By Kevin Koczwara
Manager Hans Backe and the New York Red Bulls had a lot of work to do last winter after a dismal 2009 season that saw the team finish with Major League Soccer’s worst record (5-6-19). Last night all the hard work paid off as the team clinched its second regular season Eastern Conference Championship in club history – the first in 10 years.
“There was just room for improvement. We couldn’t do worse than last year. We just came in and worked hard, and we [qualified for the playoffs],” said Red Bulls midfielder Dane Richards after defeating the New England Revolution, 2-0, Thursday night. Richards scored the game-winning goal. “It’s not over yet with the playoffs. Hopefully we have three more games left, and we can go all the way with it.”
New York transformed from a struggling club in a hot bed of soccer to an ideal place to play in less than a season. Much of the transformation had little to do with the the big offseason and midseason moves that littered headlines.