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Sunday’s match is slated to be yet another intense rivalry for the Red Bulls, as is always the case when playing against a team like the New England Revolution. One guy who knows a thing or two about the New England-New York match up is just one appearance shy from moving into second place on New York's all-time list. That guy is Dane Richards.
“That’s unbelievable,” Richards said following Friday’s training session at Montclair State University. “Hopefully I can finish off with a championship this season.”
The Jamaican midfielder will appear in his 147th match Sunday, placing him second behind only Mike Petke’s total of 169.
So far this season Richards has appeared in 16 of the Red Bulls’ 17 games, providing a goal and two assists along the way.
Richards has been with the Red Bulls since joining MLS in 2007. He’s since tallied 11 goals, 26 assists and 131 starts out of 146 total games played. Richards remains second overall in total starts as well, 27 behind Petke’s 158.
After posting a 1-0-1 record over the past week's worth of action, including a win over D.C. United and a draw against Toronto, the Red Bulls find themselves in third place across the board in Week 17 Power Rankings.
One common theme in three of the four rankings is the placement of D.C., a team the Red Bulls pulled out a 'W' against in front of a sold-out crowd at Red Bull Arena on June 24.
Here's what MLSsoccer.com had to say about placing the Red Bulls in third place, one spot behind DC:
"The Red Bulls have made themselves into one of the league's toughest outs, and with a schedule that features 10 of the last 16 at home (where they're undefeated), look poised to make their first-ever serious run at a Supporters' Shield."
"At first glance, a 1-1 tie with cellar-dwelling Toronto seems like a reason for New York to hang its head. But with injuries continuing to plague the back line, plus TFC's improved play, the Red Bulls will take the point and move on."
Soccer By Ives drops a subtle hint that New York may only be in third place because of a game in hand, which isn't all that discouraging since the Red Bulls could potentially leapfrog their rival this weekend, as D.C. will have a bye:
"Held to a 1-1 draw by Toronto, New York fell two points behind D.C. United for first place in the Eastern Conference, though the Red Bulls do have a game in hand. Getting a full 90 minutes out of Thierry Henry was an encouraging development."
I like where Sports Illustrated's Avi Creditor is going with this one, as he gives the Red Bulls a promotion from fifth overall to third and acknowledges New York's dominance over D.C. on June 24 (making him the only one to place D.C. United below the Red Bulls):
"It's hard to argue with Hans Backe's assessment that the Red Bulls' first 55 minutes against D.C. were the most complete performance that they've turned in this season. Even with Thierry Henry on the bench, New York managed to bounce back from an opening-minute lapse to overrun D.C. and respond to the 4-1 shellacking it suffered at RFK Stadium in April."
What's your take on this week's power rankings? Let us know what you think below.
Just last week Brandon Barklage had his second-career MLS goal nominated for MLSsoccer.com's Goal of the Week. This time it's Jan Gunnar Solli's turn, as his goal in Saturday's match against Toronto is up for the weekly title. Even Barklage makes a little cameo as well, thanks to his perfectly placed assist.
You know what to do - spread the word on Twitter and Facebook and get the vote count up. And of course, give DJ Solli a shout out on Twitter and let him know you're voting for him.
Cast your ballot before voting ends for your favorite goal of Week 17! The winner is determined by the total number of votes cast online and via text and is announced on Fridays.
Vote online or text goal code to 22442.
Voting runs until 11:59 pm PT on Thursdays.
For complete coverage of the AT&T Goal of the Week—including an archive of past winners—click here.
MSG's Tina Cervasio chats with Red Bulls rookie Connor Lade about his first season with the team, his growth as a player and who he looks to for tips on improving his game:
Despite an early of exchange of goals in the first six minutes of Saturday's match, the New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC finished locked in a 1-1 draw.
Jan Gunnar Solli picked up his second of the season in the fourth minute when he was on the receiving end of a beautifully placed cross from Brandon Barklage that allowed the Red Bulls to take an early 1-0 lead. Less than two minutes later, it was Toronto's Danny Koevermans who found the back of the net with a header that beat Red Bulls 'keeper Ryan Meara to level the score.
The score wouldn't change for the remainder of the match, but the Red Bulls did come close on a number of opportunities, including a Joel Lindpere shot that dinged off the post in the 44th minute, an Henry free kick that was just off the mark in the 49th minute and a Lindpere run into the box that was broken up just before he could get his foot on the ball in the 76th minute.
The Red Bulls are back in action Sunday, July 8, when they pay a visit to Gillette Stadium for a 7pm kickoff against the New England Revolution.
On July 15, the Red Bulls return home for the first match of a three-game home stand at Red Bull Arena. Get your tickets now for the July 15 match against Seattle, July 18 match against Chicago or the Rivalry Day match against Philadelphia on July 21. The first 5,000 fans 16 and under through the gates for the July 21 match will receive a free Red Bulls flat-brimmed cap.
Get your tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.
Here are a few photos from Saturday's match:
Jan Gunnar Solli kicked off the scoring in Saturday's match early on after drilling home a perfectly placed ball, courtesy of a Brandon Barklage cross. The goal is Solli's second of his MLS career, just one week after scoring his first-ever in the Red Bulls' 3-2 win over DC United.
