New York Red Bulls
USA Today has some great Thierry Henry content rolling through the sports section today. If you haven't seen in yet, this is must-read and must-watch material.
First off, writer Mike Foss sits down with Henry to ask a few questions about the Red Bulls' start to the season including how the team has been performing, what needs to be done to improve on the road ahead and his chemistry with Kenny Cooper. Henry answered a number of fan questions via Twitter in that Q&A, but you can also watch video of Henry answering fan questions here.
Henry sits to with USA today in this great interview from the Red Bulls' locker room:
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:
Deviating from the norm at Montclair State University, the Red Bulls instead opted to spend Thursday's training session on the pitch at Red Bull Arena.
Following the team's workout, midfielder Dane Richards took a few minutes to catch up with NewYorkRedBulls.com to discuss the start of the season, the recent string of injuries and Saturday's match against New England.
There are a lot of guys missing from the team at the moment with injuries and more. What do the rest of the guys on the team have to do to step in and fill their places?
They have been watching the games and have been at practice, so they are aware of what’s going on. Just step in and do the same job and maybe even better. We’re looking forward to this week’s game and they have a chance to give the coach a tough time in selecting his 11.
The offense has been on fire so far this season. With so many starting defenders out of action now, how important is it for the offense to continue to carry the team through this stretch?
Well, the good thing is we are at home. When we are at home we just got to go at the next team. The best way of defending is attacking. So, we just gotta go, press them, and just from the start go at the other team.
How do you feel the production has been from the wings so far this year?
Not the start we expected, but it’s just seven games. So, hopefully we can score some goals and get some more assists. Not a great start. We’re not putting up a lot of stats on the board, but we just got to work. It’s just seven games as I said before.
You guys have gotten off to some very quick starts at home this year. In the three home games so far, the team has scored three goals in the first ten minutes. How much does that help set the tone for the match and provide momentum for the team?
Definitely, once we get the early goals and the crowd is behind us, it’s an unbelievable feeling. Hopefully we can do it on Saturday, get the crowd behind us from the first 15 minutes and just keep trying to score more goals, put the pressure on the next team.
The New England Revolution come to town this week. It’s a rivalry game and obviously, they’re a team you’re very familiar with, having played them so often over the years. What are the keys to beating New England?
We know they’re a threat. They have Shalrie Joseph and a bunch of other players that are very dangerous. We just need to try to keep a clean sheet because we haven’t had a clean sheet all season. New England, I know has a different coach and different players and all of that. They’re definitely a threat. It’s always tough because it’s a rivalry so we just gotta take it as a rivalry game and just go at them. We know it’s going to be a tough game so we just gotta be confident, move forward and try to score some goals.
Geographically speaking, it would probably make the most sense for Washington Wizards guard John Wall to support his local team, D.C. United, right?
If a recent photo is any indication, that's hardly the case. Dan Steinberg of the Washington Post came across a pic of the 2010 NBA Draft's first round pick rocking a Red Bulls jersey during a party in Miami.
What can ya say? The guy has good taste.
The Red Bulls Academy enjoyed an impressive weekend, winning all six of its contests on Saturday and Sunday. The Red Bulls’ Under-18 team won both of its matches, defeating the Boston Bolts and fellow MLS side New England Revolution. On Saturday, the U-18’s knocked off the Bolts by a 3-1 score. The Red Bulls opened the scoring two minutes in through Eric Lagg. Ten minutes later, Brandon Allen converted his chance off a corner kick to double the Red Bulls’ lead. Scotty Thomsen, who assisted on the Red Bulls’ first two goals, capped off a great day by setting up Mael Corboz for the third and final goal. The U-18’s completed their weekend with a 2-1 victory over the Revolution on Sunday, despite falling behind by a goal early on. The Red Bulls responded with goals from Allen and Danny Bedoya, while the defense held firm against a late rush from the Revolution.
The Red Bulls Under-16 team also knocked off the Boston Bolts and New England Revolution, scoring a 2-1 victory on Saturday over the Bolts and a 5-2 win against the Revs on Sunday. On Saturday, the Red Bulls allowed an early Bolts goal, but rallied with goals from Izzy Tandir and Vinny Brunetti. Adam Najem assisted on both. On Sunday, the Red Bulls came out on top in a high-scoring affair against the Revs. Tandir continued his hot play with two more goals, while Najem provided two more assists, and even found the back of the net for one of his own tallies. Malcolm Dixon and Amando Moreno rounded out the scoring for the Red Bulls.
