MLS Cup Playoffs: Draw for Dynamo Step in Positive Direction
Midway through the first half, the New York Red Bulls were up 2-0 on the Dynamo, which looked all too similiar to the previous two encounters at BBVA Compass Stadium.
But something happened in the locker room during halftime. Like in Any Given Sunday, one of the Dynamo assistant coaches got up and gave an Al Pacino-esque speech that put new life into the squad.
The following 45 minutes was a different half, one in which the Dynamo were able to come back and score the equalizer in extra time to send the series back to New York for the second leg tied at two apiece.
Here are five things we took away from the first leg at BBVA.
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5. Clark comes up big, again Red Bulls coach Mike Petke was adamant during the post-game press conference that the goals his team gave up were self-inflicted wounds. He was pretty spot-on with his analysis on Ricardo's Clark's goal in the 51st minute.
The Dynamo were able to get the ball out wide to Brad Davis, who ran down to serve up a lob. The Red Bulls intercepted the club and cleared it -- right to Clark, who was standing just outside the 18-yard box.
With one touch, Clark sent a low shot down the middle of goal, just past the outstretched arms of NYRB's goalkeeper.
4. Kinnear out Earlier on Friday, MLS announced that Dynamo head coach Dominic Kinnear was suspended for Sunday's match because he left the restricted area during the fiasco on Thursday.
So it was left to his three assistants to coach and manage the game by committee.
The one thing they did was go to the bench a little earlier than Dom likes to. In the 61st minute they brought in Omar Cummings, who may have been the player of the match.
They used their last sub to bring in Cam Weaver for Eric Brunner, switching their formation to a 3-5-2. Instead of taking the 2-1 loss, the committee of coaches pushed numbers forward to earn the draw -- and that they did.
3. The ejection The biggest turning point in the match was Red Bulls D Jamison Olave. In the 61st minute, Olave recklessly tackled Cummings from behind, earning a straight red card for his foolishness.
The straight red shown to Olave had serious repercussions for the rest of the series. The Red Bulls were now down a proven player -- for the rest of the series.2. Equalizer
A minute into stoppage time, the Dynamo were awarded a corner kick. Brad Davis swung a cross near post, where an unmarked Bobby Boswell redirected the ball with a header to the far post.
Red Bulls GK Luis Robles was able to put his hands on the ball to keep it in play. Unfortunately, the ball fell right in front of Cummings, who doesn't miss from inches out.
1. Win or go home on Wednesday Some interesting questions will be answered Wednesday night at Red Bull Arena. Can the Dynamo sustain two halves like the final half on Sunday? What difference will having Kinnear back make? Can they exploit the Red Bulls defense with Olave playing?
As Petke stated after Sunday's match, "We're gonna see which team has the most character."