By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench
Sunday, October 20th: 4-3 Loss (Added Extra Time)
Folks, scratch one off the soccer bucket list.
With a couple of emails, I got a press pass to Talen Energy Stadium to see the first round of the 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs. My first away match.
Of course, I would have much preferred to see this match in beautiful downtown Harrison. But that is how it goes when the Red Bulls land in 6th place ahead of a single elimination tournament.
We Won’t Hesitate
Josh Sims, the stunner from Southampton. His first goal for the boys in Red came just six minutes into the match. Just another name to add to the long list of 2019 goalscorers for the Red Bulls. Tim Parker doubled the lead with a header than bobbled into the goal in slow motion. While Union midfielder Alejandro Bedoya pulled one back at the half hour mark, the Red Bulls kept the game in their hands. Tom Barlow restored the two-goal lead in stoppage time. It was all going so well.
When There’s One Day Here and the Next Day Gone
Sims got hurt and had to leave the match. Alejandro “Kaku” also left the match in pain. Add to that Marc Rzatkowski and Kemar Lawrence getting banged around quite a bit and Parker going full ‘Brute Squad’ and getting himself in yellow card danger… I’ve said it before: when one piece of the puzzle is lost, the whole thing suffers.
‘Suffers’ is a pretty good way to summarize what happened next.
There’s Not Much Time Left Today
Actually, there was a ton of time. Because thanks to goals from Jack Elliott and Fafa Picault, the game was 3-3 at 90 minutes and went into extra time. This was the third game of the first round that went for 120. It was just enough time for Philly to bring on Marco Fabian to seal the deal for the Union. His cross floated into the net at the end of the first half of extra time. I think he was just as surprised as anyone. Try as they might, New York couldn’t get that fourth goal, something they had trouble doing all season.
I Loved You Now Like I Loved You Then
Yeah, but aside from that…
Look, it’s sad to see the Red Bulls exit like this. They didn’t have what it takes to get through the playoffs. I’m sad but not surprised. But it’s not the end of my world. At the risk of adding a second song to this article, my love for the team doesn’t cost a thing. My hopes are not hung on what silverware they hold. Red Bull fans want their team to finally get a MLS Cup because it’s an outward symbol of the passion they have had, the fight they have shown.
If anyone who calls themselves a fan says they’re going to find another team to support, they were never a fan.
I pondered these things on my two-hour drive up the Turnpike. And they will not leave me as I look to the conclusion of this post-season tournament. But I’ll be there when the light comes in. Just tell ’em we’re survivors.
P.S. I really hoped you’ve enjoyed the playlist I built over the course of the season. It’s been an important creative exercise for me. Here’s Tom Cochrane’s version of the song, although Rascal Flatts’s version is good, too.
Featured image: John Perdicaro
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