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.
Once again rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara features in the MLS Save of the Week! After a whipped-in Marvin Chavez corner kick, Meara was forced to make a stunning reaction save after a moment of miscommunication between the Red Bulls defenders. Check out the other nominees below, and be sure to cast your vote for Meara. Voting runs until 11:59 pm PT on Thursday.
Midfielder Dax McCarty picked up his first goal of the season Saturday in the Red Bulls' 2-2 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes. In addition to it being his first tally of the 2012 campaign, it's also his first in a Red Bulls jersey since coming on board with the club last season.
Fittingly, McCarty's skillful finish is a Goal of the Week nominee. You know what to do - spread the word, share on Facebook, share on Twitter and get those votes in. Let's help Dax take home Goal of the Week honors.
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.
MSG's Shep Messing recently sat down with Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper to discuss a number of topics ranging from his trade to New York, his hopes of winning an MLS Cup and his day-to-day work ethic.
Watch the full interview here:
Forward Kenny Cooper tallied his seventh of the season, while midfielder Dax McCarty found the back of the goal for the first time this season and the first time since sporting a Red Bulls jersey.
The Red Bulls return to action Apr. 22 when they pay a visit to RFK Stadium to take on DC United. Kick-off is set for 6pm ET on ESPN2.
The next Red Bulls home match is Apr. 28 at 3:30pm. The first 5,000 fans 12 and under will receive a free Kenny Cooper tee-jersey. Get your tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central or call 877.RB.SOCCER.
Here are a few photos from Saturday's match:
The New York Red Bulls remain undefeated at home after playing the San Jose Earthquakes to a 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena Saturday night. (Full Recap)
Kenny Cooper kicked off the scoring in the fifth minute when he received a great ball from Thierry Henry to slip one past San Jose 'keeper Jon Busch for his seventh of the season. Defender Roy Miller, who left the match with inflammation in his left knee, was also award an assist on the play.
Midfielder Dax McCarty rounded out the scoring for New York when he sent home his first of the season in the 22nd minute on assists from Cooper and Dane Richards.
Rafael Baca and Chris Wondolowski each scored for the Earthquakes.
Henry, Cooper and Wondolowski entered the match ranked first, second and third overall in goals scored, respectively. With Cooper and Wondolowski each registering one in Saturday's match, there is now a three-way tie for first place in the Major League Soccer scoring department.
Here are full highlights from Saturday's 2-2 at Red Bull Arena:
Red Bulls midfielder Dax McCarty picked up his first goal of the season Saturday night in what amounted to a 2-2 draw against the San Jose Earthquakes.
The play came alive when midfielder Dane Richards fought his way through a 50/50 battle with San Jose midfielder Shea Salinas. From there the speedster rushed his way down the wing past midfielder Rafa Baca, over a slide-tackle attempt from defender Ramiro Corrales and placed the ball into the box for Kenny Cooper. Cooper, with his back to the goal, placed enough of a touch on the ball to feed it over to a waiting McCarty, who patiently watched the ball settle down just enough before ripping a shot on goal that beat a diving Jon Busch.
Words can only paint the picture so well. Nothing beats the real thing like - well, the real thing. Check out video of McCarty's brilliant finish here:
Defender Jan Gunnar Solli took a few minutes after Thursday's training session at Red Bull Arena to catch up on a few topics including team chemistry, the Red Bulls' attack, San Jose's offensive threats and his appreciation for the supporters who took the trip to Columbus.
So far, Thierry and Kenny have done a great job providing offense up top. What do you guys need to do to get offensive production from other areas of the field, specifically from the wings and wing backs?
It’s about finding the right balance between when one fullback goes the other one tucks in. Obviously we are defenders first. But when we are here at Red Bull Arena that’s where we would like to entertain and also to show that we can attack from different areas. That will be very important because our strikers have been on fire lately, but we can try to provide them with assists and make it easy for them to have a few tap-ins as well because some of the goals have been really, really good. Finding the right balance I think is the key.
The San Jose Earthquakes have an impressive striker of their own in Chris Wondolowski (6 goals, tied for 2nd in MLS). How is the team addressing the challenge of stopping him?
We know it’s a good team in form. The way they press us is they come on high even if they are away. It’s definitely a challenging way of getting into the game because usually you get in the front seat when we play in our Arena and the team drops back and waits to counter attack. Now it’s a little different game. They have a lot of confidence. They have more points than us but this is our home. I’m not going to talk about the whole plan but we have a good strategy to break their first line of defense. I’m pretty sure if we can come out with a ball they will have to chase us.
