Saturday's early season contest between the winless Red Bulls and winless Montreal Impact had a just outcome. The 2-2 draw saw both taking leads but neithe side able to hold on for the three points.
"Yea, to be quite honest," Red Bulls coach Mike Petke said after the match when asked if the result was fair. "To start off a goal down in under five minutes, is extremely tough for us. But I thought our two goals were taken very well. (We) had a chance to go up 3-1 with the penalty, but it wasn't meant to be. And then we didn't do our best defending job on their second goal."
Playing on artificial turf, Petke decided to rest Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave. The Red Bulls were also without injured defender Richard Eckersley and midfieler Tim Cahill.
Petke also chose to keep Dax McCarty on the bench as he changed the team's shape. Eric Alexander started in the holding midfield role, with Lloyd Sam, Bobby Convey, and Jonathan Steele playing in the middle. Bradley Wright-Phillips was the lone forward.
"The last time we played them - in preseason - although we had a 3-0 win they had a lot of control of midfield play, down in Florida," Petke said of the teams' February exhibition. "I know it's preseason but that really stuck with us that we wanted to put that extra one in the midfield.
"I thought that early on it didn't really work out but as the game wore on I thought that we had some pretty good moments with the ball - the three in the midfield - especially hitting them on the counter. So the whole thing was to protect us a little bit in front of our back four, and also to have that ball, to be a little creative."
The Red Bulls answered Montreal's early goal with two goals on counter attacks, one by Jonny Steele and another by Peguy Luyindula.
However with a 2-1 lead at the half, Petke was forced into a substitution after left back Roy Miller injured his Achilles. The Red Bulls had a chance to increase the lead just after the break but Luyindula hit the post with his penalty kick attempt.
While the result may have been fair, Petke acknowledged that goalkeeper Luis Robles was a big reason. Montreal, also looking for their first win, was able to get off 21 shots, putting 12 on target although denied time and again by Robles.
"Anytime our goalkeeper makes saves like that, you're always pleased with him," Petke said. "At the end of the day I think that he possibly did bail us out a bit today. They got behind us quite a bit, had some opportunities, but Luis did well."
The draw was the Red Bulls fourth consecutive, bringing the team's record to 0-1-4 (4 points).
"At the end of the day to come into Montreal and get a result, you take it," Petke said. "We're still unbeaten in four games - we seem to like ties. But it's early. It's still the beginning of the season."