I just watched the Red Bulls beat Juventus 3-1 in New York, a game that made me even more dejected about New England's performance against Benfica on Wednesday. The final score accurately reflects the performances of the two teams.
If you hadn't seen the game, you might think, well Juventus had a terrible season for their standards anyway, and they probably brought a B-side to face New York. It's true that they were missing a handful of important players to the World Cup, like Buffon, Chiellini, Cannavaro, Camoranesi, Marchisio, Melo, and Iaquinta. Yeah, that's a lot. However, they still had Del Piero, Trezeguet, and Diego in the starting XI, as well as Grosso, whom Marcelo Lippi recently cut from Italy's preliminary 30. Amauri came off the bench at halftime.
Not only that, but New York's was a team called "a largely reserve team" by the FSC commentator (I forget who exactly was calling the game). Let me tell you about the first two goals. The first was scored by Jeremy Hall, a 21-year old rookie who has been a regular for NY this season; it came off a 25-yard rocket that hit the post by a guy named Irving Garcia, who is 22 years old and has played a total of zero minutes in 2010. The second goal was scored by another 22-year old named Conor Chinn, who has started zero games in 2010 but has three substitute appearances. Juan Pablo Angel did not start; he came on in the 68th minute.
This is the team that beat Juventus. It wasn't even a defend-and-counterattack performance, as you may have expected. In fact, it kind of looked like a good Serie A game. It was weird-- you could actually tell that New York had midfielders. Weird, that is, to me, who's used to watching the Revolution. There's a legitimate difference in quality between New York (15 points in 9 games) and New England (8 points in 10 games). New York is good.