Macoumba Kandji and the newly revamped New York Red Bulls came to Seattle ready to attack. While they still managed to maintain their defensive discipline, they showed a more aggressive game plan than last week. The result was the same, nonetheless—a 1-0 victory that broke a 28-match winless streak on the road. And keeps New York with an impressive 100% record after two matches.
With NY coach Hans Backe at the team hotel with stomach ailments, assistant Richie Williams led his players into the match with an attacking mandate. Kandji scored the only goal in the 21st minute on a goalmouth scramble, and New York’s defense, marshaled by impressive rookie Tim Ream, held Seattle at bay for the duration.
From the outset, the capacity crowd at Qwest Field was treated to an exciting match. After so many low-scoring affairs at home last season, Seattle came out hoping to bag an early goal. But New York weathered the early Seattle storm, with goalkeeper Boula Coundoul looking man-of-the-match solid.
After some early chippiness, the physicality of the game gave way to some excellent attacking soccer from both sides, and Kandji, New York’s most dangerous attacker on the night, finally broke through. The Senegalese striker was first to react to a loose ball in the penalty area, squeezing the ball in off the bottom of the crossbar.
For Seattle, Steve Zakuani led the charge, who had his way with New York right back Jeremy Hall. On several occasions, Zakuani beat him one-on-one and sent in dangerous balls for Seattle to attack. None found the net, though, and Seattle didn’t have anything to show for its franchise record nine corner kicks in the first half.
In the second half, New York stepped on the gas. Kandji forced a diving save from Kasey Keller off some excellent buildup play in the 52nd minute. And Coundoul continued his unbeatable performance. Zakuani turned in a superlative individual effort on a blazing run down the left, but Coundoul, one of the best pure shot-stoppers in the league, tipped the low effort past his far post.
The Sounders continued forward. Tyrone Marshall headed wide at the far post off a free kick. Ljungberg latched onto a cross from Pat Noonan—who subbed on for his Sounders debut—but missed the target with his open header.
Not to be outdone by Noonan, New York sub Danleigh Borman nearly created a goal, streaking down the left side and swerving a cross into the area. Dane Richards should have buried it, but instead shanked it wide.
In the end, neither team found the net before the final whistle as the Sounders supporters in the South end of the field folded up their flags and headed home in the chilly Seattle air. Their boys were beaten.
SEA -- Freddie Ljungberg (caution; Reckless Foul) 10
NY -- Mike Petke (caution; Reckless Foul) 35
NY -- Macoumba Kandji (caution; Reckless Foul) 62
SEA -- James Riley (caution; Unsporting Behavior) 63
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee's Assistants: Darren Clark; Hector Vergara
4th Official: Tyler Ploeger
Time of Game: 1:52