MLS Regular Season
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.
The New York Red Bulls and USL-Pro side Wilmington Hammerheads recently agreed to extend Corey Hertzog's loan for the remainder of Wilmington's season. We caught up with Corey to see how he was doing in North Carolina.
How have you been doing?
Doing well. I like it down here. I like the experience. I’ve been able to get some games and score some goals.
What do you think about your loan and its extension?
It’s a great opportunity for game experience. I can work on some stuff and play more.
How was the transition to a different team mid-season?
It’s been good; we play well as a group. We are playing good soccer and hopefully can continue doing that.
How is your relationship on and off the pitch with your teammates- do you guys have a rapport?
It’s good, we live together in the same apartment complex. It’s a good core group of guys. It’s a good group to come into.
While on loan with the Hammerheads, you've played in seven matches and registered four goals and two assists. What do you have to say about your performance thus far with the Hammerheads?
I feel that I started off well. I need to score more goals personally and help out the team more. We jell well as a team. These games have helped me show teams what I can do, show New York what I can do as a player.
Have you been following the Red Bulls in the news?
Absolutely. I followed their games against Vancouver and DC.
What do you think about Barklage's two goals on Saturday? And Solli's first goal of the season against United?
Barklage was awesome. I was standing up and cheering. Solli also had a great goal.
Has there been any individual on the Red Bulls team that has served as a role model, or someone that you admire, during your time with the team?
Definitely [Thierry] Henry. He is one of the best players in the world. He is a great person to watch play and train [with] and to try and learn everything you can.
Did you bring your glamour shot that we all saw, and secretly wanted, in the "Under One Roof" segment with you to Wilmington?
(Laughs) No, it’s still in the same spot at home.
The notorious photograph is still hanging in the house he shares with Vuolo and Lade and will be waiting for him, like all of us, when he returns to New York.
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.
What a difference a win makes. Be it jovial locker room banter, a rise to first place in the standings or a jump in power rankings, three points gets you a lot in this league. It's always nice to see others take notice.
That's the case with this week's power rankings, as the Red Bulls took a nice jump across the board to re-enter the Top 3.
We'll start things off with MLSsoccer.com. They have the Red Bulls taking a leap from No. 5 overall in Week 15 rankings to No. 2 this week thanks largely in part to a nice public pat on the back for Dax McCarty:
"All we wanted from Dax McCarty, really from Day 1, was for him to channel his inner Didier Deschamps. Now he's finally done it and is the keystone to New York's sprint to the top of the East. Few defensive midfielders cover more ground, and only Beckerman starts an attack as well."
ESPN has the Red Bulls locked in at No. 2 overall as well after placing them fourth last week. Nothing but heaps of praise for the biggest storyline coming out of the win:
"Brandon Barklage dished out a serious helping of revenge against former club D.C. United, scoring two goals in a 3-2 victory. Even better, his block of a Maicon Santos shot helped preserve the win."
Sports Illustrated seems a bit hesitant to demote Real Salt Lake too far down the charts after they dropped two straight this past week, but nevertheless the Red Bulls lock up third overall in their installment:
"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."
Heath Pearce stepped up as the hero Wednesday night at BC Place in Vancouver when he sent a header in the 86th minute on frame and into the back of the net to draw level with the Whitecaps. The tally marks Pearce's first regular season goal as a member of the Red Bulls since coming on board last month via a trade with Chivas USA and his first career MLS goal since joining the league in 2009. His goal also allowed the Red Bulls to escape Vancouver with one point and raised the intensity level of this weekend's match to even higher proportions.
Sunday's meeting against DC United at Red Bull Arena (7pm ET on NBC Sports) could potentially end with the Red Bulls in a first-place tie with their conference rivals, depending on whether or not New York secures three points at home. To date, the Red Bulls remain undefeated at home with a 4-0-2 record. (Recap | Match Highlights | Watch: Pearce's Goal)
Here are a few photos from Wednesday's match against the Vancouver Whitecap:
New York's scoring was led by Kenny Cooper, who picked up his 10th of the season on a penalty kick in the 37th minute, and Dane Richards, who roofed his first of the season over a diving Donovan Ricketts in the 68th minute. Rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara earned his eighth win of the season thanks to a five-save performance, conceding Montreal's lone goal on a penalty kick in the 22nd minute.
The Red Bulls return to action Wednesday night when they host Chivas USA at Red Bull Arena. Get your tickets now as the Red Bulls look to stay perfect at home and improve their win streak to six straight. Visit Red Bulls Ticket Central or call 877.RB.SOCCER.
