Red Bulls Weekly Update: October 25

New York cliches top spot in the East; takes on San Jose in Eastern Semis

Juan Pablo Angel

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

RED BULLS RETURN TO PLAYOFFS SATURDAY IN SAN JOSE: Fresh off completing the best single season turnaround in Major League Soccer history, the Red Bulls return to the MLS Cup Playoffs after a one season absence as they begin their Eastern Conference Semifinal Series on the road in San Jose against the Earthquakes on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium (10:00 PM ET; TV: Local TV TBD/Telefutura; Radio: WADO 1280 AM). The return leg of the aggregate goals series is scheduled for Thursday, November 4 at 8:00 PM at Red Bull Arena, and tickets, starting at just $20 apiece, are on sale now and can be purchased by calling 1.877.RBSOCCER or by CLICKING HERE.

The winner of the series will take on the victor of the Columbus Crew-Colorado Rapids match-up in the Eastern Conference Final. Under the semifinal series format, the team that scores the most goals over the two legs will advance to the Eastern Conference Final. By virtue of being the top seed in the East, the Red Bulls have home field advantage throughout the playoffs and would host a potential Eastern Conference Final at Red Bull Arena.

New York clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference with a 2-0 victory over the New England Revolution last Thursday in its final match of the regular season. Dane Richards’ fifth goal of the season and fifth in his past seven matches proved to be the winner, and Joel Lindpere added an insurance strike in second half stoppage time. Bouna Coundoul and the Red Bulls defense held strong in posting their 13th shutout of the season, a single-season high for the club. With the victory, New York finished the season 15-9-6, 51 points, and completed the best one-season turnaround in league history. The Red Bulls improved by 10 victories and 30 points from 2009, when the team finished last in MLS.

WIN INCREASE IN CONSECUTIVE SEASONS, MLS ALL-TIME:
Team, Seasons, Win Increase
T-1. New York Red Bulls, 2009-2010, 10

1. NY MetroStars, 1999-2000, 10***
T-3. Kansas City Wizards, 1999-2000, 8***
T-3. Los Angeles Galaxy, 1997-1998, 8***
T-3. Colorado Rapids, 2001-2002, 8
*** Prior to the 2000 season, there were no ties in MLS matches

RED BULLS ON FACING SAN JOSE: Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe and Rookie of the Year candidate and defender Tim Ream after training Monday morning:

RED BULLS HEAD COACH HANS BACKE

On San Jose:
“They are a very, very hardworking team. A lot of energy and a strong mentality. They are a direct team in the way they play. They have players who can make a difference. Of course, with (Bobby) Convey, (Chris) Wondolowski, and Geovanni, they are a real threat. As I said before, I don’t really bother that much with which team we play because it’s the same tough game you have to play, whoever it is. You just have to take it from there and take care of your own business. You have to be as well prepared as possible how to play against San Jose and really follow the game plan - it has to be much more disciplined. You can’t get away now with some mistakes.”

RED BULLS DEFENDER TIM REAM

On facing San Jose this weekend in the playoffs:
“It’s going to be a good match up. Obviously, earlier in the year, we played them at home and they beat us pretty good. And then they came to our place and we beat them pretty good. I don’t think it really matter who you play in the playoffs. Any team can beat any other team in any given day in this league. I think we match up pretty well against them. We just need to go in there and play our game and we’ll come out on top.”

On Golden Boot winner, Chris Wondolowski:
“He’s a goal scorer. He’s proven all year that if he gets in good situations and puts himself in good spots, he is going to finish off goals. We just really need to concentrate on limiting his chances and keeping him away from the good areas that he’s going to try and get in. We have to limit the balls into him as well. Obviously, he’s not their only dangerous guy.”

LAST WEEK:
Red Bulls 2, New England Revolution 0 at Red Bull Arena on October 21.    

THIS WEEK:
Eastern Conference Semifinal Leg 1 – Red Bulls at San Jose Earthquakes on Saturday, October 30 at Buck Shaw Stadium at 10:00 PM ET (TV: Local TV TBD/Telefutura; Radio: WADO 1280 AM).

NEXT WEEK:   
Eastern Conference Semifinal Leg 2 – Red Bulls vs. San Jose Earthquakes on Thursday, November 4 at Red Bull Arena at 8:00 PM ET (TV: ESPN2/ESPN Deportes/ESPN3; Radio: WADO 1280 AM).

