Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson and midfielder Joel Lindpere cracked ProSoccerTalk.com's MLS Team of the Week for Week 11.
This is now the second consecutive week Lindpere has been considered for Steve Davis' Team of the Week, as both he and Dax McCarty shared the honors in Week 10.
Davis writes of Lindpere:
Lindpere and Chara were workhorses in their matches, covering ground, shutting down the opposition danger men, interrupting passing lanes, that kind of stuff. Important stuff, for sure.
Further proof that Lindpere doesn't always have to crack the score sheet to make his presence known on the pitch, although his two goals over the last four matches isn't anything to shy away from either.
This is Holgersson's first week in which he's been included in the weekly honors. Davis writes:
Holgersson continues to gain the steadiness he lacked early, and in Saturday’s win at Montreal – the Red Bull’s fifth in a row – he had the added duty of breaking in newly arrived Heath Pearce as a central partner along New York’s back line.
What do you think about this week's PST Team of the Week?
Dax McCarty joined the cast and crew of Extra Time Radio Monday afternoon to chat about a variety of topics including the Red Bulls' current win streak, Rafa Marquez's return and his versatility in the lineup amidst the injuries that have plagued the team. If you want to cut right to the part where Dax calls in, wait for the full show to load and then skim ahead to the 40-minute mark.
Give it a listen below or subscribe on iTunes:
ProSoccerTalk.com released its weekly Starting XI Monday and two Red Bulls, Joel Lindpere and Dax McCarty, have locked down midfield roles.
Lindpere kicked off the scoring in Sunday's 3-2 win over the Union on the road at PPL Park. It was a textbook play, made all the better by a beautifully placed ball by Mehdi Ballouchy that helped make Lindpere's shot on goal all the easier. Still, the finish was nothing short of perfect, and definitely a must-watch if you haven't seen it yet (or want to see it again).
McCarty, by his own admission, has played a less flashy game but one that came about out of necessity. The 25-year-old has locked down and taken ownership of the defensive midfield role since Thierry Henry was forced out of the lineup with a hamstring injury in the Apr. 28 match against the New England Revolution.
Since then, McCarty has received heaps of praise for his play that helped lead the Red Bulls to three-straight shutouts and, just this past Sunday, extend their win streak to four straight. Even then, the return of Rafa Marquez required a bit of a shift for McCarty, who has undoubtedly shown his versatility while the team continues to work its way through the injury bug.
McCarty sure knows how to keep the party going, as the man’s outstanding run of form helped New York squeeze out a 1-0 win over Houston and then go take all the points over the weekend at Philly. (McCarty even played in a different position in that one, accommodating Rafa Marquez’s return to the lineup by moving forward in the starting arrangement.)
Weekly Starting XI nominations aren't a formal award by any means, but it's definitely nice to see two hard-working guys getting some acknowledgment for their continued efforts.
Kenny Cooper gave the Red Bulls an early 1-0 lead when he buried his eighth of the season in the seventh minute of Wednesday's match. Here's a replay of Coop's goal:
The Red Bulls' slow and steady climb up the power rankings this week was thanks in part to a full team effort in back-to-back matches against New England and Los Angeles. While guys like Dax McCarty and Brandon Barklage have received individual praise for their efforts, there's no question that Ryan Meara has also been the talk of the town over these past two clean sheets.
Meara's leaping, one-handed save on the Galaxy's Juninho in the 83rd minute of Saturday's match may very well have been the deciding factor behind whether the Red Bulls escaped LA with three points in the win or one in the draw.
Obviously the back line playing in front of Meara has also been a huge factor in recent games, but that save was all on the shoulders of the Red Bulls' rookie 'keeper.
MLSsoccer.com took notice of Meara's play and has justifiably given him a jump from third place to first overall in this week's Rookie Rankings. Here's what they had to say about the 21-year-old out of Fordham:
"Things just keep getting better and better for Meara. Last week, Ireland's interest in the young netminder went public, then he collected his second straight shutout in LA, a performance punctuated by an incredible save on Juninho's drive to preserve the Red Bulls' 1-0 victory."
Although Meara has been somewhat of a staple on the weekly Rookie Rankings, fellow newcomer Connor Lade made his debut this week at the No. 4 spot. Lade made his Red Bulls debut as a sub in the Apr. 14 draw against San Jose and registered his first career MLS start the following week against DC United. MLSsoccer.com had this to say about Lade:
"Welcome to the list, Connor Lade. The New York Homegrown signee wasn't supposed to play much of a role this year, but injuries and circumstance have thrust him into the action. He hasn't missed a beat, putting in several good performances culminating in a poised, professional 90 minutes against Landon Donovan and the Galaxy."
What do you think about this week's Rookie Rankings?
Joel Lindpere's first goal of the season has certainly turned a few heads, as it not only led the Red Bulls to a 1-0 road victory in LA but also finds itself in the mix for Goal of the Week honors.
The play developed as defender Connor Lade sent the ball in to Jan Gunnar Solli, who streaked down the wing toward goal looking for an option to open up. That opportunity presented itself as Lindpere kept pace with Solli and charged his way into the box. Solli placed the ball perfectly to a striding Lindpere, who balanced himself to avoid the stumble and slipped a left-footed finish past stunned Galaxy goalkeeper Bill Gaudette.
You know what to do now. Cast your vote here, spread the word on Twitter and Facebook and do your part to ensure Lindpere lands the title for Week 9 Goal of the Week.
Here's the full rundown of this week's nominees:
Vote online or text goal code to 22442.
Voting runs until 11:59 pm PT on Thursdays.
For complete Goal of the Week coverage—including an archive of past winners—click here.
Although Jan Gunnar Solli is '100 percent' for Saturday's match, and forward Juan Agudelo appears to be on the mend as well, there's still a significant list of injuries hampering both the Red Bulls and Galaxy (MLSsoccer.com's Franco Panizo touched on New York's in his Thursday Red Bulls Notebook).
On Friday, MLSsoccer.com asked in its Top 11 Questions heading into the weekend: "Which stars will step up to shine in #NYvLA?"
They had this to say about the matchup:
"The “One-percent Derby,” as some fans involved in this matchup of metropolises cheekily called it last year, may be missing some of its biggest names, with Red Bulls standouts Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez sidelined and the precise status of LA’s David Beckham and Robbie Keane uncertain. Yet it still looks like a fascinating matchup, especially if Dax McCarty maintains his sterling efforts at the base of the RBNY midfield."
McCarty definitely received his fair share of praise this past week after performing as a defensive midfielder against New England.
Who do you think will shine in Saturday's match against LA?
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!