We’re revisiting some of the top moments from the Red Bulls’ 2012 season. In this installment, we’ll look back at the signing of Tim Cahill and his New York Red Bulls debut.
Tim Cahill wasted no time getting ready for action when the Red Bulls announced his signing on July 26. Outside of getting acquainted with the staff, training grounds and teammates, Cahill was quick to condition himself for playing time in an effort to “run through walls” for his new club.
The Aussie midfielder first stepped foot on the pitch at Red Bull Arena for a July 31 friendly against Tottenham Hotspur, just five days after coming on board in New York. Although he didn’t finish on the score sheet in his debut, one that ended in a 2-1 losing affair for the Red Bulls, he played an integral part in creating the chance that led to the lone Red Bulls goal.
Match Highlights: Tim Cahill's MLS Debut
In the sixth minute of play, while making his first rush on an opponent’s goal at Red Bull Arena, Cahill’s drive into the box drew worthy attention; perhaps too much from Tottenham center back Jan Vertonghen, who tripped him up from behind. The opportunity allowed New York to take a 1-0 lead off a Kenny Cooper penalty kick shortly after. It may not go down on the score sheet as an assist, but there wasn’t a single Red Bulls fan in the crowd who didn’t acknowledge his immediate contribution.
Cahill made his official MLS debut on Aug. 3, a tough 2-0 road loss to the Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium. One week later, in the second half of a home-and-home series, Cahill delivered two assists in his Red Bull Arena MLS debut to help power the Red Bulls past the Dynamo, 2-0.
The first of his two helpers came in the 61st minute when he headed a perfectly placed pass to the foot of a waiting Markus Holgersson, who was primed to send home the first goal of the match past a diving Tally Hall.
With the Dynamo pressing late in stoppage time, it was Cahill again, this time drawing two defenders and dishing a lead pass to a sprinting Thierry Henry, who broke free from the defense and found a rushing Jan Gunnar Solli across the way to drill home the final dagger.
Impressive as it was to see Cahill set up his teammates, only one question remained: When would Tim Cahill score his first goal as a Red Bull?
That opportunity came to light on Aug. 19, when the Red Bulls rallied back from a 2-0 deficit to defeat the Portland Timbers 3-2 at home. Cahill’s first MLS tally, scored in the 45th minute of the match, leveled the score at two apiece heading into the half.
That goal would stand as his one and only in 2012, as Cahill closed out his first season in MLS with one goal, three assists, and eight shots on goals over the span of 12 matches, all of which were starts.
But the opportunities were there, as seen in a number of diving headers, snap headers off corners and strong drives on goal, no doubt a potential sign of even better things to come for the Red Bulls and Cahill in 2013.