HARRISON, N.J. — The New York Red Bulls once again settled for a draw. A Juan Agudelo goal helped New York come back to tie the Whitecaps 1-1 on Saturday, but the result drops the Red Bulls out of the playoff picture for the first time all year.
1. Seeing red
Eric Hassli’s lovely through-ball to Camilo in first-half stoppage time looked set to put the Brazilian in on goal before Jan Gunnar Solli made contact with him outside the penalty area. Though it was certainly a foul, Solli was shown a straight red card — and New York head coach Hans Backe was not impressed with the call.
“It is not a red card," Backe contested. "First of all, it has to be a clear goal-scoring opportunity to get a red card – Carlos Mendes is behind and Solli is shoulder to shoulder. It’s too far out to be an obvious goal-scoring opportunity; of course it’s not a red card.”
The referee’s decision seemed to galvanize New York, however, and the Red Bulls came out in the second half with much more energy before stealing a goal back.
2. The comeback
Up a goal and a man going into the second half, it looked like Vancouver might be able to pick up their first road win in their expansion season. Instead, the Red Bulls made a commitment to attacking with numbers in the second half, and they were rewarded in the 68th minute by Agudelo’s goal.
“The first half, we feel like we didn’t give them much and then it’s one chance and one goal,” midfielder Dax McCarty said. “Then the red card, it takes a toll on you mentally. But we came in here at halftime and we weren’t down on ourselves. We regrouped, came out in the second half and dominated.”
3. Rodgers returns
The comeback was a nice feeling for the Red Bulls, but the real momentum coming out of Monday night was the return of Luke Rodgers from injury. The English forward hadn’t played since early July as he was out with a heel injury.
“It felt good,” Rodgers said. “I only got 10 minutes, and 10 minutes at that pace is like 45 minutes of what I’ve been doing in training. I was pleased to get back out. It’s a positive step forward.”
4. A “lift” for Dallas
New York’s focus now turns to Pizza Hut Park for next Saturday’s showdown with FC Dallas. The Red Bulls hope to build on some of the positives from their draw with Vancouver against an FCD team that, though coming off a disappointing loss to the New England Revolution, currently hold the third best record in the league.
“I think it’s positive. It was positive to fight back for 45 minutes with 10 players and score a goal and to create that many chances in the second half,” Backe said. “That should lift the players for the rest of the season.”