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John Tolkin saves a poor performance


Photo by Matt Kremkau

By Daniel Feuerstein

This was an ugly game from the get-go. There was no flow, no cohesiveness, and all attacking runs ended in a complete thud. Nothing was going right for the Red Bulls in this match, and while they did improve in the second half of the match, still nothing was going right for them. Especially with an injury for Dante Vanzeir who looked like he pulled a hamstring in his right leg.

He tried to give it a go once he got treatment for it, but it finally ended his night sadly in the 28th minute. Hopefully, it's not that bad of an injury, but this is what happens when you play in the Leagues Cup and get stopped short with a week &  half of nothing before the league season resumes. It was all broken out there and while this was the 100th meeting between them and DC United, you really had that sinking feeling that Wayne Rooney's side was going to steal the full three points and sneak in a goal out of nowhere. 

But as always the defending is currently this club's bread and butter as goals have been very hard to come by within these past several seasons after the Bradley Wright-Phillips era ended. The strikers are still lacking goal-scoring methods, Lewis Morgan has been on the injury list for the majority of the season, and while it does look like things have improved, it really hasn't. 

But once again when he matters the most, John Tolkin has risen to the occasion with his once goal in a season that has been match-winners, giving the Red Bulls the big three points that they have needed to get a big victory and this time it would come very late inside regulation time. After getting fouled just outside the area along the far side Tolkin & Daniel Edelman stood at the ball trying to measure how to deliver or play for the net.

In the 88th minute, Tolkin delivered a bending ball that bounced just in front of DC United Goalkeeper Tyler Miller and squeezed past him just inside the far post for the only goal of the match that sent the Red Bull Arena crowd into a frenzy. A moment of good fortune with a bit of skill to finally break the deadlock and found its way into the back of the net. For sure that goal led to a big victory against their fiercest rivals and bragging rights to return to league play.

"Yeah, I saw the wall was a little bit inside and the keeper was a little bit too far to my right and I thought I could sneak it in there. The grass was slick so I was able to get that little bounce and, yeah, found the back of the net." Said John Tolkin.

If not for John Tolkin who found the back of the net, there was going to be some serious grumblings from everyone about this game, before Lionel Messi & Inter Miami come over this coming weekend for the big moment in MLS history. To not secure a big win to get back on the positive side of the ledger would've been a massive lost opportunity to stay near the playoff line. Even though Montreal did win their match and kept the Red Bulls out, there is still plenty of time for them to catch up and make a big run.

But that is going to have to change drastically and they must be better at converting goals, than just defending all night long, because they will face the crop of the East with road games again FC Cincinnati, New England, Philadelphia, Nashville, DC United again & a home game with Chicago. They must continue to play strong and score multiple goals or else they will not qualify for the playoffs for the first time since 2009 which was their final home match at Giants Stadium, before moving to Red Bull Arena. 


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