Coming to the midway point of the 2013 season, the New York Red Bulls have a lot to reflect upon and much to look forward to for the rest of the season. Fans have been treated to an impressive unbeaten run and exciting and timely goals as the Red Bulls are in the thick of the hunt for first place in the Eastern Conference.
The top story of the first half of the year for the Red Bulls came over an eight game stretch. New York earned its first seven-game unbeaten run since 2003 when it went undefeated in matches spanning from April 20, a 4-1 win over New England, to June 1 when the club lost 2-1 against Vancouver. During the run, the Red Bulls went 5-0-2 and climbed to the top of the Eastern Conference standings.
The Red Bulls return after a 22-day break from MLS play when they take on the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park on Sunday at 5:00 PM.
Here were some highlights:
March 30 vs. Philadelphia Union: It was a day full of firsts for the Red Bulls. Forward Thierry Henry scored his first goal of the season, head coach Mike Petke got his first ever win as a head coach, and it marked New York’s first win of the season. The match was tied 1-1 in the 81st minute when Henry scored his first of the season, and what would be the eventual match-winner. Heath Pearce played the ball to Peguy Luyindula and he chipped it to Henry. Henry turned and shot it into the back of the net.
April 20 vs. New England Revolution: New York started their unbeaten run when four different Red Bulls found the back of the net to help the hosts earn a 4-1 win at Red Bull Arena. However, arguably the most memorable part of the day was both teams’ supporters and their united front in the wake of the tragic Boston Marathon bombings earlier that week.
May 8 vs. Montreal Impact: The team earned its fourth straight victory and Henry capped off his two-goal performance with an amazing bicycle kick goal. With New York leading in the match, 1-0, Henry scored the eventual game-winning goal in the 88th minute. Juninho sent a corner kick into the box and Markus Holgersson headed it towards the far post. Henry connected with his right foot and hit a bicycle kick goal into the net. Later that week, Henry’s bicycle kick goal was named the MLS Goal of the Week and was the top play that evening on ESPN SportsCenter.
May 19 vs. LA Galaxy: It was a wet, rainy day at Red Bull Arena for New York’s only match of the regular season against the two-time defending MLS Cup Champion. The game in front of a sold out crowd seemed destined to end in a 0-0 draw before some last minute heroics by midfielder Tim Cahill. In the 91st minute of the match, Juninho sent a free kick towards goal that found Cahill. Cahill rose above the defense and headed home the stoppage time game-winner. The win extended the Red Bulls unbeaten streak to six.
May 26 vs. Columbus Crew: Columbus came out attacking and quickly scored a goal in the 2nd minute. The Red Bulls evened the score, 1-1, in the 31st minute when Henry tallied his sixth goal of the year off a long ball from Tim Cahill. Henry collected the ball and chipped it over Crew ‘keeper Andy Gruenebaum. Later in the match, the Red Bulls found themselves down 2-1 as the 90th minute approached. It seemed as though the team’s unbeaten run would be snapped at six games. However, Jamison Olave would find the back of the net with a 91st minute last gasp goal, controlling a cross from Jonny Steele and volleying it in with his left foot.
What were your favorite moments so far in the 2013 season?