The Earthquakes are 4-1-0 this season and sit in second place in the Western Conference. How can the team build off the confidence you gained during this three-game winning streak against a tougher opponent this week?
We have been scoring a lot of goals which gives us a lot of confidence. The way we go into the game, we know it’s going to be a battle. There’s not going to be any nice play before you kind of dig into it. It’s all about the team spirit which I think has been phenomenal over the last couple of games. And that’s what we need to build and have the confidence that, this is our home and the way we believe in our strategy and our plan, and everybody moving in the same direction. It’s going to take a very good San Jose team to beat us. I think this team looks very hungry and that’s the way to continue.
With the offense running in high gear, I’m sure the guys also want to get that first clean sheet of the year. Can you talk about the play of the back four so far this season?
The last game I think it was one of those set plays that got into the back of the goal. The guy heading the ball, he had a very easy job to put it in, but obviously he’s a big guy too. I think we’ve stepped up our game in every aspect. Obviously the strikers are getting a lot of attention as we’ve been the hottest team in the league right now scoring the most goals. But yeah, everyone in the defense and our goalie would like to have a clean sheet for once and why not start against San Jose. But like I said, nothing can be won before you actually go into the battle and everybody works their shirt off and stays focused. Maybe that’s the key to keep a clean sheet, the way we communicate with each other and take responsibility in dangerous areas.
The team has gotten off to a good start at home this season. How has the team been able to feed off the fans at Red Bull Arena?
This arena is amazing. To have the fans here and our home crowd, you can definitely feel like MLS is on the rise and it’s getting more attention through every game. I know how it is with good results. Good results affect people and people want to come and see maybe one of the hottest teams in MLS right now. It’s not only the star players of our team which have been good but also I think we’re showing the team spirit which the crowd really appreciates. I’m very excited about playing home games. Also, I gave a big shout out on my Twitter to all the guys coming into Columbus who also stayed and watched our reserves play. It’s not all about the first XI players and the substitutes who enter every game. It’s also nice to see that there are actually true supporters who follow our reserves and I know they really appreciate it too because everyone wants to get noticed. That’s how we create and build a team and I think we’re definitely working in the right direction.
Red Bulls rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara registered his first career victory in Major League Soccer against the Colorado Rapids on Mar. 25 and has since been on a roll. Not only did he do so in front of the home crowd (plus friends and family) at Red Bull Arena, but since then he's backstopped the Red Bulls to three-straight victories and currently leads the league in saves (21).
In Saturday's 4-1 win over the Columbus Crew, Meara came within just a few minutes of registering his first career MLS shutout before Crew defender Chad Marshall deposited a header into the mesh during the 89th minute. Midfielder Dax McCarty said, despite the three-goal margin in victory, the team was a bit disappointed that it couldn't secure the clean sheet.
"We're really upset that we couldn't get Ryan his first shutout," McCarty said following Tuesday's training session at Montclair State University. "I think he deserved it."
"For the better part of 90 minutes, it looked like Meara was going to get his first MLS clean sheet as New York stuck it to the Crew in Columbus. But in the 89th minute, fellow rookie Kirk Urso whipped a corner kick into the box that Chad Marshall deposited in the back of the net. A tough test awaits this weekend against San Jose."
Meara and the Red Bulls will have their work cut out for them Saturday when the 4-1 Earthquakes come to town for a 7pm ET kick off. Watch on MSG+ or enjoy the league's top three goalscorers in person. Get your tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.
For the past few weeks Thierry Henry's name has been a staple on the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week. Nothing much has changed in Week 5, after his two goals and one assist against the Columbus Crew earned him his third consecutive Player of the Week honor (the first time ever in MLS history) and yet another place on the League's Starting XI.
Henry's run of seven goals and three assists over the past three matches, all Red Bulls wins, already has some including him in early-season MVP talks. And why not? He's already registered half of his total goals from the 2011 campaign (14 goals in 26 games), and there are still plenty of matches left to play.
Interestingly enough Henry is joined by this weekend's opponent, San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, whose six goals has him sitting just one behind Henry, the current league leader in that category. Somehow Kansas City's Kei Kamara, who has half of Kenny Cooper's goal total, rounds out this week's front lines on the MLSsoccer.com feature. Check out the rest of the Week 5 Starting XI here.
If you haven't done so already, watch the latest video featuring Thierry Henry entitled "Pure Heart." Of course, keep an eye out for it during this Saturday's broadcast on MSG+, starting at 7pm ET.
Tickets to Saturday's match against the Earthquakes are available on Red Bulls Ticket Central or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.