Despite goals from midfielder Dane Richards and forward Juan Agudelo, the New York Red Bulls ended their first preseason trip of the season in Mexico with a 3-2 loss over Chivas de Guadalajara at Omnilife Stadium Tuesday night.
With the defeat, the Red Bulls dropped to 2-1-0 in preseason play, as Chivas made a furious rally to earn the victory within the last portion of the match.
“I just thought it was lack of focus during the second half, but it’s better that these games happen in preseason than in the regular season,” Agudelo said.
After a stalemate for more than half of the first interval, the Red Bulls broke the deadlock from an excellent individual effort by Richards in the 29th minute. Rafa Marquez had possession in New York’s defensive half and swung a pinpoint long ball to Richards. Richards slipped the ball through the legs of a Chivas defender and raced past a marker before ripping a shot past goalkeeper Hugo Hernandez from the right side of the penalty box.
“First, I wanted to get the ball under control and I got it under control. I wanted to take the first touch inside and I got it done and I saw the defender backing up, so it was just easy from there,” Richards said.
During this portion of the match, the Red Bulls had some of their most consistent possession in the preseason and Richards played the provider of New York second goal 10 minutes after his strike.
The Jamaican intercepted a Chivas pass along their backline and took the ball to the right wing. Richards lofted a cross to an open Agudelo, who made no mistake with his header, nodding it into the back of the net.
As opposed to the wholesale changes Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made in the previous two matches, in interest of building game fitness, he only substituted in Carlos Mendes for trialist Teemu Tainio at halftime. Eight Red Bulls ended up playing at least 75 minutes.
Chivas came out strong to start the second half and had a goal disallowed in 52nd minute when a free kick from the hosts was headed in by Michel Vasquez but the forward was ruled offsides.
However, Chivas closed the gap to one with less than 20 minutes to play. Alberto Medina raced down the left wing and swung a ball to the back post that Jesus Sanchez headed past goalkeeper Greg Sutton. With momentum on their side, Chivas then tied the game in the 80th minute. A dangerous cross in the path of substitute Antonio Gallardo was played into the box that Mendes inadvertently knocked into his own net.
Despite the fact that several of his players were seeing more than 45 minutes for the first time this preseason, Backe refused to blame late-game fatigue for Chivas’ comeback.
“No excuses,” Backe said. “Of course, we are in the end of the first camp and a lot of players are fatigued and a little bit exhausted, but that’s normal. It was a good game for us. High level, (Chivas was a) good football team.”
New York was reduced to 10 men with five minutes to go, as Richards earned his second yellow card for a late challenge on Medina. Chivas was able to earn a last gasp victory with the final play of the match, when Jorge Mora headed home a cross from the penalty spot to give the hosts the win.
“I think we should not be happy, but should be satisfied by the first half with two goals, the defending shape was excellent and I think if I look at the second half also, the defense did well. I don’t think (Chivas) created that many chances but they were very effective when they got these three goals. Overall, I’m satisfied with the effort,” Backe said.
The Red Bulls return home on Wednesday to the New York/New Jersey area before embarking on their second trip of the preseason on Monday, Feb. 21 to Ft. Lauderdale, FL. Despite ending its Mexico excursion on a sour note, Backe was pleased with the training camp overall.
“It’s been very good, one of the best I’ve been on. If you look at the facilities in Riviera Maya with the hotel, the food, everything has been top class,” Backe said.
New York Red Bulls 2, CD Chivas de Guadalajara 3
February 15, 2011; Omnilife Stadium; Guadalajara, Mexico
NY: Dane Richards 1 (Rafa Marquez 1) 29’
NY: Juan Agudelo 1 (Dane Richards 1) 39’
CHV: Jesus Sanchez 1 (Alberto Medina 1) 71’
CHV: Carlos Mendes (own goal) 80’
CHV: Jorge Mora 1 93’+
CHV: Marco Fabian (caution) 35’
CHV: Christian Alvarez (caution) 43’
NY: Dane Richards (caution) 80’
NY: Dane Richards (second caution, ejection) 85’
CHV: Ulises Davila (caution) 91’+
New York Red Bulls (2-0-1) – Greg Sutton (GK), Teemu Tainio* (Carlos Mendes 46’), Rafa Marquez (Stephen Keel* 81’), Tim Ream, Danleigh Borman, Dane Richards (Ejected 85’), Tony Tchani (Carl Robinson 76’), Joel Lindpere (Austin da Luz 76’), Jan Gunnar Solli, Juan Agudelo, Thierry Henry (Corey Hertzog 69’)
CD Chivas de Guadalajara – Hugo Hernandez (GK), Christian Perez, Kristian Alvarez, Mario De Luna, Jairo Gonzalez (Omar Esparza 73’), Edgar Mejia, Ulises Davila, Marco Fabian (Jorge Mora 63’), Alberto Medina, Jesus Sanchez (Xavier Baez 73’), Michel Vasquez (Antonio Gallardo 63’)
Referee: Paul Enrique Delgadillo
Assistant Referees: Marcos Quintero, Francisco Javier Perez
Fourth Referee: Roman Rafael Medina
* - Non-Roster Player