Cooper looks to be in tears. Henry goes straight to the fans.
What an incredible second half. An open cup tie of a game burst into life with sendings off, retaken penalties and a dramatic late winner for DC. The visitors rode their luck at times, and New York deployed their game plan as best they could, but at the end DeLeon's 7th of the season was coolly taken and made the difference.
DC will play Houston in the Conference final. New York will tuurn to the off-season. have we seen the last of Hans Backe?
Thanks for all your tweets and emails. There was no way to use them all in a frantic second half, but thank you. Steve will be live shortly with RSL vs Seattle. But it's good night from me...
DC UNITED WIN! Final thoughts in a moment...
Geiger looks at his watch. Pearce sends a cross in from the left and Cooper gets to it but a free kick is given to the visitors.
No idea why Henry din't take that kick. last chance. Tainio lofts it long, then Henry sends one in from the left and Willis claims it. We're over the four minutes.
"Henry, Henry" chant the New York Red Bulls fans, and he's over the ball. Henry lines up, but it's Miller who curls the shot up and over.
Free kick on the edge of the area in the second of four minutes of added on time. Just to the right of the D. Dudar coming on for Pontius...
Lindpere's cross headed behind by McDonald. New York bringing Digao (Kaka's brother) on for Lade. Miller on for Lindpere. Salihi on for Pajoy. Corner will be taken.
Immediately Digao heads it down but it's hoofed clear. More New York pressure.
Unbelievable! Robbie Russell sprints forward to slide the ball past the defense with Lade having played De Leon onside. In acres of space the DC man slides the ball under Robles. Surely that wins it.
Lade skips inside Neal to keep the ball moving and New York work the ball sharply round the box until finally a low cross comes in from Pearce and is looped up and into the arms of Willis by McDonald.
Now Cahill sprints down the left and gets round the outside, but overruns the ball with Cooper free at the back post.
A tired looking Cooper tries to turn Jakovic on the edge of the box, to feed a ball to Henry, but he can't get his legs untangled and the ball ricochets harmlessly clear. At the other end Pontius who's played down the right more in this half, looks to have got past his full back but the ball goes for a goal kick. End to end.
Pontius has some space down the right and angles into the box, going over as he cuts inside Holgersson. He punches the turf in frustration when no penalty appears, but he was reaching there.
New York have men forward at a throw, but Saragosa does well to force McCarty off the ball as he looks to turn on goal.
New York still pushing forward in this crazy sequence of the game. Now McCarty just has to touch the ball home as Henry gets to the left byline and slides a perfectly paced ball across the box, but the midfielder is leaning back and blazes over. That was a big chance again.
DC have a free kick and for a second Kitchen's knock down looks like it might be dangerous in the box, but McCarty is back up the other end to hack clear.
Elliot Turner emails:
"Profound realization: Dax McCarty is not a forward. Please, feel free to tell Henry and Cahill this important fact."
@kidweil Rafa Marquez is the surest Red Card bet in big games since the heyday of Paul Scholes— Eric M. Calhoun (@bullcitysports) November 9, 2012
Indeed... Still, he waited till the second leg of the semi-final this year. Ten minutes to go. New York 0 DC United 0.
The replay of the encroachment incident has been shown and there were Red Bulls players running in.
Pontius is clear down the right and shoots an an acute angle across the face off the goal. Just wide. This game is wild right now.
10 men each. Marquez lunges in on Pontius and picks up a second yellow!
Henry sizes up for a shot on the edge of the box, but it's blocked. The game is at a fever pitch right now.
Geiger has previous for these sorts of decisions - in fact he made DC retake a kick under similar circumstances this year.
Joe Willis will come in as the substitute keeper. Chance to make himself a DC legend.
Another DC player looks to have been booked as several of them trash talk Cooper by the spot. Cooper concentrating as he prepares to take the kick. He's never missed an MLS penalty.
He scores, but Geiger is making him retake it - encroachment!
And it's saved! Cooper's missed one now. Willis goes down to his left to beat the kick out.
Scything move by New York and Cooper goes straight down the middle and takes the ball round Hamid. He's brought down and we go to the spot, with Hamid sent off as last man!
This game turning into a great cup tie as both sides try to haul themselves ahead. Lade brings down Saragosa on the halfway line and DC push men up for the free kick. Diagonal balls come in repeatedly until Marquez hoofs clear. Cahill limping a little by the way.
