The New York Red Bulls entered Saturday night with a slim hold on the fifth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Just one point kept them above both the Philadelphia Union and New England Revolution. A home game against the last-place Montreal Impact seemed like a good opportunity for New York to at least maintain their hold on fifth. Despite creating several chances early on, the Red Bulls went into half trailing by a goal. After the break, 36-year-old Thierry Henry took over. What you’re about to see is a 25-minute clinic on putting the ball into dangerous territory. There’s not much I can add to these gifs, so I’ll keep my commentary limited.
It is no secret that soccer is a low scoring game. Over the course of 90 minutes, the modern game And so while goals may be the point of the game, you cannot boil a game down to its goals. There is so much more that takes place than the ball hitting the net, and that is important. Each match has its own flow and shape, and the goals that are scored largely occur within that frame. The majority of possessions, the majority of chances do not result in goals. But the game typically belongs to the side that can create more, better chances. A manager can’t score goals for his team, but he can put his players in the best spaces to do so.
On Saturday night, the Portland Timbers traveled across the country to face the New England Revolution. Both teams find themselves on the outside of the playoff spots in MLS, so both were looking for three points. The game finished 1-1, but that’s an oversimplification of what actually happened. Here’s how that result came to be.
The case could be made that Michael Bradley is currently the best American soccer player. At 27, he has played in two World Cups, and seemingly half the countries of NATO. US, Netherlands, Germany, England, Italy, Canada. That last stop was a stunner; an announcement that Toronto FC means business, and that Major League Soccer can provide a home for American talent even in their prime.
Wil Trapp is six years younger, but his future is bright. He played in last summer’s U20 World Cup, and with the age of Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones, he might find a spot in the senior team before too long. For now, he can be found patrolling the midfield for the Columbus Crew.
On Saturday night, Bradley’s Toronto FC traveled to Columbus to take on Trapp and the Crew. I thought it would be interesting to see how some of America’s best midfield talent did.