Red Bulls topple Atlante in Penalty Kicks, 4-3

New York earns first victory of preseason after 90 scoreless minutes

Rafa Marquez Atlante 2

Photo Credit: 

Boosted by a stout defensive performance and several stellar saves by
goalkeeper Greg Sutton, the New York Red Bulls earned their first win in their
opening match of the 2011 preseason with a victory over Mexican side, Atlante
FC, at Andres Quintana Roo Stadium.

After the
game ended in a scoreless draw, the teams went to penalty kicks. Atlante had a
chance to win but goalkeeper Moises Munoz’s spot kick was saved by Greg Sutton.
Austin da Luz ended up converting the game-winning penalty kick as Atlante’s
Sonny Guadarrama hit his shot off the left post in the sixth round, giving New York a 4-3 victory
in the shootout.

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“I was very
happy with the defending,” said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. “We had almost
every session so far since we started in New
Jersey working on the defending game, just working
very hard but it’s only been two weeks. I must say, the way we defended overall
over 90 minutes was almost perfect and with a very young team in the second
half, I was happy for those guys that they could have a clean sheet.”

The Red
Bulls, returning after a 2010 which saw them win the Eastern Conference regular
season title, were looking to establish a rhythm early and had the first
scoring chance of the match three minutes in, as midfielder Dane Richards
skipped past two defenders to the endline and found Juan Agudelo, whose close
range shot missed the target.

In the 15th
minute, Atlante threatened New York’s
net when Reimond Manco’s 20-yard blast was stopped by Sutton. Richards again
menaced the Atlante defense soon after, gathering a Tony Tchani through ball,
cutting to his left foot and pulling an attempt just past the right post. With
eight minutes left in the period, Atlante nearly put its name on the
scoresheet. Christian Bermudez streaked down the left wing with space and found
Manco by the penalty spot. However, Manco one-timed his shot over the bar.

The Red
Bulls changed all of their field players at halftime – a move not unusual in
the first preseason match due to fitness issues. Backe trotted out many younger players, several of whom were making their New York debuts.

“I thought
obviously we played a very strong team in the first half and then a very young
team around me in the second half and I thought the lads were fantastic in the
second half,” said midfielder Carl Robinson. “They took on what Hans had said,
what we had worked on in training and they showed that as well.”

Already in
the midst of their Mexican Clausura schedule, Atlante made six substitutions
and had the first scoring opportunity eight minutes in. Mario Ortiz took the
ball on the right side and sent a low cross that Guadarrama re-directed
on-target, but Sutton sprawled out to keep the game scoreless.

Sutton made
two huge saves with eight minutes left in the match. First, he stuffed forward
Giancarlo Maldonado at the top of the box. The rebound floated up in the air
and Maldonado’s ensuing bicycle kick was kicked away by the Canadian
goalkeeper. Moments later, Maldonado created enough space for himself to slide
a shot that trickled past the left post. Fellow substitute Luis Angel Landin
was able to get past Sutton in the 88th minute but was denied by the
right upright.

In the
penalty shootout, the hosts earned a 4-3 lead in the final round with Munoz
having the opportunity to give Atlante the victory. However, Sutton guessed
correctly, diving to his left to parry away his counterpart’s shot. After da
Luz rifled his attempt into the back of the net, Guadarrama stepped up and
poked his shot off the left post to give New
York the win.

deflected praise, joking after the match that he, “Wouldn’t have heard the end
of it if (another goalkeeper) scored on me.”

“It was
just one of those things where you kind of read each other and fortunately
enough, I was able to read him out and hold him out and make the save. And, the
guys did a good job in making their kicks.”

The Red
Bulls will face Chivas de Guadalajara in Guadalajara, Mexico next Tuesday.

“To win the
first game was good but we just started preparing ourselves,” said Red Bulls defender and
Mexican National Team standout Rafa Marquez. “Beating a Mexican team is always
positive and it was a good start for us.”

New York Red Bulls 0, Atlante FC 0
Red Bulls win on penalty kicks, 4-3
February 9, 2011; Andres Quintana Roo Stadium; Cancun, Mexico

Scoring Summary:

Penalty Kick Shootout:
NY: Lassiter (Goal)
ATL: Maldonado (Goal)
NY: Hertzog (Goal)
ATL: Landin (Goal)
NY: Robinson (Save)
ATL: Ortiz (Miss)
NY: Rooney (Save)
ATL: Fonseca (Goal)
NY: Ibrahim (Goal)
ATL: M. Munoz (Save)
NY: da Luz (Goal)
ATL: Guadarrama (Off Post)

Disciplinary Summary:
Jan Gunnar Solli (caution) 44’
NY: Salou Ibrahim (caution) 73’

New York Red Bulls  – First Half Lineup: Greg Sutton (GK), Carlos Mendes, Rafael Marquez, Tim Ream, Danleigh Borman, Dane Richards, Tony Tchani, Joel Lindpere, Jan Gunnar Solli, Juan Agudelo, Thierry Henry

Second Half Lineup: Greg Sutton, Billy Cortes (Sacir Hot 71'), Stephen Keel*, Tyler Lassiter, Teddy Schneider, Matt Kassel (Irving Garcia 71'), Carl Robinson, John Rooney, Austin da Luz, Conor Chinn (Salou Ibrahim 71'), Corey Hertzog

* - Non-Roster Player

Atlante FC –First Half Lineup: Moises Munoz (GK), Luis Venegas, Alex Diego, Mathias Cardacio, Reimond Manco, Arturo Munoz, Daniel Guerrero, Christian Bermudez, Diego Ordaz, Jorge Hernandez, Ever Alfaro

Second Half Lineup: Moises Munoz (GK), Mathias Cardacio (Eduardo Arce 57’), Alex Diego, Daniel Guerrero (Luis Angel Landin 57’), Ever Alfaro (Giancarlo Maldonado 57’), Edgar Ivan Solis, Mario Ortiz, Francisco Fonseca, Sonny Guadarrama, Andres Carevic, Sergio Napoles

Referee: Ricardo Arellano