How did New York not score? Good work down the left and the ball is crossed into Cahill who gets ahead of his man on the edge of the six yard box, and the ball breaks for McCarty at point blank range. But Hamid makes a superb instinctive stop to keep his side in it.
Immediately DC go up the other end and Pontius just scoops his shot on the turn over. End to end right now.
Boskovic goes for placement and curls his shot up and over the wall, but over the top corner, where he was aiming, too.
Less than half an hour to go.
DC United are furious as Marquez jumps high on Pontius and catches him with his arm. Pontius is flattened and being treated, and DC have a central free kick 25 yards out, while Marquez has a yellow card to his name. DC wanted red.
CHANCE FOR HENRY! Henry curls a lovely free kick to the back post that Cahill nods back across goal towards Holgersson, who claims he was pushed as he went up. A few seconds later it's Henry who gets his head to a cross, running to the near post - only to see his glanced header go just past the far post. Still 0-0.
Boskovic drops deep and finds Pajoy, who looks up but can't see Pontius or DeLeon in enough space to do anything too dangerous. Red Bulls regain possession and now they have a free kick to the right of the DC half, as Kitchen takes down Lade.
Volume and tempo rising here as New York press and DC quicken their own counter attacks. DeLeon fashions a little bit of space just to the right and fires a low but not powerful shot from outside the box, that Robles has to at least get behind and stop. Game opening up now. Will we see a goal?
Cooper's shot is deflected at the last minute as Jakovic throws himself in front of his drve from the edge of the box. Another corner, another clearance.
Now Cahill barges into the box down the right and i barged off the ball by his nemesis Kitchen, to howls of disapproval by the New York fans at that end, who want a penalty. Hardly...
DC get their own period of possession going now and they look like they're trying to move the ball a little quicker so far in this half. Boskovic can't find Pajoy with the final ball, but that's better from the visitors.
Attendance looks crap....postponement entirely to blame - @kidweil— Darragh Keane (@MousieKid) November 9, 2012
Postponement, rescheduling, minimal mass transit, closed roads, downed trees, power cuts, gas shortages and a little sprinkling of special sauce, Darragh.
Henry does well to keep a clearance in on the left and races clear down the left and into the box, before sliding a ball between the last defender and the keeper to where he expected Cooper to have peeled off to the back post. He'd darted inside though and the ball slides out. Neither man looks at each other.
A minute later Hamid claims comfortably after a deep Henry free kick is headed goalward tamely by Cahill. Still New York 0 DC 0 but New York starting to press again early.
Lindpere having a fascinating tussle with Robbie Russell tonight. The Estonian looking more engaged than of late so far.
Now Pontius pounces on a slip by Lade and gets down the right, but support is slow to arrive and DC can't create a clear shot. Holgersson heads it clear for a throw.
OK we're off again. New York kick off and go on the attack immediately.
Don't forget that straight after this game Steve Busfield will be ploughing his way through Real Salt Lake vs Seattle Sounders. If I get a link in time I'll add it here.
And tomorrow we'll have our second semi-final edition of five things we learnt.
...in the form of something for you to muse on:
@kidweil How do you think Kenny Cooper would look in a mustache?— On The Fire (@OnTheFire97) November 9, 2012
Personally I think he'd look like a giant Sebastian LeToux with a mustache.
Alexi Lalas set the bar high last night, with a look I have christened "Louche Pinkerton"
New York will feel it's a better game than Saturday night's for sure, with the Red Bulls effectively pushing their full backs up and McCarty and Lindpere tucking in to help the midfield dominate. They've created chances and the forwards and advanced midfielders have done well to not let DC settle and force turnovers.
For DC Pontius has been quiet, though towards the end of the half he began to come into it as Neal, his full back finally got up in support of him more, though so far Lade, run ragged in the first leg has done a solid enough job. On the other flank De Leon looks like he's missing Najar overlapping, though what moments of danger DC have created have tended to come down that side.
Still tied on the night and on aggregate though - who can break the deadlock in the second half?
Half time thoughts in a minute.
No added on time. DC look to end the half in possession but an aimless long ball gifts it back to New York who may launch one final attack. No time though...
Pressure from New York at the end of the half, as Lindpere holds off two men to earn yet another corner - this one off Russell down the left. Cahill gets the better of his marker Kitchen to run free to meet the corner in the six yard box, but it's just over his head and cleared.
