Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said in the week leading up to the match that they were going to San Jose to win. Who would have thought that a team that last year didn’t win a single game on the road would win a road playoff game?
New York endured a rough first half, but in the second stanza, it was all Red Bulls. The visitors dominated after midfielder Joel Lindpere scored the loan goal in a 1-0 victory at San Jose.
WATCH: FULL MATCH HIGHLIGHTS
GK – Bouna Coundoul: He had a big save in the second half to preserve the lead and stopped a follow-up on Golden Boot winner Chris Wondowlowski. Controlled the box, battled for balls and was more than solid. Distribution was good, but he did everything right to snuff out the Earthquakes chances, including Bobby Convey’s 93rd-minute shot. Rating: 7
D – Chris Albright: He didn’t run forward and join the attack as often as he usually does, but Albright won all his battles. A very impressive night for the right back. Rating: 7
D – Carlos Mendes: He seemed to always be there, making plays and winning his individual tussles. The center back had a great night and was downright gutsy in his decision-making ability. Rating: 8
D – Tim Ream: There wasn't an aerial battle that he didn’t win. Ream was solid all night and did the dirty work alongside Mendes. Rating: 6.5
D- Roy Miller: He let a ball slide through in the 19th minute that San Jose's Geovanni should have buried, and his distribution was less than solid. However, he rebounded well in the second half. Rating: 4.5
M – Dane Richards: The winger wasn't given a lot of space and time, but have to like his hard defensive work, which went largely unnoticed. His recent form (five goals in the past two months) meant San Jose shadowed him, and that opened up the field for others. Rating: 6
M – Joel Lindpere: The Estonian had two good chances to score in the first half, so his goal in the 55th minute was much deserved. It was an outstanding performance for a player who should be the club’s MVP and in the MLS Starting XI honors at year’s end. Rating: 8.5
[inline_node:319620]M – Rafa Márquez: Some silly fouls, particularly in the first half, coupled with some poor distribution and first touches made for a down night for a player who may be more suited for central defense than the midfield. Rating: 5
M – Mehdi Ballouchy: He had two quality chances to score in the first half and looked at home along the left flank. Ballouchy adds another dimension to the attack with his touches. Rating: 7
F – Juan Pablo Angel: A rocky first half gave way to a second half where Ángel played well. He distributed well, got the second ball and held possession. A total team-first effort by the Colombian. Rating: 6
F – Juan Agudelo: He didn’t look intimidated by his first start in MLS or the fact that it was an important playoff match. Agudelo made solid choices and runs and had some well-taken opportunities. Rating: 6.5
Substitutions: Backe used only two subs, Carl Robinson and Jeremy Hall, late in the game. No rating for either.
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012.
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