On Saturday, the Red Bulls Under-15 squad burst out to beat the Boston Bolts by a 5-0 score. Dontae Perez led the way, scoring a hat trick, while James Buonavita and Nate Odusate also found the back of the net. The Under-14 side also had no trouble scoring, as they defeated the Bolts by a 5-1 score on Saturday. The Red Bulls scored four times before the interval on goals by Gideon Metrikin, Anthony Sileo, Malik Stewart and Jonas Halvorsen. Metrikin added another for good measure in the second half as the Red Bulls cruised to the 'W'.
It was a rough, soggy outing for the Red Bulls Sunday night as they fell to D.C. United by the final of 4-1. D.C.’s Chris Pontius registered his first professional hat trick, while rookie Nick Deleon rounded out the scoring for his side on a rain-soaked pitch at RFK Stadium (Recap | Highlights). New York’s Thierry Henry scored the lone Red Bulls goal on a free kick in the 72nd minute, placing him in a first-place tie with San Jose’s Chris Wondolowski in the MLS Golden Boot Race (Watch: Henry's Goal).
The road loss halts New York’s four-game unbeaten steak and slips them into third place in the Eastern Conference standings. By virtue of Sunday’s outcome, D.C. United leapfrogged New York to claim second place in the conference.
The Red Bulls return home to Red Bull Arena Sat., Apr. 28, when they host the New England Revolution at 3:30pm ET. The first 5,000 fans 12 and under will receive free Kenny Cooper jersey-tees, so arrive early and take advantage of all the great activities in the Interactive Zone on Riverbend, located directly in front of the Arena. Get your tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.
Here are a few photos from Sunday's match:
It was a rough outing for the Red Bulls at RFK Stadium Sunday night, as the team fell to DC United by the final of 4-1. Thierry Henry registered the lone New York goal off a free kick in the 72nd minute.
Here's a replay of Henry's tally, his eighth of the season:
More than 200 supporters came out to get their Red Bull jerseys, soccer balls and other gear signed by the squad in a team meet and greet with supporters yesterday at the Adidas Sport Performance Store in SoHo.
While MLS leading scorer and team captain Thierry Henry was the most sought after signature of the night, fans were also eager to meet other favorites from the squad including Dax McCarty, Jan Gunnar Solli and Mehdi Ballouchy.
“I love the New York Red Bulls”, said Victor Borges of Norwalk, CT, while he was waiting on line to meet the team. He said his favorite players were Henry and Mehdi Ballouchy but that he also has a soft spot for Dax McCarty because they both have red hair.
And it wasn’t just the veterans on the team who were big hits with the fans.
Defender Connor Lade, a rookie out of St. John’s University was surprised to see that one fan brought a picture of Lade from his St. John’s playing days, which Lade signed. “I wasn’t expecting that,” Lade said. “That was cool.”
Eric Yang, a Red Bulls supporter from Washington D.C. had just arrived in New York yesterday afternoon but came out for his only chance to catch the team while he’s in town. Yang said he was pleased with the team’s performance so far this season.
“Henry and Cooper are doing well; they’re gelling,” Yang said. “The future looks bright.”
While he will not be in town long enough to catch a game at Red Bull Arena, Yang said he was planning on making it out to the away game in D.C. this Sunday.
The passion and dedication of the Red Bulls fan base, which supports the team both at home and on the road was not lost on the players who said they enjoyed the chance to meet the fans who support the team week in and week out.
“This is awesome,” goalkeeper Ryan Meara said. “We get great fan support. At all the home games they turn out, so anytime we can come out and do something in return for them, I really enjoy it.”
“It’s a really cool event,” Lade said. “We love being part of all the people coming and supporting us. It’s nice that we can give back to them and have a really good time doing it.”
Make sure to check out more photos from the event on the official New York Red Bulls Facebook page.
With the aide of OPTA analytics, MLSsoccer.com has been featuring various points of analysis at the beginning of each week. In the second installment of the OPTA Spotlight, you can take a closer look at the 14-goal haul of Red Bulls striking duo Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper.
The success up front for New York is largely attributed to tidy finishing inside the 18-yard box. The Red Bulls have a 48.4% shooting efficiency—scoring 14 goals from just 30 shots. The next team in line, last Saturday's opponent San Jose Earthquakes, have a 24.3% shooting efficiency. Simply put, no one has come close to New York's accuracy in front of goal.
A high shooting efficiency can also be translated to 'minimum wasted chances'. Cooper currently leads the league in efficiency inside the box. He's scored six goals in eight attempts; the goal appears a lot larger in his eyes once he gets in the 18.
Since the start of the 2011 season, the report put out by MLS shows the Red Bulls lead the league in goals to shots ratio inside the box (24.9%)—2.5% over LA. With the team's shooting accuracy at these rates, it's no surprise when Red Bull Arena rises when Henry or Cooper receives the ball inside the box. The next time you're talking soccer with your friends, make sure you whip out a few of these eyebrow-raising statistics. Surely they'll be impressed.