Head coach, Mike Petke said it best, “I guess you can’t exorcise every demon, in one year, from this club. We exorcised one of them, but hats off to Houston, they’re a playoff team.” Before a crowd at Red Bull Arena, the home team would fall to Houston 2-1 (aggregate 4-3).
The offensive lineup was nothing different than what New York has played in the past, the Dynamo coach, Dominic Kinnear would do the same. The notable changes were Lloyd Sam and Bradley Wright-Phillips into the starting lineup. This forced Tim Cahill (the team’s leading goal scorer back into the midfield and put Peguy Luyindula on the bench.
The Red Bulls started out owning the first half, they weren’t knocking on the door politely – they were banging it. It would be in the 23rd minute with Bradley Wright-Phillips seeing a chance and taking it. Opening the game, it seemed that New York was in this to win it. Houston’s Brad Davis would answer with an equalizer in the 36th minute. The guys nearly made it two had it not been for a jaw dropping save on Thierry Henry by Houston goalkeeper (and former MWM) Tally Hall.
After halftime the team would work had at getting another goal, even Henry with a bicycle kick that went nowhere. It was pretty obvious, this was not there night. This team while working hard to hold steady to their top spot in the Eastern Conference were slowly losing their grip. Omar Cummings would come up big for Houston in the 104th minute that sealed New York’s fate. And Tally Hall would once again be the one to stop any chance of a goal for RBNY.
This team has worked hard along with their coach and everyone involved with them. From the win of the Supporter’s Shield, it was almost a sure thing that the dreaded RBNY curse was lifted. It seems it’s going to be another year before this team and their new coach can push through but…one thing that is for sure – they have a lot of heart.
Houston will return home to take on Sporting Kansas City in the Eastern Conference Finals for the third straight year. The first leg kicks off at BBVA Compass Stadium on November 9th.