PHOENIX - A busy day here in Arizona, as the Red Bulls have two matches in two days. The players involved in tonight’s Desert Diamond Cup match against Real Salt Lake, tonight at 10:00 PM ET, traveled to Tucson this morning to rest up for the game. Meanwhile, those featuring in tomorrow night’s clash against UNAM Pumas at Chase Field as part of “Red Bull Reto del Sol” trained this morning at Grand Canyon University. The coaching staff will travel to Tucson later this afternoon for the Real Salt Lake game. Check out the match preview, where we caught up with Mike Petke and Corey Hertzog.
Regarding tonight’s match and all of the Desert Diamond Cup games, make sure you go to www.mlssoccer.com, which will be providing a live stream and commentary from Allen Hopkins, Brian Dunseth and Greg Lalas. We will also be providing periodic updates on our Twitter account and have a full recap and reaction after the match.
For “Red Bull Reto del Sol” on Thursday, Steve Cangialosi and Shep Messing will call the game starting at 10:00 PM ET live on MSG+. The match will also be shown nationally on ESPN Deportes and ESPN3.
Here are a few other notes:
- Guest player and midfielder Andrew Welker joined the squad yesterday and could play tonight.
- Defender Wilman Conde is making progress to earn a preseason debut within the next few days. Conde was working himself into match fitness in the first preseason trip to Mexico and did not play in a game.
- Midfielder Teemu Tainio, who was afflicted with a calf strain during the Mexico trip, is back training fully with the team.
- Look to start seeing more Red Bulls play 90 minutes in these preseason matches starting tonight with the season being less than three weeks away.
Check out this photo gallery from the past couple of days of training here in Arizona:
Real Salt Lake Preview
Tonight's 10pm ET match against Real Salt Lake marks the first of five preseason matches scheduled for the team's trip to Arizona AND the first one that will stream live. We will be passing along more info later today on where you can watch the game, so be sure to check back here on the blog or keep tabs on our Facebook and Twitter feeds.
Thursday's match against Pumas UNAM, "Reto Del Sol," is the only one of the five that is not part of the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. However it marks the first game of 2012 that is available on MSG+. Coverage starts at 10pm ET.
It's been a while since we first announced our participation in the Desert Diamond Cup, so here's a quick refresher of what the schedule looks like (all times ET):
Wednesday, February 22nd, 2012
8:00 PM New England Revolution vs. LA Galaxy
10:00 PM New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake
Saturday, February 25th, 2012
8:00 PM LA Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake
10:00 PM New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
8:00 PM Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution
10:00 PM LA Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls
Saturday, March 3rd, 2011
8:00 PM MLS 3rd Place vs. MLS 4th Place
10:00 PM MLS 1st Place vs. MLS 2nd Place
All game dates and times are subject to change
As you'll see in the photos below, the guys got in a light session on the pitch today, complete with the return of Captain Thierry Henry. Head Coach Hans Backe, Henry and Rafa Marquez also took part in a press conference following practice.
In case you missed it earlier, here's the full list of players attending training in Arizona. Also worth noting (since a number of you were asking): forward Juan Agudelo is not with the team, as he was recently called up to the US U-23 squad in Frisco, TX. The good news is his ankle is healing well ahead of schedule.
Remember, Thursday's game against Pumas UNAM will broadcast on MSG+ at 10pm ET.
With that, let's get to some photos:
The team arrived in Phoenix yesterday afternoon in preparation for the second round of preseason play, the final leg of exhibitions before the season kicks off in Dallas on Mar. 11. New York finished 1-0-2 in the preseason tour through Mexico and will play five more games in Arizona over the next two weeks. Thursday's Reto del Sol match against Pumas UNAM will broadcast live on MSG+ starting at 10pm ET.
We'll have more updates coming your way soon, but in the meantime here is the list of players that traveled with the team to Arizona:
2- Teemu Tainio
3- Jonathan Borrajo
4- Rafa Marquez
5- Markus Holgersson
6- Corey Hertzog
7- Roy Miller
8- Jan Gunnar Solli
10- Mehdi Ballouchy
11- Dax McCarty
12- Wilman Conde
13- Leobardo Alvarez*
14- Thierry Henry
15- Tyler Ruthven*
16- Connor Lade
18- Ryan Meara
19- Dane Richards
20- Joel Lindpere
22- Stephen Keel
23- Ryan Maduro*
24- Jeremy Vuolo
25- Brandon Barklage*
26- Giorgi Chirgadze*
27- Jhonny Arteaga*
31- Ray Burse*
32- Jose Angulo*
33- Kenny Cooper
40- Phillip Tuttle*
44- Victor Palsson
91- Willis Forko*
Montclair - Juan Agudelo’s ankle sprain, an injury he sustained last month while playing with the U.S. Men’s National Team, is progressing ahead of schedule.
“We didn’t [think] he could play anything in Mexico because of his injury,” said assistant coach Jan Halvorsen from the campus of Montclair State University. “But he has done well the last four or five days in the camp, in training. The medical staff said that he actually could play 20 minutes in the last game.”