Still no goals, but just for a moment here Pajoy looked to have sprung the New york defense at the back post as he just strayed offside in the box on the right hand side.
Another good chance for New York as Cooper scoops up a cross from the byline and the ball breaks for Lindpere on the edge of the box, but he takes too many touches and is forced wide. Eventually his cross in to Cahill at the edge of the box is bundled clear off the Australian.
DC just beginning to get some passes strung together as the half reaches a climax, but Holgersson picks up the ball on the edge of his own box and strides forward. Tainio picks up the ball and knocks it forward to where Henry pushes Russell in the back as they both jump for the ball - or attempts to give him a biscuit, if the Frenchman's look of shocked innocence is to be believed.
Boskovic is fouled by Lade, but makes sure of the decision by writhing a little.
Meanwhile, someone else has a take on Cahill:
@kidweil how has Cahill done for the Red Bulls since signing? Most notable part of his performance so far tonight is his tattoo— Tom (@coombeson) November 9, 2012
De Leon persists well to keep the ball moving on the right, then Neal does the same on the left - one of the few times he's been so advanced. The ball is worked back to Kitchen on the edge of the box, but his shot is charged down. Don't forget that the two DC full backs are changes from the other night. With New York pressing DC need to try to get their own full backs forward to give the hosts puse for thought about over-committing.
Nick De Leon sends a cross off Pearce from the corner of the box, that runs simply enough to Robles.
At the other end Pearce gets forward down the left to hang up a tempting cross that Jakovic gets to over McCarty to head clear. Now DC try to build. They'd like to get a toehold in this game in the last 10 minutes of the half.
...corner leads straight to a DC kick, as Cahill, who'd just been lectured alongside Kitchen in the box, is adjudged to have fouled his marker by an unimpressed referee.
Half an hour gone and the score is still New York 0 DC 0 - but the home side have a corner as they, and the crowd, sense this is the moment to ratchet the pressure...
Cooper chest the ball down for Henry whos efirst shot is blocked, then he drags back and shoots again - with a strong suspicion of handball as Jakovic blocks it. DC can't get it clear and the ball comes to Lindpere, who drops his shoulder left and fires a shot across goalthat's inches wide of the back post. Best chance for the home side. Henry's instincts in creating that second chance were pretty remarkable.
Long ball from Marquez is cut out by McDonald with Henry on his way behind the defense. Now Tainio tries the through ball, but Henry's flick on is slightly erratic. New York looking much more of a threat up front in this game, but DC holding up well and biding their time to inch into the game.
Lade sends a through ball to Cooper whose first touch beats everyone on the edge of the box, including himself, and Hamid can kick clear.
Another DC free kick from the halfway line. Taken short again and eventually the cross is headed clear by Cahill. DC trying to set themselves up for the angled crosses that brought them their goal the other night.
Lindpere gets past Russell on the left but is instantly tackled by Saragosa and from the throw DC can counter quickly. Lade is beaten on a mistake and Pontius races through, but Holgersson's trailing leg just cuts the ball out as the DC dangerman goes to cut inside.
DC just getting a few little glimpses more in the last few minutes, and now they have another free kick just inside the New York half as a fired up Tainio brings down Saragosa. Boskovic fakes to lob it into the box then slides it sideways to DeLeon, whose diagonal pass finds Pajoy. He brings it down but shoots high from a narrow angle in the box. Well worked set piece though.
Great chance for New York. Henry gets turned and runs at goal, before finding Cooper on the edge of the box, who instantly one touches it to McCarty arriving on the blind side, but his first time shot is parried clear by Hamid. He should have done better perhaps with the space he had.
From the corner the ball pinballs around until Marquez fires over from outside the box. Still New York 0 DC 0.
Boskovic in action again as he turns Tainio and is brought down 45 yards out. He takes the free kick but floats it harmlessly into Robles hands. DC retrieve the ball and try to turn that into some pressure, but the New York back line get the ball clear, just about.
Our esteemed editor drops by with a quick horticultural assessment
First corner for DC as Pontius arrives in suddenly at the back post and forces Lade to head the ball out as a deep cross comes in. Henry heads clear at the near post and eventually Lade and McCarty scrap the ball clear from Kitchen and Boskovic out left.
