In the short time he has been with the New York Red Bulls, Tim Cahill has shown a great deal of leadership both on and off the field.
Last year, he infamously shielded an emotional Kenny Cooper from the media after the team suffered a crushing playoff ouster against DC United. That same opponent held New York scoreless at home this weekend for an impressive draw in the face of an overpowering Red Bull attack. Once again, it was Cahill who showed face for the result.
Arguably, the team’s best chance at goal came at the foot of Cahill who was denied by Bill Hamid with an impressive goal-line save.
That failurewas all the Australian international needed to shoulder the responsibility for the team’s result.
“I come in and said to the boys ‘I should have stuck that in the back of the net,’” Cahill said. “We threw everything at it. I thought we played really well. The underlying fact is I didn’t put the ball in the back of the net. It would’ve won us this game. I definitely take responsibility for that, but other than that, I thought we played really well.”
Even as he recounted the play, Cahill seemed at a loss over how Hamid could have stopped him. “I think (Fabian Espindola) headed it, (Thierry Henry) was behind the goalkeeper, someone touched it again. It looked like it went over – looked – (but) it’s hard for the referees and the officials to see everything,” he said. “Sometimes they’re given, sometimes they are not. We felt it was in but you are always going to when you are shooting on their goal. We can go back and look at the replays but it doesn’t matter.
“I don’t know if the ball crossed the line. It’s hard for the linesman, hard for the referee in fairness.”
Replays of Hamid’s impressive save were inconclusive but the fact that he had to lunge his arm into the net to make the stop certainly drew some question marks. “It looked like the keeper put his hands into the net, that’s why it looked like he took it out from the inside, but whatever. If it didn’t go in, it didn’t go in,” Red Bulls striker Espindola said. “I have to look at the video tape but like I said, we didn’t have that little bit of luck. We played a great game today.”
It wasn’t just Espindola who thought the club was unlucky. Team leaders like Dax McCarty and even Coach Mike Petke said it was simply “one of those days” where the club couldn’t find a goal despite out playing and out-shooting their opponent.
That did little to cushion Cahill’s sentiments.
As if unable to let go of the moment, the Australian midfielder said “I’m just bemused at the keeper, getting a save off me. Things were falling, making late runs, rhythm starting to get better … I’m disappointed that didn’t hit the back of the net.
“You justify to pick yourself up and go at it again,” he continued. “It was a big big loss for us today and the fact of the way we played but I am confident we can go again. I am really confident.
“The only thing we lacked today was the goals and I’ll definitely take responsibility for that one. Hamid threw his body at it. That’s what you do as a footballer; you pick yourself up.”