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Interrogating the stoppage time insanity of Sunday night's thriller at Red Bull Arena

Columbus will host the Cup Finals. The Red Bulls are going on vacation. How it happened defies delineation.

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the Patriots-Broncos game would end a couple hours later and it was a pretty big deal. That's fair. But you can buy your Brock Osweiler cardboard cutout, Fathead, sex doll, and/or officially-licensed tea set later-- let's go back and figure out what the hell happened in the closing seconds at Red Bull Arena last night.

Yes, the first ninety minutes were not important. We're tossing all that down the memory hole.

I only want to talk about the last five minutes, when we were reminded in the most turbulent of ways that the ball is round, and that the game can change direction at any time.

Let's begin in the second minute of stoppage time, with the Red Bulls still needing two goals to stay alive.

90' +2: Dude! Gonzalo Veron comes up short...

  • Three Red Bulls touched the ball inside the eighteen-yard box. Two of them did so multiple times.
  • Somehow, midseason newcomer Veron got the ball at his feet at point-blank range.
  • In a parallel universe, the Red Bulls probably dink one between a few pairs of legs and score here.
  • PHUN PHACT: Last December, New York City sent Sal Zizzo, who begins this passage of play, to the Red Bulls in exchange for a loan deal for goalkeeper Ryan Meara.

90' +3: DUDE, Anatole Abang... scores? It's not over?!?

What a time to climb the ladder! We knew that the Red Bulls love to press, and they do so with confidence. It's been arguably their biggest strength under Jesse Marsch. But this was something else entirely.

Really, though, Bradley Wright-Phillips is definitely offside for the scoring header.

The officials either judged BWP to be sufficiently removed from the play in question, or they just didn't see it and are the generally crappy, stone-age, witless MLS refs with whom we're already duly acquainted.

Props to Crew SC's Michael Parkhurst for his behavior immediately following the goal. It's not like he isn't going to let the home team grab the ball and set it back up in the center circle, but he certainly does commit to making that process as annoying and time-wastey as possible.

Is there an award for trolling someone just by standing a certain way? This kind of kinesthethic control might not earn a man another national team call-up on its own, but it's the kind of performance that, at the very least, deserves a Golden Globe nomination.


What did Chubbs Peterson say to Happy Gilmore? Just taaaaaaaaap it in. Just tap it in! Tap-tap-tap-a-roo.

Well. As I watched this game on the television while streaming Patriots-Broncos on my computer, my mind was pregnant with but a single thought:

Brock Osweiler would have scored that.

Clearly -- based on some unseen karmic debt coming back for collection, no doubt -- the Red Bulls' luck had run out. This was probably as close as MLS can hope to come to a Kun-Aguero-against-QPR mega-finish in this lifetime. Considering that, even the NYCFC faithful likely would have felt a strange jolt of excitement if a second goal had come tumbling in at the death. It wouldn't have won the game for the Red Bulls, after all. Not right away.

But think of it this way: how terrible would it have been to see two goals in added time, followed by two fifteen-minute extra time periods and perhaps a penalty shootout awash in ridiculous drama, all before a downright vacant Red Bull Arena?

Frankie Hejduk would have popped all his remaining blood vessels.

Hopefully, when the book on this season is printed, bound, shipped, and dropped at your door by an aerial drone, we'll only remember what happened on the field, and not what wasn't happening in the seats around it.

Because, damn, no matter which team you support, that finish deserved a louder roar than Red Bull Arena could manage.

Last year around this time, Red Bull fans' rallying cry was, in honor of ousted gaffer Mike Petke, "LEGENDS DESERVE BETTER." That was a true statement then, and it still is now. But shouldn't that apply to legendary endings as well?