A penalty kick goal was the difference.
The first opportunity of the match, occurring in the fifth minute, would foreshadow much of what would ensue in the first half and patches of the second. A combination between Jeff Cunningham and David Ferreira provided the Colombian talisman with a gaping seam through the heart of the Red Bulls that he duly exploited. But after Ferreira returned the ball to Cunningham, the striker placed an open shot from the top of the eighteen wide.
After another eschewed opportunity by Cunningham, Dallas took advantage of their superior attacking play in the 10th minute. David Ferriera returned a broken corner to Heath Pearce who swerved in a perfect cross that an unmarked Dax McCarty headed home. Despite their continued dominance for most of the half, the Hoops were unable to further their lead.
The out of sort Red Bulls were afforded one golden chance in a flat first half when in the 22nd minute Macoumba Kandji collected in FCD’s half before dribbling at Dallas’ backline. Kandji was never pressured and allowed to place Juan Pablo Angel through on the ground. The Red Bulls’ all-time career goal scorer took his opportunity well; slotting past Dario Sala in what seemed to be his first goal of the new season. But after a brief Red Bull celebration, referee Alex Prus was alerted by his line official that the striker was offside.
In the 26th minute, the only caution of the match was administered when Atiba Harris committed a hard foul on Roy Miller. But besides for that brief flashing of Prus’ yellow card, the second segment of the match’s first half saw little action as both sides cooled off; neither side had any true threatening the opportunities.
Dallas opened the second half once again the sharper side and looked primed to extend their lead until a pivotal two-minute period.
Coundoul conjured up possibly his most impressive save of the match in the 56th minute with a fantastic parry of Ferreira’s shot. The Red Bulls would quickly respond as a relatively quiet Joel Lindpere showcased another one of his patent rampaging runs. The Estonian penetrated Dallas’ right flank before crossing to Angel who evened the game at 1 in the 57th minute.
Dallas had another phenomenal chance in the 60th minute when a header by Harris awkwardly hung in the air before being denied by the cross bar.
Although Coundoul was the star of the match, the 65th minute permitted opposing keeper Dario Sala the opportunity to demonstrate his athleticism. Macoumba Kandji was brought down in the box by Zach Loyd and Juan Pablo Angel stepped up to the spot to double his tally. Angel struck the ball well, but Sala was equal to the shot as he batted the ball from the net.
During the next fifteen minutes, Coundoul made a variety of stunning saves to preserve New York’s chance at victory. The Senegalese keeper stoned Jeff Cunningham after he was played through in the 69th minute, a recently introduced Eric Avila in the 76th, the luckless Cunningham on a diving save in the 78th, and finally Ferreira in the 82nd.
The importance of these four huge saves as well as the others that comprised Coundoul’s seven for the night became even more evident when Sinisa Ubiparipovic was brought down within the penalty box by Dallas captain Daniel Hernandez during the 89th minute. Angel showed no nervousness over his prior miss and rifled past Sala and the Red Bulls to their second home victory of the season.
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