Heading into to today’s MLS Conference Championships, we knew that both series had more than enough points of interest to shape coverage. A dozen glittering, gleaming narratives about New York’s past and New England’s future danced across our screens, vying for our attention. Each one of them more lovely than the last.
The New England Revolution’s big 2-1 road win over Red Bull New York certainly didn’t lack for talking points. It even added a few we weren’t counting on:
- Was the ref giving out yellow cards (10 total) to maximize bulk rate savings?
- Does Teal Bunbury know he’ll never pull this off again? Is he OK with that?
- Is there time for the league to retract the away goals rule? (A personal query)
- Is Ambroise Oyongo destined for Merseyside?
- Can MVP voting be re-counted and and include a player that just arrived in the summer?
- Is Mike Petke in trouble when he gets home?
What we do know is that the Revolution are feeling pretty good about themselves and New York have a lot to figure out before Saturday. Primarily, who is starting at striker? Gold Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips will miss the second leg of he series due to yellow card accumulation. That could mean Thiery Henry moving back up top and/or Tim Cahill rejoining the starting line-up, finally getting an opportunity to play his natural position in a big moment.
For New England, confidence is probably as high as it’s been for any team in recent memory. There’s no sign that they can be stopped. They return home with two away goals from a match that only saw them with 39% possession and outshot 18-8. The reborn Revolution aren’t the sort of team that require a ton of time on the ball, as RBNY learned, and they continue to make better use of their opportunities that any team left in the postseason. None of these things bode well for New York.