Break open the boxes and pass out the t-shirts. Crack a Red Bull open; time to celebrate - New York is the Eastern Conference champions. Thursday’s 2-0 win over New England tied things up nicely for the Red Bulls in a match where they dominated the first half and played a relatively even second half against their visitors.
A look at the player ratings from Thursday night’s game:
GK – Bouna Coundoul: He had a couple nice saves but that bobble on Darrius Barnes’ long throw-in nearly gifted the Revs a goal. His distribution, in particular his goal kicks, was reminiscent of his early season struggles. Rating: 6
D – Jeremy Hall: Fantastic to see Hall, one of the team’s good guys, on the field following battles with injuries. He looked good defensively and patient, pushing well into the attack. Rating: 6.5
D – Carlos Mendes: A solid, gritty and physical effort, especially disciplined in the second half when New England pushed numbers forward. Rating: 6.5
D – Tim Ream: An overall solid performance by Ream who played several fantastic long balls in the first half that helped start the New York counterattack. Rating: 6.5
D – Roy Miller: His one-touch passing was solid and he looks to combine very well with the midfield in pushing forward. Defensively, Miller was caught up field a few times and struggled with positioning. The good, however, outweighs the bad. Rating: 6
M – Rafa Marquez: He got hit, kicked and basically pummeled in the match. His hard work defensively overshadows his distribution which was a tad bit plebian again. Still, he anchors the bottom of that midfield very well. Rating: 7
M – Dane Richards: Another game, another goal is becoming a headline that head coach Hans Backe must be enjoying. Richards had a good first half but a quiet final 45 minutes where he rarely used his pace to help the New York counterattack. Rating: 6.5
M – Mehdi Ballouchy: Floats in and out of the game a bit but still performed well in holding possession. Looked more comfortable on the wing then he did Saturday as a withdrawn forward. Backe should take note. Rating: 6.5
M – Joel Lindpere: Quality service when he floated wide and his good, hard runs centrally typified Lindpere’s night. An under-rated performance for a man who has proven to be the cog to the New York attack. Rating: 7
F – Juan Pablo Angel: His assist to Richards for the game’s first goal was vision personified with a deftly weighted pass leading Richards onto goal. Overall, Angel rarely looked dangerous himself but set up several teammates with his ball-holding and movement. Rating: 7
F- Salou Ibrahim: At times, the powerful forward can be a genius at making the easy look downright difficult with some rough touches and plodding moves. But, Ibrahim pulled the consummate team-first night as he held the ball well, played some nice one-touch and made smart runs into space. Rating: 6
M - Tony Tchani: The Red Bulls’ lone substitution played just a handful of minutes, too few to warrant a rating.
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012