Saturday, October 20, 2007

Red Bull Make Point Heading Into Playoffs

The Red Bull had nothing to gain on Thursday night in the City of Angels. With the New England Revolution already booked as the first-round MLS Playoffs opponent, the game against the Galaxy, while admittedly interesting, meant very little to Bruce Arena's Gang. Regardless, there were several positives and a couple of negatives resulting from the 1-1 draw at the Home Depot Center.


  • Jozy Altidore, playing out of position on the wing, had a very strong game, including a poacher's delight open headball goal off The Big Easy, Dave van den Bergh's terrific cross, and appeared 100-percent healthy. A fit Jozy paired with Juan Pablo Angel will be real trouble for the Revolution next week.

  • Dane Richards also had a fine game, continuing his late-season push for rookie of the year, which sadly, will probably be in vain due to Toronto FC's Maurice Edu's strong debut for the US National Team on Wednesday in Switzerland. Voters will likely flock to Edu's cause after he helped Team USA to a rare victory on European soil.

  • Chris Leitch looked shaky again. Nope this is not a typo or editing error, we did not mean to place this point in the NEGATIVE category. This is a good thing, because Arena would have to be nuts to pencil this guy into the lineup on Oct. 27 after another sub-par outing.

  • Despite the absence of Francis "Grandpa" Doe, Claudio Reyna and Clint Mathis, the Red Bull were dangerous offensively. Putting aside (for now) grievances against or allegiances to these guys, it's an indication of good team depth that even without them on the field, the Galaxy had difficulty covering their own third of the pitch.


  • The last thing any squad wants going into the playoffs is a shaky goaltending situation. Landon Donovan's cross was superb and Troy Roberts' header was solid, but Tim Conway's stagefright was the star of the show for the lone Galaxy goal. And the petulant, ill-timed retirement announcement by The Walrus doesn't improve matters.

  • The Big Easy, Dave van den Bergh, limped off the Home Depot pitch on Thursday, a DoublePlus NotGood for the Red Bull. Defensively DVB has been outstanding, solidfying the left fullback slot with poise and skill. Offensively, The Big Easy's natural tendency to overlap has successfully unbalanced the opposition and could also allow for Grandpa's inclusion into the starting lineup as a pseudo-left winger, but actual freelancing withdrawn forward, thanks to the cover provided by DVB. The Red Bull need The Big Easy against The Revs.

  • Shalrie "The Behemoth" Joseph and the Revs have patched up their contractual differences, removing a potential off the field distraction that many Red Bull fans (um...including us) had hoped would cut into the focus and commitment of the former St. John's University star's physically dominating game. Now, not so much.
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