An early studs-up tackle by Luke Sassano all but doomed the New York Red Bulls from getting their first-ever win at Buck Shaw Stadium on Saturday, and meant their road woes in San Jose will last at least another year.
Playing as a right back, it was Sassano’s first start of the season and came at the expense of incumbent Jeremy Hall. The Red Bulls threatened to score twice before the half but eventually buckled under the disadvantage of Sassano’s ejection, which came after a reckless tackle on Earthquakes midfielder Bobby Convey in the 13th minute.
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All told, the Earthquakes registered five shots on goal in the opening half, including a diving save by Coundoul on a Ryan Johnson shot in the 23rd minute. Roughly 20 minutes later, San Jose got all the scoring it needed from Johnson, who slotted home a one-timer off a Convey assist.
“After that goal, they got more confidence,” said Red Bulls rookie Tony Tchani said.
The floodgates opened after that, thanks to second-half tallies from Joey Gertsen, Chris Wondolowski and a capper in the 85th minute from Bobby Burling.
It was the Red Bulls’ worst defensive outing of the season, conceding the most goals they have in 2010 and looking haggard much of the second half as San Jose poured it on. The loss was the club’s worst defeat since a 4-0 loss to Colorado of July 25 of last year.
New York’s only other loss of this season came on the road to Chivas USA, and the Red Bulls roared back the next week with a win over FC Dallas at Red Bull Arena. They return to action on May 15 back at Red Bull Arena, this time against Seattle Sounders FC.
The Red Bulls haven't won in San Jose since 2003.
“We just have to get back to work,” Tchani said. “We have to work hard."
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.