Lindpere knocked off the ball by Saragosa at the halfway line, but only a throw given. Now McCarty does get a free kick wide right, half way into the DC half. Henry takes it quickly and Holgersson, unmarked, races towards the near post, but can't redirect his header from a wide open position. DC went to sleep there.
...corner headed clear at the near post then nodded back in by Lade to where Cooper and Holgersson bundle their way to the ball at the expense of what looks like a handball decision. DC get the free kick and clear. Still New York 0 DC 0.
Early results for pressing higher up the field though.
Cooper forces the DC backline to hurry up their pass forward and New York reclaim, but the eventual long ball forward towards Lindpere is ushered out well by Russell. DC trying to hold possession but Henry and Cooper do well again to force the turnover and eventually the first corner as Neal has to turn behind...
DC will be content to see out the pressure for the first twenty minutes if they can, but New York at least doing their part by providing that pressure, with the full backs getting forward. DC pinned back, but not yet unduly stretched.
Marquez back on the ball to chest an attempted through ball down coolly.
He spreads it wide to where Lade is playing much higher up the field than in the first leg. Now Lade cuts inside to the right of the box and knocks a short pass to Henry outside the box. The captain adjusts his position and shoots low, but it's charged down and clear.
A nice long ball over the top from Holgersson finds McCarty, but his touch isn't great and DC work the ball clear.
Marquez agains slows the game to walking pace to try and marshall the attacking positions ahead of him. But now he's bundled off the ball and DC spring forward. De Leon goes down the right and cuts back a low cross for Pajoy, who tries a backheel at the near post, that Robles does well to smother. First clear chance of the game.
New York stroke the ball around the back. Marquez looks up thinking about the long ball then passes short. Lade has a surging run into the box down the right that will give him confidence. It's cleared for a throw that Cahill flicks on neatly, but only to the hands of Hamid. Lively start by New York.
Last huddles, Hans Backe pops his collar, Ben Olsen looks sardonic and we're off!
For all their their talk of wanting to play in the snow, the DC players have anoraks on as they walk out.
For New York, Cahill, McCarty and Lade are playing in short sleeves for what that's worth.
Detailed hemline notes as we get them.
New York Red Bulls: Robles; Lade, Holgersson, Marquez, Pearce; McCarty, Tainio, Cahill, Lindpere; Cooper, Henry
DC United: Hamid; Russell, McDonald, Jakovic, Neal; DeLeon, Saragosa, Kitchen, Boskovic, Pontius (c); Pajoy
As you were last night then...
Commissioner Don Garber wrote this letter today about the handling of last night's postponement.
It's met with mixed responses. David Nelson was there last night:
@kidweil Credit to Garber for the genuine mea culpa--a rare commodity in this day & age.— David Nelson (@ivanomartin) November 9, 2012
While others were less understanding - here's a DC fan...
@kidweil as an Evertonian who had not bothered to follow any US soccer this year, how has Tim Cahill settled in?Too lazy to look this up.— Good Intit (@goodintit) November 9, 2012
He's got into all the right areas, hasn't scored as many as people expected, but he's also a good match with Tainio in midfield because he runs a lot and Tainio is a lot more, er, cerebral these days.
He also looks like a fairly typical European mid-season signing, in that the first season is all about adapting to the league. As Robbie Keane showed this year, you generally get a better idea of how someone is adapting in their second year.
Hope you managed to drag your eyes to the end of these words Good Intit.
The DC players were also fired up and angry about the game being called last night. They made their way over to where the large DC traveling contingent was penned in to thank them for coming and seemed to draw some inspiration from that connection. Around 300 hardy DC fans are expected to have made the repeat journey back up tonight, and while they may not be as large in number as last night, expect the hashtag #the300 to get a workout, as fans and team alike revel in us-against-the-world mentality.
New York meanwhile, may feel a sense of injustice that they are being blamed for the cancellation of a game they felt was being pushed forward against their wishes. It’s believed that as early as Tuesday they had asked for the game to be further postponed but with league bosses anxious to avoid further pressure on a schedule designed to allow maximum prep time for an uncertain MLS Cup destination, let alone potentially alienate their first year NBC TV partners, the decision was pushed to the last possible minute.
