The Red Bulls' leading goal scorer took a few minutes to answer some questions after a recent training session at Montclair State University. See what he has to say about scoring his 14th goal, the current state of the team and Sunday's crucial match against Kansas City.
You picked up your 14th goal of the season against Portland this past weekend. It must’ve felt pretty good to not only get the tally but to also be the one to kick off a comeback win as well.
It felt great to win the game and come back. I felt the guys showed great character to fight back and to get a win out of being down two goals. So yeah, it felt really good to be a part of that.
What can you say about Jan’s (Gunnar Solli) cross into the box? It didn’t look like you had to make that much effort to put it home. Seemed right on the mark.
He had two beautiful crosses. He did a lot of hard work on our first goal. He put it right on my head, so I’m glad I didn’t mess it up for him. It was really a great cross. He played a really great game and he was influential in two of the goals.
You have obvious ties to Portland after playing there last season. Did it feel a little surreal playing against the team you were scoring for last season?
The win was just as special as any other win. Three points, big points. Afterwards it was nice to see some old friends. I made some great relationships there with the club and fans and everyone associated with the club there were really good to me and it’s definitely good to see some old faces and catch up a little bit. I thought they played well. They scored two good goals. I wish them the best moving forward.
One of the things a lot of players talk about this time of year is the team finding a groove. With all these guys coming back from injury and the recent boost in training sessions, do you think the team is finding its groove now?
It’s great to see guys healthy. You know, we’ve been really unfortunate with injuries throughout the year and I’m really happy to see my teammates back and healthy. On this team I think you can see how strong the squad is now and it’s something we’ve seen throughout the year with guys out, there’s been so many people contributing to the success here. We do have a deep squad and hopefully this last quarter of the year will be even better than the first part of the year.
You’d had a chance now to play with Tim Cahill for a few games. How do you think he is adapting to the league?
He’s been amazing. You see his quality is obvious. He’s a leader and I’m happy that he scored his first goal this past weekend. You see his influence out there on the field and he does a great job. He’s a player I really admire and I’m happy he’s on our team now.
Obviously the win helped pull the Red Bulls within two points of the first place Kansas City, but how crucial is Sunday’s match, not only in terms of getting points, but also in scouting an opponent you’ll be playing against three times over the remaining nine games?
We have a couple of games against them in this later part of the season. Two points separate the teams. It would be great to leapfrog them in the standings this weekend. They’re a really fantastic team. Just a lot of great players. A lot of attacking talent with Kei Kamara, C.J. Sapong, Bunbury, Graham Zusi, to name a few. They’re a talented group and they’ve been very strong this year. Their position in the table shows that. I’m sure they’ll be hungry to finish the season in a good standing. Again, only two points separate the teams, and hopefully after our game against them we can leapfrog them.
There's a nice debate going on in the comments section over at MLSsoccer.com, but that's to be expected given the subject at hand.
In a recent poll released Tuesday morning, the staff at MLSsoccer.com is interested to know - What do you think is the best forward combination in the League?
Seeing as how you're reading this at NewYorkRedBulls.com, the top answer here (and most likely the best one overall anywhere) would have to be Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry. How can you deny what the tandem has done for the team all season long? Truth is in the numbers, as MLS had this to say about the duo:
"How about New York's tandem up front, with Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper? The Red Bulls have ridden them all campaign to the tune of 25 goals and nine assists, and they're one point outside of first place in the East."
We don't need to tell you who to vote for. You know already. Get your votes in here.
Jan Gunnar Solli has been named to MLSsoccer.com's Team of the Week for his performance in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Portland Timbers.
Solli played a huge part in Sunday's comeback victory, serving up two assists and locking down on defense to allow the Red Bulls a chance to close out with a Heath Pearce game-winning header in the 83rd minute.
Solli's first assist came on Kenny Cooper's goal in the 43rd minute when he offered up a great cross straight to the head of the Red Bulls' leading goal scorer to trim Portland's lead to one. Later in the match, after Tim Cahill leveled the score with his first-career MLS goal, it was Solli again, this time centering a ball into the box for a leaping Pearce who was primed to head home the game-winner.
Congrats to Solli for the Team of the Week nod! Feel free to give him a shout out on Twitter as well.
It's no secret that Bill Gaudette came up huge for the Red Bulls Sunday. Throughout the course of the match, Gaudette made a number of one-on-one stops and key saves to keep New York in the match just long enough for Heath Pearce to send home the game-winner in the 83rd minute. It should come as no surprise then that Gaudette, who improved to 4-2-1 thanks to the win, has been nominated for MLSsoccer.com's Save of the Week.
