Johnson saves the game for the Fire; Red Bulls play to scorless tie

Posted on 14 August 2010 by dkarell

With all the light bulbs flashing in the stands, and the five designated players dazzling with their skills on the field, it was a rookie goalkeeper who spun the highlight reel and shined the brightest of them all.

Chicago Fire’s Sean Johnson, making just his second career start, made several huge saves in the last 20 minutes of the match to keep the clean sheet.

The New York Red Bulls failed to score a goal, despite having Juan Pablo Angel, Thierry Henry, Mac Kandji, and new signing Rafa Marquez all on the field at the same time.

For Chicago, it was Freddie Ljungberg’s first start for the club, and eventually, after being brought into the game in the second half, the debut for new signing Nery Castillo.

Chicago began the game with plenty of posession, taking advantage of the consistantly out of place Red Bull midfield to launch attacks upfield.

Ljungberg played like a man posessed, making strong runs through the middle of the field, and early on being the focal point of the offense.

However, the Red Bull defensive line stayed strong, and were able to repel many of the early Fire attacks.

After twenty minutes, Thierry Henry had his first chance of the game for the Red Bulls, dribbling past a couple of defenders, but his shot on goal was week and went right to Johnson.

Towards the end of the first half, Chicago had a great chance to take the lead. Brian McBride took advantage of Tim Ream, who was caught up field and out of position, as he dribbled in towards goal. McBride saw the forward run from Ljungberg, and played him a through ball. But Ljungberg was unable to get a shot off, as the bouncing pass deflected off of his shin and out of play.

After Thierry Henry left the match in the 45th minute, due to muscle cramps, his replacement Dane Richards made an immediate impact.

Marquez played a long through ball on the ground into the box, and Richards was able to beat his man and race onto the ball. His quickly played pass through the box missed everyone though, and the Red Bulls had to settle for a 0-0 scoreline at the half.

In the second half, the Red Bulls began to control the game more, using more possession, and being patient on the attack.

In the 68th minute, Johnson made his first of many huge saves, when Juan Pablo Angel’s quick strike from just outside of the left side of the box was sizzling towards the near post, before being parried away.

With the Red Bulls holding the momentum, and looking for a win, coach Hans Backe brought in Salou Ibrahim in the 80th minute to try and get the game’s first goal. This set up an epic final ten minutes of the match.

Johnson made a name for himself, saving a shot from Seth Stammler, a terrific volley off a corner kick from Tim Ream, and a header from Angel, all in the span of a couple of minutes.

In the end, the Red Bulls and Fire settled for the 0-0 draw, though it was by no means a boring match.

The draw hurts New York though, who has not won a game in MLS play since June 26, a 3-0 win at Kansas City. Since then, they have recorded four draws and a loss.

The Red Bulls shake off the dust quickly, as they head back to Red Bull Arena to face Toronto F.C. on Wednesday, August 11.

Match Facts

Scoring Summary:

None

Discipline Summary:

CHI – Baggio Husidic (Yellow Card) 31’
NYRB – Tim Ream (Yellow Card) 32’
NYRB – Carlos Mendes (Yellow Card) 80

Lineups:

Chicago Fire: Sean Johnson; Dasan Robinson (Steven Kinney, 59’), C.J. Brown, Wilman Conde, Krzystof Krol; Marco Pappa (Deris Umanzor, 92’), Logan Pause Baggio Husidic, Mike Banner; Freddie Ljungberg; Brian McBride (C) (Nery Castillo, 56’)

New York Red Bulls: Bouna Coundoul; Chris Albright, Carlos Mendes, Tim Ream, Roy Miller; Rafael Marquez (Seth Stammler, 61’), Tony Tchani (Salou Ibrahim, 80’), Joel Lindpere, Macoumba Kandji; Thierry Henry (Dane Richards, 45’), Juan Pablo Angel

Referee: Baldomero Toledo
Referee’s Assistants: Daniel Belleau; James Conlee
4th Official: Abiodun Okulaja
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Clear and 85 degrees
Attendance: 21,868

1 Comments For This Post

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