Hard Work and Determination Pays Off for Tim Cahill

When Tim Cahill first joined the New York Red Bulls during the summer of 2012, he suggested that he was ready to “run through brick walls.” For those who watched him play in Everton, and prior to that will Millwall, determination and grit where always words that have been synonymous with the Australian midfielder.

In Saturday’s match against Toronto FC, Cahill ran through brick walls – figuratively speaking, at least – when he charged through a row of defenders, placed a header on a Thierry Henry cross, and scored his second of the match to secure three points for the Red Bulls in a 2-1 finale at BMO field.

It was a signature Cahill finish, but one that he couldn’t have done alone.

“Being the footballer he is, he knew exactly where I was, he put it in the air and from there I suppose it was only going to be one winner,” Cahill said of Henry’s cross that led to the 89th minute game-winning goal.

Watch: Cahill's Brace

In light of his first goal, a left-footed finish in the 39th minute, Cahill had to work a little harder to send home the winning tally. But that determination – a can-do, don’t-settle for anything less mantra was evident in Cahill’s post-game comments.

“If they’re not going to follow me and follow their runners, there was only going to be one winner on that cross,” Cahill said. “And that’s probably what I’ve been looking for all season. I suppose it’s the just reward for keep knocking on the door, because I think in other games I’ve contributed probably a lot more and the goals haven’t gone in.”

Cahill’s first goal marked his first of the 2013 campaign, one that has been met with plenty of quality chances, near misses but no goals to show for the effort. But the work ethic has unquestionably been there, as Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke reaffirmed during a conference call with members of the media Tuesday afternoon.

“The fact that Tim won Player of the Week this week, A, is very deserved, but B, is laughable to me, because maybe it’s an American thing in all sports - if a player scores a goal, or if a player comes on in the 90th minute and scores the game-winner - he gets Player of the Match,” said Petke. “But no one seems to look at the little things throughout 90 minutes, because if that was the case Tim would’ve been Player of the Week a couple of times this year for us.”

For all the accolades and praise Cahill received following the match against Toronto, he firmly believes it was all part of a day’s work. He did what he had to do, what was asked of him, but knows the bigger picture isn’t about how many he can send into the netting, but how well the team can perform as a whole.

“For me, it’s not about goals. It’s about the consistency of this team,” Cahill said. “The discipline to make sure we fill in the holes for not conceding, because if we don’t concede, we’re going to score goals.”

The Red Bulls return to action Saturday when they head off to Ohio to take on the Columbus Crew for a 4:00 PM kick off. Watch all the action live on NBC Sports, or come out to the official Red Bulls Viewing Party at Catas in Newark.