Ryan Meara Flawless in His Return
New York Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara returned to action Wednesday against Reading United A.C. for the first time since suffering a season-ending hip injury last summer. One look at the final score, and you’d see he didn’t miss a beat.
The Red Bulls defeated the Reading United A.C. 2-0 Wednesday night in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup tournament. Meara backstopped the Red Bulls to a 2-0 victory, a clean sheet effort with three saves, two of which came in the second half. Meara’s biggest challenge came in the 61’ minute when a shot was blasted from 25 yards out that seemed to have eyes for the back of the net but, Meara was there to make the one-handed save.
“It was my first real save," Meara said while speaking to reporters. "There was not much action in the first half, I feel great, I am stronger and quicker than I was last year.”
There’s no question Meara was sharp in his 2013 debut, as he is looking to build off a shortened rookie season where he posted a 9-5-4 record and set the shutout record for rookie goalkeepers with 321 minutes of flawless play. The 31st overall 2012 MLS SuperDraft pick was thrown right into the starting role last season from the very first match against FC Dallas, a 2-1 road loss. The trial by fire allowed him to gain valuable experience, but the long lay off and recovery from his injury was tough for Meara. Emphasis on was.
“Finally, it felt great to be back and feel the support from all my teammates and staff.”
Meara was visibly excited before the match, and not much changed afterward. You could see the smile on his face from the second he stepped on the field and sense he was happy to be back. Not only was Meara in good spirits, but his teammates in the locker room also shared the same sentiment with cheers of “The kid is back!”
The Red Bulls will continue their quest for the U.S. Open Cup against the New England Revolution on June 12th at 7:30 p.m. at Harvard University. New England has posted a 0-1-1 record against the Red Bulls this season and is coming off a 5-1 victory against the Rochester Rhinos in the third round of the U.S. Open Cup.
MLS regular season action continues for the Red Bulls this Saturday when they host Vancouver Whitecaps FC for a 7:00 PM match at Red Bull Arena. Get tickets now at Red Bulls Ticket Central, or by calling 877.RB.SOCCER.