What makes Wednesday night’s 1-0 victory by the New York Red Bulls over Toronto FC extra special was the fact they did it without four key players involved in four different international matches played in North America, South America, the Caribbean and Africa.
Forward Dane Richards was one of the stars for Jamaica in a 3-1 win at Trinidad and Tobago. He scored after eight minutes and created several opportunities before coming off with 10 minutes remaining. Joining him in the match for Jamaica were LA Galaxy goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts (90 mins), San Jose Earthquakes forward Ryan Johnson (78 mins) and Kansas City Wizards defender Shavar Thomas (90 mins).
Recently signed New York Red Bulls DP Rafa Márquez captained Mexico and went 57 minutes against World Cup champions Spain in a 1-1 tie that featured a last minute equalizer from David Silva in Mexico City.
RBNY left back Roy Miller played all but two minutes in Costa Rica’s 2-0 loss against Paraguay in Asunción. Real Salt Lake forward Alvaro Saborio and Chivas USA defender Michael Umana went the full 90 for the Ticos at the Defensores del Chaco stadium.
Another NY Red Bulls player, goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul, played the second half in Senegal's 1-0 victory over the Cape Verde Islands in Dakar.
Had Joel Lindpere traveled to Estonia for a Euro 2012 qualifier, it would have made five RBNY players on international duty during the FIFA fixture date. As it turned out, Lindpere declined the invitation and scored the game-winner for New York, while Estonia needed two stoppage-time goals to beat the lowly Faroe Islands 2-1 in their Euro opener.
The Red Bulls will host the LA Galaxy on Saturday and Bruce Arena’s squad had three players involved in Tuesday’s USA vs. Brazil match in addition to Ricketts’ involvement in the Jamaica game. Omar Gonzalez played the entire match as he earned his first cap. LA forward Edson Buddle played a half and Landon Donovan went 62 minutes. Real Salt Lake forward Robbie Findley came on for Donovan to finish the match while Chivas USA left back Jonathan Bornstein played the entire game.
Panama shocked Venezuela 3-1 on Wednesday with three unanswered goals in the final 13 minutes of the match played in Panama City. Chivas USA forward Giancarlo Maldonado started the match for Venezuela with Philadephia Union forward Alejandro Moreno substituting him in the 69th minute.
American soccer fans will also be curious to know that former Real Salt Lake striker Yura Movsisyan made his international debut for Armenia on Wednesday in a 3-1 home loss to Iran but came off after just 16 minutes. Movsisyan previously spoke of wishing to one day represent the USA.
New Jersey native Giuseppe Rossi, who spurned the USA, reappeared for the Italian National Team on Tuesday, replacing Antonio Cassano with 20 minutes remaining. However, he could not prevent a 1-0 loss in the first match for new Italian manager Cesare Prandelli.