Curse broken! New York Red Bulls win the 2013 Supporters' Shield
The Curse of Caricola is broken.
Heading into Sunday's sold-out home match against the Chicago Fire, the New York Red Bulls were the last, remaining MLS original club without a major trophy to its name.
Now, they have one: the MLS Supporters' Shield, awarded to the MLS club with the best regular-season record.
"It's a great feeling," Thierry Henry told MSG after the match. "I want to dedicate the Supporters' Shield to all the fans. We know how much it means to them. They've been waiting a long time for this. It will be a night that we will remember."
The Red Bulls needed to win on Sunday to leapfrog Sporting Kansas City in the Supporters' Shield standings and break their 18-year drought. They got the job done in convincing fashion. After conceding an early goal that put a familiar scare in their long-suffering supporters, the Red Bulls got a stunning equalizer from Henry and then stampeded to a 5-2 victory.
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Winning the Supporters' Shield earns New York a berth in the 2014-15 CONCACAF Champions League.
More immediately, they will enjoy home-field advantage throughout the upcoming MLS Cup Playoffs, meaning that should they reach the MLS Cup final, they would host the match at Red Bull Arena.
That journey will begin with the two-leg Conference Semifinal series against the winner of the Eastern Conference Knockout Game between the Houston Dynamo and Montreal Impact.
"This is history," head coach Mike Petke told MSG. "Tomorrow, we go back to work."
MLS SUPPORTERS' SHIELD WINNERS
2013: New York Red Bulls (17-9-8, 59 pts.)
2012: San Jose Earthquakes (19-6-9, 66 pts.)
2011: LA Galaxy (19-5-10, 67 pts.)
2010: LA Galaxy (18-7-5, 59 pts.)
2009: Columbus Crew (13-7-10, 49 pts.)
2008: Columbus Crew (17-7-6, 57 pts.)
2007: D.C. United (16-7-7, 55 pts.)
2006: D.C. United (15-7-10, 55 pts.)
2005: San Jose Earthquakes (18-4-10, 64 pts.)
2004: Columbus Crew (12-5-13, 49 pts.)
2003: Chicago Fire (15-7-8, 53 pts.)
2002: LA Galaxy (16-9-3, 51 pts.)
2001: Miami Fusion (16-5-5, 53 pts.)
2000: Kansas City Wizards (16-7-9, 57 pts.)
1999: D.C. United (23-9-0, 57 pts.)
1998: LA Galaxy (24-8-0, 68 pts.)
1997: D.C. United* (21-11-0, 55 pts.)
1996: Tampa Bay Mutiny* (20-12-0, 58 pts.)