Before the day even started the team knew it would be a tough match. Not only did the New York Red Bulls win this years' Supporters Shield, but head coach Dominic Kinnear would be suspended for the match. The MLS disciplinary committee ruled that Kinnear would serve a one match suspension after leaving his area during the fracas that occurred at the end of the play-in game against the Montreal Impact.
After fifteen minutes of even play, the Red Bulls began to gain ground, which lead to a goal in the 22nd minute. Thierry Henry sent in a cross that was just outside of Tally Hall's reach and Tim Cahill was able to split Eric Brunner and Corey Ashe, giving Cahill an easy header. Ten minutes later, a counter attack burned the Dynamo as Eric Alexander cut back, getting past the defense and slotting the ball to the near post, sending the Dynamo to a two goal deficit.
Despite controlling 68% of possession in the first half, the Dynamo's midfield could not figure out a way around the Red Bulls defense. The opposite was true of the Red Bulls, who were able to easily get past the Dynamo's defense - mainly by exploiting Brunner's mismatch against Cahill and their inability to defend the counter.
The halftime pep talk appeared to work after the Red Bull's David Carney failed to clear the ball. Ricardo Clark pounced on the mistake, got a hold of it and sent it in for a goal, bringing the team and the stadium back to life. The team picked up the pace in the second half, the goal helping to shake off the first half.
Jamison Olave was shown a straight red in the 65th minute for a scissor tackle on Omar Cummings from behind, leaving the Red Bulls with only 10 men on the field for the remaining 25 minutes of the game. The card will also leave Olave out for the second leg of the tie.
With the man advantage, the Dynamo were able to start getting off more shots, but none of them made it into the net during regular time. In stoppage time, Brad Davis took a corner to the Dynamo, which was headed to goal by Bobby Boswell only to have it punched out by Robles. But Omar Cummings came in and tapped the ball into goal, and the Dynamo tied it up at 2-2. They held on for the last two minutes of the game and walked away with a hard fought draw.
That's so Metro? Psh, more like that's so Dynamo.
The next leg moves to Red Bull Arena, where New York will be without Olave and the Dynamo will have Kinnear back. It was already going to be a big one, but after today's game it's going to be a huge one, with both teams fighting to make it to the Conference finals.