Questionable tactical decisions and defensive errors by the shorthanded Red Bulls gave the home side what will likely be one of their easiest victories of the season. The disjointed Red Bull forwards, Juan Pablo Angel and Salou Ibrahim, hardly troubled a confident San Jose backline while four separate Earthquakes were able to fire past Bouna Coundoul.
The Earthquakes with their third successive home victory are quietly ascending the West’s standings, as conference rivals the Seattle Sounders and Chivas USA were both trumped. Although still atop the Eastern Conference, the New York Red Bulls will need to rebound after an abysmal performance.
A 4th minute yellow card for Tony Tchani after a raised stud to the quad of Chris Wondolowski was the precursor to Luke Sassano’s challenge in the 14th minute that would inevitably alter the complexion of the East Coast – West Coast matchup.
Sassano came in over the top of Convey, cleating the left ankle of the Earthquake after the ball already been flicked forward. Surprisingly receiving a start over Jeremy Hall at right back, the native Californian may have been energized by appearing in front of friends and relatives or finally the opportunity to impress Hans Backe. Regardless, his reckless challenge was unquestionably worthy of a straight red.
The match prior to the expulsion, although favored neither side, showed promise for the potential of an exciting encounter. But the box score clearly indicates that one set of fans will have enjoyed this match much, much more.
Ryan Johnson was blessed with the first great chance of the match when NY rookie Tim Ream was uncharacteristically dispossessed. Wondolowski caught the relaxed central defender spending too much time making a decision and the ball squirted to the charging Jamaican who should have finished. His tame shot was well within the reach of Coundoul who smothered the effort.
From there, both sides had decent opportunities as Ream was forced into a sliding block of a Convey strike and both Joel Lindpere and Tony Tchani could have broken the deadlock for the Red Bulls.
Unluckily for the Red Bulls after staving off the half a man down, Johnson atoned for his first miss with a fantastic finish from the cusp of the penalty box. Bobby Convey exploited the weakened NY right side and his perfect cross was perfectly volleyed home under Coundoul in the 45th minute to end the 1st half.
Unlike in past games, Backe’s Red Bulls didn’t appear to have any chance of pulling out a come from behind victory.
In the 55th minute, Joey Gjertsen capitalized on miscommunication between Ream and his keeper. Ream was unaware of the streaking Gjertsen who collected within the eighteen before cutting and squeezing a shot beneath a diving Coundoul. The shot was awkwardly placed for the Senegalese keeper, but he still should have done better to keep his team within a goal.
After a tame twenty minutes in which the Red Bulls never appeared capable of surmounting a true comeback, Wondolowski put the match out of reach in 77th minute. Ream kept Ramiro Corrales on after he was chipped through before the SJ captain slipped Wondolowski a simple pass to finish within the six-yard box.
An unmarked Bobby Burling further headed the Red Bulls into misery when scored off of a Convey corner kick in the 85th minute.
Cornell Glenn, moments after entering, could have pushed the final score to five, but he struck the woodwork with the match’s final chance.
The Red Bulls have a week to prepare for the arrival of Seattle Sounders who were similarly drubbed by the LA Galaxy 4-0 on Saturday. The San Jose Earthquakes on the other hand will have to travel to Gillette Stadium to face the beleaguered New England Revolution.
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