Watch full highlights from Saturday's win:
In this Saturday's match, Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara will be facing another fellow Rookie of the Year contender in New England Revolution's midfielder Kelyn Rowe. Last week, Meara went up against D.C. United's impact rookie Nick DeLeon, and in consecutive matches, Meara will be looking to stop the threat of another talented youngster. Both Meara and Rowe have been immediately integrated into their respective lineups—both of whom have started every match.
After the team's training session at Red Bull Arena Thursday, Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry reiterated his belief and confidence in the team's goalkeeper.
“I think a lot of the goals we’ve conceded have nothing to do with him," Henry said "Having said that, if he wasn’t there sometimes, it would’ve been more. We wouldn’t have won some of the games, if he wasn’t there. I think he’s doing a brilliant job. It’s hard to say that because we are conceding. He can’t all the time save us and stop everything that’s coming his way."
Henry understands the frustration goalkeepers experience when conceding goals, but he is keeping a broader perspective for Meara.
"I think you have to give him credit," he said. "It’s not the best way for him starting, but I think he’s shown that he can be the goalkeeper for this team for a very long time, and that’s the most important thing. I know he must be upset when we’re going home and conceding some goals, but on a personal point-of-view for him, I don’t think he’s doing badly."
This past January, Meara was selected 31st overall in the SuperDraft out of Fordham University, and since his professional debut at FC Dallas Stadium on opening day, he's shown he can play at this level. UCLA product Rowe was the third overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft after playing two seasons with the Bruins.
Meara currently sits in the top five for total saves this season (25). Only Colorado's Matt Pickens (26) and Salt Lake's Nick Rimando (29) have more saves. Meara nearly completed his first clean sheet on the road in New York's 4-1 win at Crew Stadium after making crucial saves throughout the match before a late goal slipped past.
Rookies have clearly enjoyed the big stage this season. Just as DeLeon scored his MLS debut goal against the defending champions LA Galaxy, Rowe scored a crucial goal to lead New England to a 3-1 victory at the Home Depot Center at the end of March.
Backe on Rowe
Head coach Hans Backe is aware of the threat and influence rookies are having on the league, and he's been impressed with the impact Rowe has made. According to Backe, the first batch of players in the draft always show high quality.
"He's done well," Backe said. "Both DeLeon in D.C. and Rowe has done well. They're probably the two guys that I've been most impressed with. If you can pick in between the first seven guys, you will get good guys in, then I think it drops after the seventh, eighth pick. Up to seven, eight, there are good players."
Watch Meara rob fellow rookie DeLeon in the second half at RFK Stadium last week:
Watch Rowe's debut goal in New England's road win in LA:
Whether home or away, New York's goals continue to flow.
When the final whistle blew at Crew Stadium Saturday afternoon, the New York Red Bulls' striking partnership of Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper went one and two, respectively, at the top of the MLS goalscoring charts. Henry's second brace of the season puts him at the top with seven, while Cooper's first-half brace, and second of the season, puts him a goal behind New York's captain.
Just three minutes into the match, after receiving a pass from Cooper, Henry floated a ball back that found his fellow forward's chest. With his back to goal, Cooper was given sufficient space to turn and place his left-footed shot past Columbus keeper Danny Gruenebaum. The goal was his fifth of the season and placed him in a tie with Henry.
Ten minutes later, Cooper did it again - this time with his head. The forward's second goal of the match was a sneaky one that developed after a beautiful exchange of play between Dax McCarty, Mehdi Ballouchy and Roy Miller on the left flank. Richards' shot deflected off the Columbus defense, finding a goal-hungry Cooper who rose to make enough connection on the ball for it to trickle into the side netting.
Cooper would be alone on top of the MLS goalscoring charts for just 27 minutes. In the 40th minute, Roy Miller slotted captain Henry through inside the 18. Henry opened his body, sliding the ball past a hopeless Gruenebaum to give New York a 3-0 lead before referee Mark Kadlecik whistled for half.
After Columbus had the majority of chances in the second half, they were rewarded with a consolation goal off a header from Chad Marshall. The Crew's celebration lasted only a few seconds. Henry responded with a vengeance by bringing a Joel Lindpere cross down to volley into the top-right corner, scoring his league-leading seventh goal of the season and sealing New York's 4-1 victory.
Henry and Cooper have firmly established themselves as the deadliest striking pair in the league. Together they have combined for 13 goals after five matches. At the time of the final whistle, that's more than any team has scored in the league. Enjoy both players' braces below!