The loss of Najar, to a stupid red card in the first game, was a deeply frustrating one for DC. The recently converted full back had been jokingly referred to as “Cafu” by a team mate, earlier this season, after taking to his new position like a duck to water. Against New York, for the first hour, he showed all his old winger’s instincts to get forward repeatedly - interacting well with the impressive rookie Nick De Leon - whose movement off the ball pulled open all sorts of space for Najar to run into. Najar’s moment of petulance (the intention when he threw the ball that hit the referee is irrelevant - he should never have given the referee a decision to make) may cost his side’s attacking movement dear down that right flank - which could be crucial if New York end up reshuffling their pack on that side.
On the other flank, Chris Pontius will need to pick up where he left off - the player gave New York’s rookie Connor Lade, hugely impressive this year, a torrid time the other night and remains DC’s best attacking hope, even having missed his penalty the other night. Boskovic too, has been hit and miss this season for DC, but has been better down the stretch and could be key, but really DC’s hopes depend on Pontius having a good game and De Leon showing he can wrest the initiative on the other side.
So it’s doubtful we’ll see a different line up than the one Backe was poised to send out last night, with Marquez getting an extra day of recovery and Cooper set to line up alongside Henry up front, as they renew what might be the "coldest hottest" partnership in MLS, as we discussed last week.
So right after this game Busfield will be with you for the second leg of the RSL v Seattle game, that’s goalless from the first leg, and last night we saw both the regular season conference winners exit the competition, as first Sporting Kansas City, then San Jose Earthquakes, were knocked out by Houston Dynamo and LA Galaxy respectively.
One by-product of those results is that the picture for MLS Cup has changed once again, and as it stands the two sides playing tonight are the highest remaining seeds left in the competition. If tonight’s winner can make it through their conference final with Houston Dynamo they will host MLS Cup. Here are the current seedings of the remaining sides. Highest remaining seed (seeding determined by regular season finish) hosts the final.
DC United (3)
New York Red Bulls (4)
Real Salt Lake (5)
Seattle Sounders (7)
LA Galaxy (8)
Houston Dynamo (9)
There are other intriguing possibilities thrown up by the seedings though - not least that the lowest two seeds, LA and Houston, who were also the 2011 finalists, are the two sides who have played themselves into form in these playoffs (though LA boss Bruce Arena argued last night that in fact his team has been the best side in the league since July).
The Eastern Conference final first leg in Houston, has been moved to Sunday to accommodate the cancellation of last night’s game here. Houston must still be licking their lips at the prospect of hosting the weary winner of tonight’s game and perhaps putting them under the same sort of pressure that took them past Sporting KC via a two goal first leg lead.
...so where were we?
Welcome to another attempt to play a game of soccer at Red Bull Arena, after last night’s already re-scheduled home game was deferred once again due to snow.
Yesterday's game was postponed over half an hour after scheduled kick off time, when the MLS VP who deals with all such competitive decisions, Nelson Rodriguez, made the decision that the snow was falling faster than the ground staff and various fan volunteers grabbing shovels, could clear it.
Needless to say it was not a popular decision in the stadium. DC United fans were angry - they’d showed up 700 strong after the league paid for coaches to bring them up in the wake of the superstorm Sandy-imposed switching of the home-and-home series, and now they faced a four hour plus journey home in the snow, with the only compensation being a chance to do it all again today. DC United players were angry - coach Ben Olsen clearly fancied his side’s chances of getting a result in the conditions and perhaps felt that New York’s players would not adapt to them as much as the combative side he has moulded in his own image. The New York fans who’d braved New Jersey’s storm battered transportation infrastructure were just as angry, as some of them made their way back to homes that have been without power or heat for much of the past week, along roads that may be flooded and blocked, and in cars running on rationed gas.
The only person relatively happy was New York coach Han Backe - who called the decision to postpone “an easy decision”, but wondered whether it should have been made sooner, as did most people not directly involved with making the call.
Anyway, we should have a game of soccer tonight, and it will finally bring what has become a windswept sage between these two sides, to a close - even if we have to go to penalties to do it. I’ll be with you all the way, wrapped up tight and hunched against the elements, and prodding at the keyboard through thick mittens (refusing to let the weather affect the productivity techniques of a lifetime).
I’ll be back shortly with more build up and team news. In the meantime get your tweets and emails coming into @KidWeil or firstname.lastname@example.org and to set the scene for you, here’s what happened in the first leg of this game - way back on Saturday night.