Although online voting for the 2012 MLS All-Star continues now through July 2, you can do your part to make sure Heath Pearce makes his way to the star-studded match against Chelsea.
As of right now, Red Bulls defender Heath Pearce is currently third overall in text voting. The top player in text votes is guaranteed a spot on the All-Star team, so let's get that tally up.
All you have to do is text "PEARCE" to 22442. Voting is unlimited, so go crazy to make sure Pearce is playing in the July 25 MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park.
While you're at it, let Heath know you have his back by sending a Tweet to @HEATHGPEARCE.
We'll never grow tired of seeing Ryan Meara sitting atop the MLS rookie rankings, and thankfully neither is the staff at MLSsoccer.com.
In this week's installment, Meara continues to hold down the No. 1 spot after the Red Bulls won one and tied one over the past week of play. Here's what they have to say about Meara:
"Another week brought two more solid performances from the Red Bulls backstop, even if he didn't have much to do when it came to making saves. Drawing in Vancouver is nothing to be ashamed of, especially since he didn't have a chance of stopping Martín Bonjour's goal. Add in a home win against D.C., and New York have to be thrilled with their week."
Fellow rookie Connor Lade has come and gone from the Rookie Rankings over the course of the season, but he's back in it at No. 5 overall this week:
"After a brief appearance in these rankings, Lade is back, the result of two effective starts in once week against two of MLS' top sides. Hans Backe has even started experimenting with the rookie at midfield, where he slotted in against D.C. Who knows if he'll stay in the lineup, but for now, the Homegrown signing deserves a look."
Kudos to both rooks for getting the credit they deserve after each put in yet another strong effort on the pitch this past week.
The Red Bulls return to action Saturday when they visit Toronto for a 7pm kickoff on MSG.
Red Bull Arena will play host to three-straight home games in July when the Red Bulls take on Seattle July 15, Chicago July 18 and Philadelphia July 21. The first 5,000 fans 16 and Under for the July 21 match against Philadelphia will receive a free flat-brimmed cap. Get your tickets to any and all of the Red Bulls home matches at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.
Mike Petke knows a thing or two about the New York - DC United rivalry. After all, he spent a number of seasons on the pitch for both sides, before retiring after the 2010 season and assuming the role of assistant coach with New York.
Petke caught up with NewYorkRedBulls.com following Wednesday's training session to discuss the long-standing rivalry, his role as both a player and a coach and New York's valiant win over DC Sunday night at Red Bull Arena.
Having been on both sides of the New York-DC rivalry, what went through your mind Sunday night?
First and foremost it’s great to come out with the win. But that game right there, I believe, does a huge thing for MLS soccer in general. Especially for this year. Anybody who saw that game, whether you know everything or nothing about soccer, you walk away with a smile on your face. It was end-to-end, it was a great possession game and there was five goals scored. A phenomenal full house, and that’s the beauty of the game right there.
As a former player for both teams, what would normally go into your pre-game psyche as you prepped for a game like that, no matter what side you were on?
Take my rookie year. You know, just being thrown into it and not knowing the history – well, there wasn’t much history there, but not knowing the bitterness between the two, I was happy to be out there. From the second year and on I was amped up for that game. I got a couple of red cards throughout the years in those games, scored a couple of goals, for both teams actually in the rivalry, and it’s just one of those things that for a young league like us to have a rivalry and – not a true derby since it’s not the same city – but, you know, the American version of the Derby, it’s very important. It really gets fans and the team really pumped up. I made sure to walk around the locker room leading up to this game to the young guys and the new guys saying, ‘Listen, you know, if you don’t know anything about this rivalry, get on your computer, research it, or ask me. I don’t want you showing up that day and thinking it’s just like any old game.' And they got the picture.
What about extracting yourself from the game as a player and seeing it from the eyes of a coach now?
Oh it’s horrible. I hate it. I hated sitting on the bench with that crowd, with the fight that was going on on the field. You want to be involved in that more than just sitting on the sidelines watching. But it’s good to see some guys, most guys, get into it and realize what it is and almost live a little bit through them.
Having been a part of the rivalry at such an early stage, and seeing how it’s progressed over the years – not necessarily just on the field – but when you looked around at Red Bull Arena, the place was packed. You’ve seen Giants Stadium, RFK, and now this place…how has it grown?
There’s been many games throughout the last 13 years, 14 years, where I’ve scratched my head and said, ‘Uh, this is really a rivalry?’ It just hasn’t panned out. But many games have. That was, I think, the greatest environment I’ve been a part of for a rivalry like that. And there’s been many classic games between us, but I think that’s going to go down as possible the best rivalry game we’ve had with them.
Bigger picture now. Seeing how DC is playing this year as opposed to last year, where they are with the Red Bulls right now in the standings, do you see this thing possibly brewing into a postseason battle as well?
Well, if it does I hope that we have home-field advantage, to be honest with you. DC’s a very good team. Ben Olsen’s a very good friend of mine. I played with him for many years and I couldn’t be happier for him. He got thrown into a situation that he really didn’t have that much experience, but he had the respect of the organization and the players, so they threw him in there and he’s done great with them. But you know, I could definitely see us meeting them down the road in some sort of important game. Yeah, definitely some time this year.