulls and the Earthquakes; almost too quiet.
Roy Miller broke that silence, and the Red Bulls wish he hadn’t.
Though New York looked shaky on defense the entire night, it was their Costa Rican leftback who once again folded under the pressure costing them the lead, and ultimately, the game.
A heads-up Eric Alexander goal in the first half put New York ahead of the hosting San Jose Earthquakes. Unlike the high-octane shellacking they endured in the second half against Portland last week, New York seemed ready to lull San Jose to sleep en route to a road victory.
That is when Roy Miller stepped in and the Red Bulls began to step down.
A string of passes moved San Jose into the Red Bulls area in the 82nd minute. The build up culminated with midfielder Sam Cronin sending in a cross from the left of the box that zipped past keeper Luis Robles and found the head of a diving Adam Jahn to level the encounter.
Jahn’s marker on the play? Roy Miller. Though it can be argued that Robles failed to challenge the cross, it was the Costa Rican left back who was outworked by his assignment, allowing San Jose back into the match.
Not done there, Miller would play the goat three more times before sealing the Red Bulls fate. First, it was San Jose earning a corner in the 89th minute of the match. A bouncing ball in the box was inexplicably juggled by Miller before he managed to concede yet another corner. On the ensuing kick, more confusion in the box led to disaster for the visiting side as Miller was called on a handball in the box off of a Cronin header attempt.
On the ensuing penalty kick, Robles got the best of Chris Wondowlowski’s attempt but the block was called back thanks to an encroaching Miller.
San Jose’s star striker wouldn’t miss twice. Wondolowski beat Robles on the do-over and in typical Earthquakes fashion, sealed a late-game victory for the host side.
The responsibility for the late game meltdown falls on Miller’s shoulders, but the defense looked as unstable as he did throughout the entire match. Once more, the Red Bull’s best attempts on net came in the first half while the final 45 lacked the same discipline or cohesion.
New York (0-1-1) now enters “rivalry week” where they hope to find their feet before hosting long-time rival DC United. Kickoff for the match begins Saturday at 12:30pm.