New York Red Bulls are out.
A large crowd of 22,839 cheered on the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena despite rainy 48 degree weather. The sloppy weather was reflected in the play as both teams were opened up on the wet surface, creating a multitude of chances.
With the Red Bulls leading 1-0, both teams trotted out the same starting lineups as the first leg. Thierry Henry returned to the bench for the Red Bulls after several weeks off with a knee injury.
The San Jose Earthquakes came out determined to get back in the game and they did just that in the sixth minute through Bobby Convey. After several minutes of pressure down the Red Bulls left flank, the Earthquakes broke through when Ryan Johnson beat Roy Miller and crossed to the top of the six. The ball bounced back off Scott Sealy to the penalty mark, where Bobby Convey met it with his cultured left foot, placing it directly into the upper left corner of the net. The Earthquakes nearly struck again several minutes later, when Ryan Johnson broke free down the left wing. Johnson got a shot off and recovered the rebound from Coundoul, but his looping header over the ‘keeper bounced wide of the far post.
After recovering from the shock of the first goal, the Red Bulls settled into the game, albeit not with their normal amount of possession. Juan Agudelo looked lively in the early going, but despite finding space in the box on several occasions, he was unable to locate a teammate with his final pass.
The Earthquakes might have added a second in the 27th minute if not for a decisive tackle from Tim Ream. Geovanni stripped the ball off Chris Albright in the corner before centering to Sealy. The midfielder feigned a shot at the top of the box and took a long touch, but Ream came across and dove in to intercept before he could shoot.
Juan Agudelo continued to impress and should have equalized the match in the 39th minute for the Red Bulls after Lindpere and Dane Richards combined to release the young forward. The 17-year-old received a short pass near the top of the box from Richards before he cut around Brandon McDonald and fired a shot off the near post from an acute angle.
Within two minutes it was the Earthquakes ruing missed chances as Geovanni again broke free on the left wing. The Brazilian played a nice cross to the near post that was turned onto the frame by Johnson, but somehow Coundoul managed to get a hand to it and put it out for a corner.
Coundoul collected the corner and quickly threw the ball to Marquez. The Mexican captain drove to midfield before leading Dane Richards in behind the Red Bulls' defense. The Jamaican strode into the box and fired a shot for the near post, but McDonald slid in to deflect the ball just wide of the far post.
The Red Bulls came out looking to retake the lead in the series. First, Chris Albright lofted a ball over the top to Rafa Marquez, who flicked it past Jon Busch, but not Jason Hernandez. Next, Roy Miller managed to use the runs of Joel Lindpere and Mehdi Ballouchy to carve his own path into the box, but his close range blast flew high over the bar.
Bobby Convey celebrates | Earthquakes overcame deficit
In the 54th minute Juan Agudelo drew a free kick just outside the box, but a Rafa Marquez finesse shot over the wall had too much curl, ending in a goal kick.
In the 60th minute the Red Bulls put together a series of nice passes that nearly led to a goal if not for a saving tackle. Richards lost the ball in the right corner only to have it collected by Chris Albright, who in turn laid it off to Marquez. The Mexican immediately crossed into the box where Agudelo back heeled the ball into the path of Ballouchy. Despite beating the first man, the Moroccan’s shot was saved by a last-second tackle from Hernandez.
After a San Jose corner in the 71st, Lindpere took the ball down neatly around his man and released a long pass over the top to a wide open Agudelo. The young forward ate up all the open space before firing a low cross to the open goal mouth. Unfortunately, none of his teammates could get on the end of the ball and Bobby Convey cleared it out for a throw.
Despite all the New York pressure, it was the Earthquakes who took the series lead in the 76th minute. The Earthquakes found space down the left wing through substitute Arturo Alvarez. Alvarez held up as the Red Bulls defense attempted to recover its shape, leaving just enough time for Bobby Convey to receive a pass, drive into the box, and fire a shot over Bouna Coudoul’s right shoulder.
The Earthquakes celebration was temporarily cut short only two minutes later when the Red Bulls restored the series balance through the captain Juan Pablo Angel. Agudelo got the ball on the right wing and drove straight at Jason Hernandez before lofting the ball to the back post where Angel had an easy header into the back of the net.
Not to be outdone, the Earthquakes struck right back in the 81st minute. Arturo Alvarez found himself bottled up on the left wing and played it back to Convey. Convey waited for his forwards to get back onside before lofting the ball to the penalty mark, where Chris Wondolowski headed it into the far upper corner of the net.
New York exits the playoffs
The flurry of activity was followed by a triple substitution from Hans Backe, bringing on Thierry Henry, Jeremy Hall and Salou Ibrahim for Juan Agudelo, Chris Albright and Carlos Mendes.
The Red Bulls threw everything into the attack and Thierry Henry nearly provided the story book equalizer in the 90th minute as a deflected corner came to him at the far post, but the Frenchman’s header skimmed over the cross bar.
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