FINAL MLS STANDINGS - INCLUDES GAMES OF SUNDAY, October 24, 2010

SCOUTING THE QUAKES: The San Jose Earthquakes qualified for the playoffs for the first time since they rejoined the league in 2008, finishing with a record of 13-10-7 and 46 points. San Jose was one of six Western Conference teams to book its ticket for the postseason. With the top two clubs in the Eastern and Western Conferences automatically qualifying, four Western Conference Wild Card teams also clinched berths and the fifth and sixth placed clubs – Colorado and San Jose, respectively – moved to the Eastern bracket.

Frank Yallop’s side comes into the match after dropping its regular season finale 4-1 at the hands of the Kansas City Wizards. The ‘Quakes one goal in the loss was by striker Chris Wondolowski, who scored four goals in the final week of the season to overtake the Galaxy’s Edson Buddle for the Budweiser Golden Boot for the 2010 season. Wondolowski scored 18 goals in 2010, which was good for 52.9 percent of his club’s 34 goals on the season, which is the second highest percentage for one player in MLS history (trailing only Carlos Ruiz’s 54.4 percent of the Galaxy’s goals in 2002). San Jose also features Brazilian midfielder and Designated Player Geovanni, who joined the team in August after a successful club career in South America and Europe.

The Red Bulls and Earthquakes split their two fixtures in the 2010 season, with both team’s posting shutouts at home. On May 8, the Red Bulls fell 4-0 in San Jose after playing most of the match a man down after Luke Sassano was sent off 13 minutes in. In the return match on August 28 at Red Bull Arena, New York bested San Jose 2-0 on goals by Dane Richards and Thierry Henry. The teams have never met in the MLS Cup Playoffs. All-time in the regular season against San Jose, the Red Bulls are 9-15-6. New York’s all-time record in all postseason matches is 8-14-5.

2010 RED BULLS SEASON HIGHLIGHTS:

STINGY DEFENSE: The 2010 Red Bulls were the best defensive side in club history. This season, Hans Backe’s revamped defense posted franchise best marks in shutouts (13), goals conceded (29), and goals conceded at home (9).

HOME COOKING: The brand new Red Bull Arena proved to be a fortress, as New York enjoyed one of its best home seasons in franchise history in 2010. Their 10 home wins matched a franchise high, and they conceded just nine goals at home, which was second best in the league behind Real Salt Lake (7).  

REAM LEADING THE WAY: New York Rookie of the Year candidate Tim Ream led Major League Soccer in minutes played for the 2010 season. Ream and Colorado defender Drew Moor both played every minute of all 30 regular season matches, totaling 2700.

MAJOR IMPROVEMENTS IN 2010: Aside from winning ten more games and securing 30 more points in 2010 from the 2009 season, the Red Bulls improved in numerous other facets of the game. Below are some examples of the drastic progress the club made in 2010.

WINS
2009 - 2010
5 - 15

POINTS
2009 - 2010
21 - 51

GOALS ALLOWED
2009 - 2010
47 - 29

GOALS SCORED
2009 - 2010
27 - 38

AVERAGE HOME ATTENDANCE
2009 - 2010
14,445 - 18,441

HIGHEST POSITION IN STANDINGS
2009 - 2010
Tied - 5th - 1st

2011 SEASON TICKET INFORMATION RELEASED: Red Bull New York announced details regarding renewal dates for 2011 Season Ticket Plans. Current Red Bulls Season Ticket Holders may start renewing their plans by calling 1.877.RBSOCCER or CLICKING HERE. The Red Bulls, led by captain Juan Pablo Angel and international stars Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez, completed the best single season turnaround in MLS history and captured the club’s second Eastern Conference regular season crown in 2010.

All fans that purchase a 2011 Full Season Ticket Plan starting Monday, Oct. 18, will automatically gain access to discounted 2010 Playoff Tickets at Red Bull Arena.  For more information on this offer, call 1.877.RBSOCCER or CLICK HERE.

With the Portland Timbers and Vancouver Whitecaps joining MLS in 2011, the regular season has expanded from 15 to 17 home matches. All Season Ticket Holders will receive tickets for all regular season, home playoff matches and a bonus event. Other benefits include: Pre-sale access to Red Bull Arena events, a Season Ticket Holder gift, invitation to exclusive events such as Meet the Team Day, access to discounted fee-free add-on tickets for home regular season and playoff matches and discounts on select merchandise in the Bullshop.

2011 Season Ticket Prices are as follows:
Supporters: $320
Endline: $340
Corner Flag: $400
Sideline: $530
Midfield: $720
Premium Midfield*: $1000
*Includes complimentary Bulls’ Corner access for each seat purchased

Depending on the date, fans that renew early will be able to receive benefits such as guarantee of 2010 seat location (s), invitation to a private Red Bulls training session and a complementary Bulls’ Corner Membership.

