Last night’s dramatic 3-3 draw at JELD-WEN Field was a tale of two halves. After New York dominated the opening stanza and closed the first with a 3-1 lead, they retreated into a shell and endured a blitzkrieg offense that earned Portland a deserved draw.
Though Darlington Nagbe and Diego Valeri certainly made life difficult for the Red Bulls, New York captain Thierry Henry pointed to a larger reason for the team’s second half malaise.
“What is frustrating is the way we came here,” Henry noted. “We didn’t prepare anything because we were at the airport on Friday, on Saturday, too, trying to come here. We did eventually but we didn’t prepare the game like we should’ve prepared the game and you could see the last 30 minutes. Everyone ran out of steam.”
The Red Bulls’ flight was delayed over three hours Friday night, forcing the team to de-board the plane and charter a flight for the following morning. Though he didn’t mention the flight woes, fellow Designated Player Tim Cahill also noted the team “ran out of steam” in the second.
“We didn’t prepare it the way – not our fault obviously – the way you should prepare a game but that’s the way the league is and you have to come here and perform,” Henry said. “We did I think for an hour match Portland and also the way they were playing. In the last 30 minutes, they took over and we ran out of steam and they took control of the game and they scored two.”
The Red Bulls captain did not try to diminish Portland’s accomplishments, but did lament the issues surrounding the team. For his part, the French striker equally downplayed New York’s early successes. “Let’s be honest,” he said. “We scored on two mistakes from their side, their part and, come on, they had the ball the whole second half and they were pushing and playing really well.
“You have a team on the other side trying to push forward and that’s what they did and they scored from it,” he said. “If we could have done a better job we would have done it. With the way we had to prepare this game, I am happy with the draw.”