This highlight comes in the 61st minute when Gaudette kept the score level with a tremendous, one-handed save on Portland's Darlington Nagbe.
You know the drill - vote early, vote often and spread the word for others to do the same. Gaudette helped the Red Bulls earn three big points Sunday, now let's help him earn Save of the Week honors.
Voting runs from Tuesday morning until 11:59 pm PT on Thursday.
For complete Save of the Week coverage—including a full archive of past winners—click here
Although the team has openly admitted it wasn't happy with the collective performance in Sunday's comeback win over Portland, you can't argue with the three-point result. The victory not only allowed New York to move within two points of first place Sporting Kansas City, but also jumped back into the Top 3 of Power Rankings across the board. Another three points on the road at Livestrong Sporting Park this Sunday could place New York first overall in the Eastern Conference and potentially even move them up to the No. 2 spot in Power Rankings.
But before we get ahead of ourselves, let's take a look at this week's rankings.
MLSsoccer.com says we're a "weird team." Not sure if that's a compliment or not, but the step up to No. 3 is appreciated:
"How do you quantify New York? They’re capable of falling behind 2-0 at home to one of the worst road teams in league history, needed to desperately rely on their journeyman ‘keeper to keep them in the game (again) and still came away with the full three points. Weird, weird team."
Well, thanks for that. Onto ESPN Soccernet, who says the Red Bulls can't keep defending the way they did against Portland and expect to win. Valid point. Good thing Hans Backe and company feel the same way and walked away from that result happy with the points but ready to strengthen up on D (without taking away any credit from the heroic play of Bill Gaudette):
"The Red Bulls beat Portland in spite of themselves, conceding two preventable goals -- and it could have been more -- before conjuring up an inspired fight back to win 3-2. New York knows it can't defend that poorly and expect to win again."
Sports Illustrated placed emphasis on the defense as well, but also showed some love for the aforementioned Gaudette:
"Between all of the trades this season, the Red Bulls' capture of goalkeeper Bill Gaudette has proven to be one of the more valuable acquisitions considering how he has covered for some defensive miscues in the absence of injured rookie Ryan Meara."
So there ya have it - Week 23 Power Rankings. It's understood the team is unsettled with the performance yet grateful for the points, so let's see what the response is like Sunday when they hit the road for a 9 PM kick off against Sporting Kansas City. Be sure to watch that one live on ESPN2.
What's your take on this week's power rankings?
The Claudio Reyna Foundation, St. Benedict’s Preparatory School, the City of Newark, the City of Harrison, and The New York Red Bulls are hosting a 5K race on September 16 that will send runners on a path through Newark and Harrison to benefit the development of youth in urban communities.
The race will start at St. Benedict’s, bring the runners past City Hall, through Newark’s Iron Bound via Ferry St. and across the Jackson St. bridge before the race concludes at Red Bull Arena.
The 5K portion will begin at 9:30am, but other events are on the schedule for those wishing to participate, including a one-mile walk (start time: 9:50am) and a kid’s portion called the “Kid’s Mad Dash,” set to start at 10:30am.
More information about the race, including a detailed route and list of the supporting business and area landmarks can be found at http://www.reynarun.com.
The Claudio Reyna Foundation will include a pre-race ceremony that includes Newark’s Mayor Cory Booker, featured as an official race starter, and other VIPs from the City of Newark to honor members of the St. Benedict’s Preparatory School National Championship-winning soccer team.
For more information contact Josh Morgan, Executive Director of CRF, at 848.469.6086 or firstname.lastname@example.org
MLSsoccer.com has unveiled its online poll for fans to vote on the 24 best players under the age of 24.
The following Red Bulls players are included on the list:
This season is the first time since the list's inception three years ago that fan votes will count towards the final listing of "24 Under 24." Voting ends Friday at 5 PM, so get those votes in now!
Heath Pearce stepped up with some last-minute heroics Sunday night to head home the game-winner in the 83rd minute as the Red Bulls went on to defeat the Timber 3-2. Pearce scored in similar fashion against Vancouver on June 20th to register his first-ever MLS goal that also helped the Red Bulls gain a point on the road.
Here's a replay of Pearce's game-winner:
Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill scored his first-career MLS goal in the 45th minute of Sunday's match to level the score at two heading into the half.