On Saturday night, Tim Cahill put the New York Red Bulls into the playoffs with a dramatic 97th-minute equalizer against the New England Revolution to finish off a 2-2 draw. The goal was Cahill’s 10th of the season, putting him in the lead for most goals on the squad.
The importance of those goals goes beyond the sheer quantity, however. Saturday marked the second time in as many games that Cahill saved the Red Bulls a point with a late equalizer, the first being his 76th-minute strike in Seattle to earn a 1-1 draw against the Sounders. In addition to the two equalizers, Cahill has scored four game-winners this season.
“He’s been doing it all season,” midfielder Lloyd Sam told reporters after the game. “He’s got so many important goals for us this season. The amount of second balls he wins in the midfield, and just in and around the changing room he’s like a role model for a lot of the younger players. Myself, too.”
After opening his Red Bulls account last season in an August 19 fixture against the Portland Timbers, Cahill went 18 league games before getting back in the score sheet with a two-goal performance against Toronto FC on April 27. Despite the criticisms that came with not scoring, Cahill has maintained an even keel throughout.
“It’s the same mentality I’ve taken for the last 15 years,” Cahill said. “I actually thought we could have scored a hell of a lot more goals tonight [but] my mentality in every game is to assess the game, and if I need to go forward, I go. If not, I’m happy to win 1-0 on an Espindola goal.”
Ultimately, New York needed more than Fabian Espindola’s 14th-minute strike to get the result. The Revs stormed back late in the game as Lee Nguyen put in a hotly-disputed PK in the 85th minute and Diego Fagundez pounced to double the lead in the 91st.
New England were playing the Red Bulls at their own game, though. Evidence shows New York have made a habit this season of scoring late. Of their 50 goals – good for third-highest total in the League – 18 have come after the 75th minute, the second most in MLS behind Real Salt Lake. Eleven have been equalizers or game-winners, five of which are Cahill’s doing.
“We’re really grateful for everything he’s done,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “He’s had an incredible career and international career, and we’re very thankful he’s on our team.”
The playoff-bound Red Bulls have just one last regular season home game on October 27 against the Chicago Fire. Get your tickets now by clicking here, or calling 877.RB.SOCCER.