RED BULLS IN LINE FOR POSTSEASON AWARDS: Several New York Red Bulls are in line for MLS postseason awards this year:

Most Valuable Player: Juan Pablo Angel:  The Colombian striker had one of his most consistent and productive seasons since joining the Red Bulls back in 2007. In 2010, Angel amassed career highs in both games played (30) and minutes (2,593). He ranked sixth in the league with 13 goals, and also registered three assists while firing a career high and league leading 98 shots. Three of Angel’s goals were game winners, and two of them came in second half stoppage time, including his dramatic free kick winner against Houston on June 2.

Coach of the Year: Hans Backe:  Under Backe’s tenure, the Red Bulls have come from being at the bottom of the MLS table to engineering the biggest turnaround in league history, and won the Eastern Conference for the second time in team history. The most significant improvement perhaps was New York’s defense, as it gave up 18 less goals this season than it did last season. Overall, the team conceded just 29 times, including a mere nine at home, both top marks in team history. The Swede, in his first season in MLS, helped New York win ten more games than it did in 2009.

Newcomer of the Year: Joel Lindpere: Not much was known about the Estonian International when he signed with the team back in preseason, but it didn’t take long for the league to see his exploits. Lindpere has been the Red Bulls’ most consistent midfielder throughout the season, and is a huge reason the team is at the top of the Eastern Conference table. Lindpere got the team off to a dream start in its new stadium, rocking the house with the first ever league goal at Red Bull Arena on opening night, his first of three goals so far this season. The Estonian showed a penchant for setting up his teammates, and led the club with six assists. His workrate and versatility allowed the coaching staff to employ him at virtually all midfield positions, as he started 29 matches this year. 

Rookie of the Year/Defender of the Year: Tim Ream: Ream may have been the third player the Red Bulls selected in this year’s MLS SuperDraft, but when all is said and done, he may end up as the top player who came out of a very talented 2010 rookie class. The former Saint Louis University product showed the calmness and poise of a veteran and was a standout defender all season on a first place team.  Ream not only led his club, but the entire league, in minutes played this season. Ream has been largely responsible for revamping a Red Bulls defense that struggled mightily last season. Without Ream in 2009, New York conceded 47 times; this season, the club was the stingiest defense in the East, giving up just 29 goals.

Comeback Player of the Year: Chris Albright: When New York acquired Albright on Draft Day 2010, his status for the season was uncertain. Albright was in the middle of rehabbing a knee injury with multiple setbacks, an injury that limited him to just one appearance in 2009 with the New England Revolution. Albright completed his long journey back to the field on April 27 in the U.S. Open Cup, and made his return to league play on May 20th versus Columbus. Since then, Albright locked down the Red Bulls’ starting right back spot, starting in 18 matches and registering two assists. The veteran provided the Red Bulls defense with some leadership and experience, and cemented himself as one of the most important cogs in New York’s push for a title.

Comeback Player of the Year: Carlos Mendes: After being limited to just 12 appearances in 2009 and undergoing season-ending hip surgery, sixth year defender Carlos Mendes underwent intensive rehabilitation in the offseason and came back to complete perhaps his best season of his professional career in 2010. Since being reinserted into the Starting XI on May 29 at New England, Mendes became a fixture in central defense, starting in 20 matches. Together with central defense partner Tim Ream, Mendes has helped lead a Red Bulls defense that allowed the fewest goals in the Eastern Conference.

RED BULLS DONATE $25,000 TO HARRISON: In a joint statement Friday, Oct. 22, Harrison Mayor Raymond J. McDonough and Red Bull New York Managing Director Erik Stover announced a $25,000 donation to the Town of Harrison in support of the Town's efforts to construct over 2,000 feet of protective fencing along Frank E. Rogers Boulevard (see photo attached). The project, already underway, will replace temporary fencing with permanent, themed fencing and bring a "new look" to the Boulevard.

Mayor McDonough praised the Red Bulls for their ongoing commitment to Harrison, its growth, and progress. “This is a true partnership in every sense of the word,” said McDonough. “I am proud to be part of the stadium project and the team."

Stover again stressed the Red Bulls’ desire to present the ultimate fan experience both on and off the pitch. "This safety fencing will serve to protect our fans on game day as well as add a decorative touch to the Boulevard. It will also serve to protect all of the Harrison community on non game days.”

SOLO FUTBOL AIRS SUNDAY:   Red Bulls WADO 1280 AM and 92.7 FM announcers Ernesto Motta and Robert Sierra host their weekly call-in radio show, Solo Futbol, on Sunday night from 8-11 PM on WADO 1280 AM. Motta, Sierra and their panel of experts and guests analyze the Beautiful Game and the New York Red Bulls.