MLS Regular Season
It's not every day you see a defender show off some striker instincts, but that's exactly what Wilman Conde did in the 88th minute of Wednesday's match. Conde's goal leveled the score at RFK Stadium, allowing the Red Bulls to salvage a point on the road and inch closer in the table to Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City.
You may want to watch this one a few times. Wow:
Joel Lindpere opened the scoring for the Red Bulls in the 19th minute when he put a rocket of a shot on frame that beat DC United goalkeeper Bill Hamid to give New York a 1-0 lead. The tally was Lindpere's fourth goal of the season. Thierry Henry also registered the assist on the play, his eighth of the season.
All in all the Red Bulls haven't moved up or down the list much in this week's power rankings. Sure, a win in Kansas City may have shifted things a bit, but the same could be said if they suffered a loss and allowed SKC to pad their Eastern Conference lead. As MLSsoccer.com's Franco Panizo wrote the other day, the team was happy to see its losing streak on the road come to an end.
Last week the Red Bulls were locked into the Top 3 across all power rankings. This week looks about the same, minus one adjustment at the hands of MLSsoccer.com, as they shifted New York from third to fourth on account of their love for Seattle:
"Get a draw on the road vs. the league's second-best team and drop a spot? Not fair, but that's how good Seattle was — plus it's hard to ignore that RBNY didn't put a single shot on goal. That said, five of their final seven are at home, so if anybody's going to push San Jose, it could be the Red Bulls."
"Book-end blunders for the Red Bulls saw the team concede an early gift while spoiling a late golden chance and squeaking a point out of their match in Kansas City, one they were forced to play without Thierry Henry after the birth of his son this week. Having a rested Henry for a mid-week battle with rival D.C. United will be vital considering the amount of energy expended in the physical slugfest with SKC."
ESPN Soccernet also keeps the Red Bulls third overall. Despite acknowledging the team's unfortunate start, they also credit the back line's ability to lock down for the remainder of the match:
Things were looking grim early on against Kansas City after conceding an early goal. But the Red Bulls' makeshift back line tightened up and a gift of an own goal from Kei Kamara allowed New York to grind out a valuable road point."
That's the book on power rankings for this week. What do you think?
Sporting Kansas City's Kei Kamara scored goals on both ends of the pitch Sunday night as the Red Bulls and SKC played to a 1-1 draw at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park.
After allowing an early goal in the fourth minute of the match, Red Bulls goalkeeper Bill Gaudette locked down between the posts and helped backstop New York to a one-point finish on the road, the team's third tie this season when playing away from Red Bull Arena.
Sebastien Le Toux, who helped play a strong ball into the box that led to the Kamara own goal, nearly helped the Red Bulls edge out two extra points in the final minutes of stoppage time. Following an SKC corner kick attempt, Le Toux broke free from the defense and got the better of a one-on-one run down the pitch toward the Kansas City goal. A streaking Dax McCarty made himself wide open for a pass from Le Toux, but as the ball centered onto his foot, a strong first touch while still in stride sent it off target and broke up a play that could have amounted to a New York goal.
The Red Bulls return to action Wednesday night when they take to the road for a rivalry match against DC United. Join us for an outdoor viewing party at Pier A in Hoboken starting at 7:30 PM. We’ll have food and beer on site courtesy of Texas Arizona, 3v3 soccer and a bunch of prizes and giveaways. More information available on our Facebook Event.
Here are a few photos from Sunday's draw in Kansas City:
Jan Gunnar Solli's two assists in Sunday's win played a pivotal role in New York's ability to mount a comeback and defeat the Timbers. He answered a few questions after a recent training session regarding the match against Portland, how his season has been going and this weekend's tilt against Sporting Kansas City.
It’s been a little bit of an up-and-down season for you with injuries and such, but you put in a great effort Sunday against Portland and have since looked to be on the rebound. Do you think you’re back to 100 percent now?
I hope so. I just try not to think about it too much. I get my fitness in and work really hard after playing a couple of bad games for myself, I just had to train harder. Getting the running in and I know all of the hard work always has to be in the bottom of my game.
I was able to get into those situations [two crosses that led to goals in the win over Portland] because I did a deep run and that’s a big part of my game. I just felt heavy in my legs earlier. It’s like my weight and my fitness – I wasn’t in bad shape, it was just getting the legs fresh and sharp and getting those runs in and working really hard. I would love to say I hope I’m there now, but I had a good run before I got injured as well. Sometimes soccer’s like that. Your mind gets twisted a little bit because you feel like you’re ready to perform and then you can’t always get the best out of it.
Hans Backe has always commended your effort to stay in shape and put in extra effort. Do you think that has helped in rebounding from injuries?
Yeah, I think so. It’s always nice when you ‘re getting feedback from the coaches, but most of all you know yourself what’s a big part of your game. I’ve been around for a long time now. I still feel hungry and I have a lot of things to prove.
Your two crosses into the box that led to goals in Sunday’s game were right on the mark. Is that an element of your game that you’ve been focusing on more this season?
I had some nice assists last season as well, but I'm working with the accuracy and getting the amount of crosses in every week. We’ve been working on it and I’ve trained a few times at Red Bull Arena. It just feels good, just making the crosses out there. You kind of recognize it when you get into those areas. Like, “OK, how much power do I have to put into it?” It’s like, getting to know the movement and how much power you should put in it.
Of course when you make runs in a big tempo you can’t put too much pressure on because then the ball will be knocked over. It’s just small things you’re focusing on. I saw Kenny in the box and my focus was just getting it over the first defender because then anything can happen. If you play it too low, there’s going to be a clearance. It’s better almost to over-hit it. Sometimes it’s just spot on and it’s a good feeling.
You’ve also picked up three goals this season after not scoring one last season. That has to feel pretty good too.
Yeah. There was two in a row there. Honestly, I don’t care who scores the goals. For me it’s all about the team and it’s important that we win. Obviously to score some goals it’s a good feeling, but I get the same feeling when I get the two assists in the last game. So I don’t know which one is best. I’m not a good celebrator when I score goals so maybe I’ll do better with the assists.
But you could always bust out the bull dance when you score…
Oh yeah, a little bit. They kind of request it so I feel kind of bad if I don’t do it. But I want to have fun with it as well. It’s becoming a little thing that we – well, it’s basically still me just making a fool out of myself. At least they like it so I’m going to continue doing it as long as we win.
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.