Agudelo came on as a sub in the 75th minute of the Tecos match, the final meeting of the team’s preseason trip through Mexico (Watch Highlights). Chances were limited on both sides of the pitch at that point, culminating in a 1-1 tie 15 minutes later, but it was refreshing for Agudelo to make his way onto the pitch and test out his ankle.
“It was good. Good to finally get back,” he said. “To recover from the injury, that took like a month or three weeks. It was really boring. And to finally get on the field, it felt good.”
U.S. Soccer announced Thursday that Agudelo would be joining the U-23 squad as they aim to take on Mexico’s U-23 on Wednesday, Feb. 29. Agudelo stated that his ankle feels about “90 percent,” but that he does have to work on his fitness ahead of the trip to Frisco, TX.
“I realized that I need to play to be happy. And when I started playing my mood started to get better and stuff like that," Agudelo said. "It’s just tough because watching your teammates play and just wishing that you were just there, it’s tough to watch and just be on a bike, and just peddling nowhere.”
The Red Bulls leave for the second leg of the preseason Monday and will face Mexican side Pumas UNAM on Feb. 23 as part of Reto Del Sol (Tickets Available Here). From there the team will jet off to Tucson to compete in the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup.
Guadalajara - And that's that. The Red Bulls played Tecos to a 1-1 draw Tuesday night in Guadalajara, wrapping up the third and final game of the Mexican preseason and finishing the run with a 1-0-2 record (Full Recap).
Forward Kenny Cooper launched one heck of a shot from 25 to 30 yards out in the 28th minute to register the only Red Bulls goal of the game and his second of the preseason. Note: You'll definitely want to catch this one on the video recap.
Goalkeeper and SuperDraft pick Ryan Meara played his first full 90 since the club selected him out of Fordham last month. Outside of giving up the one goal, he did step up big on a number of chances and made some key saves to keep the Red Bulls in it long enough to try and pull out the win.
Overall a strong performance to close out the Mexican preseason tour through the Riviera Maya and Guadalajara. The guys have a full day of travel ahead of them Wednesday but then get the remainder of the week and the weekend off. Monday they fly out to Arizona for the final leg of the preseason with matches in Phoenix and Tucson. We will of course keep you up to date on that action as it unfolds.
Here are some pictures from Tuesday's match:
Guadalajara - The day started in Riviera Maya like any other day this week for the Red Bulls and ended in Guadalajara seven hours later.
After a light session on the pitch, including 8v8 and a little running to get the blood flowing again after a day off, the team headed off to the airport to catch a flight out to Guadalajara. It'll be a short stay in town, culminating with Tuesday's 8pm ET kick-off against Tecos in the final game of the preseason trip through Mexico. Then it's back home to Jersey early Wednesday afternoon.
We'll have more updates Tuesday as we edge closer to kick off, including Mike Petke and Dax McCarty giving their preseason input and previewing the Tecos match. In the mean time, here are a few pics from today's training session:
Riviera Maya - Just a short and sweet update today as the guys had the day off to regen and recoup following yesterday's match against Merida.
The next few days may be a bit of a whirlwind for the team. On Monday, there will be a brief practice in the morning on the pitch here in Mexico before heading back to the resort to pack up and bus it to the airport for the late-afternoon flight to Guadalajara. Tuesday's match against Tecos is set to kick off at 7pm CT (8pm ET), and then it's back to Jersey on Wednesday. We'll keep you posted on the busy close to the preseason trip through Mexico.
If you haven't seen it already, here's the promised video of highlights and player reactions from Saturday's match:
Riviera Maya - The Red Bulls played to a 1-1 draw against Merida Saturday evening in the second game of their three-game preseason tour through Mexico (full recap here). Connor Lade was the lone Red Bulls goal scorer as he registered the equalizer in the 80th minute to prevent the shut out.
In the video preview leading up to the match, Head Coach Hans Backe suggested Merida would look to display strong ball possession throughout and dictate the style of play early on. That was certainly the case as Merida pressured offensively and thwarted a number of Red Bulls shifts up the pitch at midfield. The possession game eventually evened out later in the match, allowing Lade to break free on a great pass from Georgi Chirgadze to tie it up on a chip past the goalkeeper. We'll have a video recap including highlights and player reactions Sunday, so you'll be able to see for yourself.
Outside of scheduled regeneration in the morning, Sunday's schedule is open for the guys to relax and enjoy the final full day on the resort. The team flies out to Guadalajara Monday ahead of Tuesday's 7pm CT (8pm ET) match against Tecos and returns home to Red Bull Arena late Wednesday night.
Here are a few photos from Saturday's match:
Riviera Maya - He did it again.
Thierry Henry showed off some last-minute heroics once again for his former club, Arsenal, with a strong finish off a cross in stoppage time to help the Gunners steal a 2-1 win over Sunderland.
The goal marks Henry's third since rejoining the North London club on loan back in early January. On Friday, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger confirmed Henry's loan would be completed on Feb. 16, as the Frenchman is expected back state side by Feb. 17.
“I would have loved him to stay two more weeks but he has to go back. He is captain of Red Bulls. Just to appear on the first day of the season would be unfair to them. We accepted at the start that we would release him on February 16. So we respect our word,” Wenger said Friday.