Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
HARRISON, N.J.– The New York Red Bulls looked destined for a disappointing result at home on Sunday against Chivas USA, with another poor start dooming them to a late deficit. Peguy Luyindula helped ease some of the disappointment when he headed home a stoppage-time equalizer, but it was clear from Mike Petke that even the dramatic finish didn’t change the fact his team had another lackluster performance.
A second-half surge helped give Red Bulls fans some hope after seeing their team trail most of the afternoon, and Luyindula provided the finish, heading home an Eric Alexander corner kick in second-half stoppage time to help the Red Bulls earn a 1-1 draw.
“To say that I wasn’t happy in the first half would probably be the understatement of the year,” Petke said after the match. “So the second half was a good response. I thought we saw some very good play, specifically from certain players, and to get the goal in the end.
“But let’s put things in perspective. We tied Chivas USA in the 92nd minute at home. A better Chivas team that last year for sure. I think they’ve done well, but we tied Chivas at home in the 90th minute so that’s not good enough.”
The Red Bulls were a far different team in the second half to the first half, with Lloyd Sam causing problems for the Chivas USA defense, and the Red Bulls putting more pressure on goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, who made a handful of top-shelf saves to keep Chivas USA in the lead until Luyindula’s equalizer.
Chivas USA took the lead in the 25th minute after Erick Torres converted a penalty kick drawn by rookie Tommy McNamara, who was fouled by Richard Eckersley.
The first-half deficit didn’t seem to produce much urgency in the Red Bulls who sleepwalked through the first half managing just two total shots and two open play crosses.
Things changed dramatically in the second half, with the Red Bulls taking control of possession and pumping up their attacking output. They peppered the Chivas USA penalty area with 11 second-half shots and 25 open play crosses, and only some outstanding goalkeeping from Kennedy kept the Red Bulls from finding the net in regulation.
Kennedy denied Wright-Phillips in the 73rd minute with a beautiful kick save, then rose up to tip away a dangerous long shot from Dax McCarty in the 82nd minute.
“The second half I thought they all had a great game,” Petke said. “I don’t want to point at specific individuals. I could go down to every one of them. Obviously Lloyd (Sam) might have been the biggest change from the first half to the second half. It seemed like he just wasn’t in a rhythm from the first half. We didn’t get him the ball much but second half he just tore down the right side.”
“First half I don’t even remember much because I hardly touched the ball,” Sam said. “It was a bad performance all around from us in the first half. Second half was more like it. We always have to react to something. We need to start off the game how we played in the second half.”
The Red Bulls improved play looked like it might not result in any payoff before Luyindula rose to head home Alexander’s corner kick in the second minute of stoppage time to earn the Red Bulls a draw.
“It obviously hurts but if you said to me at the beginning of the game that we would come over here to Red Bull Arena to play this excellent team that last year was the Supporters Shield winner and we tied, I would have said “Yes, let’s do it”,” said Chivas USA coach Wilmer Cabrera.
“So, it’s a good result overall. It hurts because we’re 94 minutes ahead but the reality is that you have to play the whole game.”
Here are the match highlights: