Bobby Convey turned in a Man of the Match performance.HARRISON, N.J. - Within the first six minutes of their second leg playoff against the San Jose Earthquakes the New York Red Bulls went from confident to pressured. Within six minutes in the second half both sides experienced emotional roller coasters as the Quakes took the series lead against the run of play, the Red Bulls experienced the elation of an equalizer, and the Earthquakes decisively took the lead back again.
The opening goal came after only six minutes with the Earthquakes dominating the early play and clearly lifted the away side. Ryan Johnson put in a cross from the right wing, which deflected back to Bobby Convey who calmly side footed it into the upper left corner.
“It’s extremely important because it put everybody on the front foot,” said the former Reading winger. “To come in one goal down, that’s what you need. You need an early goal, something to boost the team, and I think that’s what it did, and it helped us throughout the game.”
Convey’s night was not done yet as he played solidly down the left wing before being moved to left back after Ramiro Corrales went out injured late in the first half. The natural left footer came forward from his left back position late in the game to score his second goal in the 76th minute.
Only five minutes later, and only moments after conceding an equalizer to Juan Pablo Angel, Convey bounded forward again and supplied the all important cross to find Chris Wondolowski for the series winner. San Jose Head Coach Frank Yallop felt Convey was the difference on both ends.
“Stat wise, you always look at it, and you see he scored two goals, and he gets an assist, but he played a perfect positional game at left back against probably the best right sided midfielder in our league,” Yallop said. “He did a great job in the second half, and he kept him quiet. Dane’s [Richards] a good player, and he did a good job with him. And he popped up with the winning assist on the goal.”
Quakes scored three goals
The shock of the defeat left the Red Bulls players somber, but Hans Backe was his usual reserved self. Reflecting on the game objectively, Backe felt the team recovered well from the shock of an early goal and was only a couple of misses away from taking the game.
“[We] responded ok and finished off the first half ok, decent, created some chances over the last 25 [minutes],” the Red Bulls Manager said. “And then it was a rough second half where we totally controlled and had some chances, but at the decisive moment we were not good enough; we didn’t take our chances.”
Red Bulls fans face another transitional off season. But as the team likely says goodbye to its talisman, Juan Pablo Angel, they also got a glimpse of the vast potential of 17-year-old Juan Agudelo. Agudelo was a constant threat to the Earthquakes and nearly opened his professional scoring account in a dramatic setting.
“I knew that the defenders were going to bite on the fake shot,” said the young forward. “When I did the fake shot, I was able to get the defender on the ground and then took a touch. I tried to hit it as hard as I could. Unfortunately, it didn’t hit the right side of the post and it went out. But, I wish it would’ve went in. It would’ve been great.”
Juan Agudelo may be the future of the New York Red Bulls, but Juan Pablo Angel remains the best forward in the club’s history and he closed his account with yet another goal to add to his club record. The Red Bulls captain did so much for the club and the fans over his tenure, but he still wanted more.
“I would’ve wanted to walk away with a championship,” the Colombian said. “I will be always grateful to the supporters here. They treated me really well from the beginning. But life goes on and I will move on. I will wish everybody here all the best, as always.”
For mostly intelligent commentary, follow Terence Steed on Twitter @Steed19.
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