The San Jose Earthquakes and New York Red Bulls fought to a 2-2 tie Saturday night in front of 41, 028 spectators at Stanford University. Both teams bolstered their lineups with players returning from national team duty at the Gold Cup. The Red Bulls were very excited about having Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream back. Unfortunately, they were still without Thierry Henry due to sickness and Rafa Marquez due to injury. They were also without head coach Hans Backe after surgery.
Both teams came into this game off draws and were hungry for three points. Early on, New York had the majority of the possession and shots. Much of this was due to the presence of the newly-traded Dax McCarty. McCarty bossed the midfield with great control and perfectly weighted balls to the forwards and wingers. All this possession lead to an early 7th minute goal by Joel Lindpere who scored his second goal in as many games. The goal was created with a cross from the left by Roy Miller which was not cleared by the defense and Lindpere easily slotted the ball by veteran goalkeeper Jon Busch.
San Jose would not go down without a fight in front of so many of the Quakes faithful. The spark for this fighting spirit would come from fourth year pro Steven Lenhart who previously played for the Columbus Crew. Lenhart fights for every ball and wins most of the headers he goes after. Lenhart’s feistiness would get under the Red Bulls’ skin in the first and second half. First, he almost got into a fight with the Red Bull goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. Coundoul would have problems of his own in the 37th minute, when he dropped an Earthquakes corner kick into the path of Khari Stephenson who would calmly volley it home. Thus, the New York goalkeeping woes would continue. Ives Galarcep said, “And when I say Coundoul had the ball knocked out of his hands, it was knocked out of his hands by ineptitude.” And the first half ended at 1-1 after a great start by New York but unfortunately they let the Quakes back into the game.
The second half was even more intense than the first half. Steven Lenhart’s hard work continued and he was rewarded with a great ball from Steven Beitashour in the 68th minute that he headed home for his 5th goal of the season. Juan Agudelo and Joel Lindpere continued to fight to try and get a point for the Red Bulls away from home. Lindpere came through again in the 85th minute with a great strike on goal that may have been deflected by a defender before beating the keeper. In stoppage time, Bobby Burling received a second yellow card for a reckless tackle on Teemu Tainio and was ejected from the game. And in the end, it was a hard fought but exciting game with both teams sharing the points.
So, now we wait and see if the New York Red Bulls will make a move to sign a goalkeeper. There are some who are calling for New York to sign Marcus Hahnemann, who is out of contract at the moment. Hahnemann would probably prefer to play for Seattle again and replace Kasey Keller after this season. The trade that saw Dwayne DeRosario leave New York and McCarty come in could have been to free up some money or to open a designated player spot. We will wait and see.