2008, was a strange year for both New York Red Bulls fan, and MLS fans. The regular season had ended, the Red Bulls finished 5th in their Conference, thus not qualifying for the Play Offs…right? Wrong. The MLS only had 14 teams at the time, and the Red Bulls had more points than the 4th place team in the West, therefore, the Red Bulls had to go to the West!
With a record of 10-11-9, that got the Red Bulls to 5th place, but at the time only the top 4 from each conference got through to the MLS Cup Play Offs – but a rarity happened – the Red Bulls had 48 points compared to the Colorado Rapids’ 45 points – this meant that the Red Bulls qualified as the 4th West Seed…but were favourites to be knocked out straight away in the Wild Card
The Red Bulls started their MLS Cup journey against the top Western seed, Houston Dynamo, who, on paper were favourites to knock the Red Bulls out, but football doesnt work on paper – as the Red Bulls went through 4-1 on aggregate.
The Conference Final. Well, it was mad. It was the 3rd West Seed v 4th West Seed. The reward. A MLS Cup final. The Red Bulls played Real Salt Lake, and Van den Burgh scored in the 22nd minute, and Richard could have finished it, but Real Salt Lake hit everything apart from the back of the net, missing an open goal as he hit the post, Clint Mathis hit the post, a injury time shot that hit the post, and some fine saves from Danny Cepero, the Red Bulls conquered the west.
The Cinderella story. Hopes were right that another upset as they faced top seed Columbus, but it was another metro moment as they fell 3-1 at the Home Depot Center.
It was a strange time winning the Western Conference, but was fun nevertheless!