On paper, the friendly might seem like a meaningless fixture in a cluttered schedule for New York. But Sunday afternoon’s 3-1 victory over Juventus may have meant the world to the home side.
Losers of three straight in league play, the match against this storied team was an opportunity for the Red Bulls to get the bad taste of their recent string of results out of their mouth. But the fact that New York held their own, knocked the ball around and created chances was as encouraging as the victory.
It was an entertaining end-to-end affair. Greg Sutton was busy in goal, making five saves. The Red Bulls fielded mainly reserves, their starters in the friendly combining for just 17 starts in league play this season.
Juventus' best chance of the first half came in the 41st minute when Alessandro Del Piero, streaking down the left side of the field, banged a shot that beat Sutton in goal, but rattled off the post. The effort seemed to awaken New York.
Three minutes later, a patient build-up by the Red Bulls almost produced a goal for the home side. Near the top of the box, Jeremy Hall fed John Wolyniec, who fed a diagonal ball across the box to Conor Chinn. Trapping the ball neatly, Chinn was able to get off a nice shot that forced Juventus keeper Alex Manninger into a save.
Whatever head coach Hans Backe said in the Red Bulls locker room at the half must have worked, but the result was a clear response from the team. In the 50th minute, a poor Juve clearance fell to Irving Garcia about 25 yards from goal.
Lining up his shot, Garcia hit an immaculate laser that swerved past Manninger and pinged off the post. The rebound then fell to Jeremy Hall at the edge of the six-yard box who slotted home a shot past the sprawled out Juve 'keeper.
“It may have been the best shot I’ve ever had that didn’t go in,” Garcia said after the match. “Mainly because it was against Juventus.”
Five minutes later, Roy Miller moved into the attacking third and hit a beautiful cross into the box directly into the path of a streaking Chinn. The rookie forward took one touch and powered a shot directly into the back of the net.
As the Juventus fans began to head to the exits, one last explosion of cheers from the New York fans came in the 75th minute. From his central position, Sinisa Ubiparipovic played a ball wide to second-half substitute Dane Richards on the right wing. The speedy Jamaican winger then sent a centering pass along the ground to a wide open Juan Pablo Angel, also a second-half insertion, who hit the back of a wide-open net.
An Amauri goal on the stroke of stoppage time gave the visitors some consolation in a match in which they were clearly bested by their hosts.
“This is a good game for us,” defender Carlos Mendes told MLSsoccer.com. "Good to win any game, but especially when you’re playing a great team like we did today."
NY – Hall (unassisted) – 50’
NY – Chinn (Miller) – 55’
NY- Angel (Richards)-75’
JUVE – Amauri (unassisted)-90’
JUVE – Brandao (yellow card) – 65’
New York – Sutton, Hall (Stammler), Mendes, Clebao, Borman (Miller), Sassano (Albright), Tchani, Garcia (Richards), Ubiparipovic, Wolyniec, Chinn (Angel)
Juventus – Manninger (Bardi), Zebina (Grygera), Brandao (Sialhamidzic), Grosso (Silva Falque), Bernadini, Marrone, Diego (Paolucci, Bellacastro), Candreva (Ekdal), Padoin, Del Piero (de Ceglie), Trezeguet (Amauri)
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.