It was certainly a night with theatrics. Little more than 24 hours after being traded from Toronto to New York and just a mere two hours after meeting his teammates for the first time, De Rosario made his debut with the New York squad. And only two minutes after being brought in as a sub for Medhi Ballouchy in the second half, De Rosario made his first touch. He launched the ball forward into the gap where Dane Richards picked it up and knocked it into the net, giving New York a 1-0 lead.
It was a Hollywood beginning, one that New York hopefully would symbolize their game going forward.
And then Cam Weaver spoiled the celebration minutes later; in the 50’, Weaver picked up the ball from a missed header and shot it into the net behind Coundoul , giving him his first goal on the season and an equalizer that would eventually pull the game into a 1-1 draw.
It was a game where seemingly everything was going New York’s way. They outshot Houston by a whopping 22-9 margin, putting a little under half of those (9) on target. They had 8 corner kicks to Houston’s 3, and were caught offsides merely once during the full 90. New York was certainly the aggressor in this match, and their possession dominance shone through.
There were several other chances for New York to pull away in the remaining second half, the best of which came off the head of Thierry Henry. De Rosario, again, launched a cross that went just wide of goal in the 90’, and Henry won the header and struck it towards the top of the goal. Credit where credit is due, Houston goalkeeper Tally Hall made a spectacularly acrobatic save, tipping what would have assuredly been the go-ahead goal over the net and giving Houston their well-earned point.
There was certainly a lot of optimism for New York coming into this match, having their full squad returning to action from international duty plus one: Dwayne De Rosario. They had just left a tough match at Columbus having stole a point and to follow it up with a resounding win would have been a potent message. Conversely, Houston had been performing erratically in their first two matches.
Though the stars had aligned for New York this week in much the same way they misaligned in Columbus the previous week, New York departs for Philadelphia with another point. Given their dominance throughout the match, it certainly comes across as a disappointment.
At the same time, one must also consider that the players coming back from international duty were tired from their two matches in four days this past weekend and also did not practice with the team this week; Agudelo certainly looked sluggish on the pitch. De Rosario also had come in just hours earlier to meet his teammates. It’s a disappointing outcome for sure, but one that is somewhat understandable given the circumstances.
With a full week of practice behind them, the team travels this week to take on the Philadelphia Union (2-1) who currently lead the Eastern conference with six points, one point more than the Red Bulls. It will be a real test of strength, and all eyes will be on New York this week.
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
Referee’s Assistants: Peter Manikowski; Claudio Badea
4th Official: Armando Villarreal
Time of Game: 1:51
Weather: Clear and 58 degrees