Riviera Maya – Teamwork is a large part of preseason trips and something that only strengthens with time, but as Tuesday’s 2-0 win over FC Dallas showed, goalkeepers Ryan Meara and Jeremy Vuolo have no problem showing off that skill.
The two offseason additions combined for a clean sheet in their preseason debuts with the club, each displaying a strong sense of command from inside the box and direction for defenders in their own end.
Meara, who started the first half of the preseason match, was happy to get some of the butterflies out of his system after a week of training sessions on the pitch in Mexico.
“Today was great. It was nice to get the first game out of the way,” said Meara. “A clean sheet, that’s really what we want going forward for the season. That’s the expectation and just to get a first win and build a foundation for the season.”
Dallas pressured offensively midway through the first half but the opportunities were few and far between thanks to a strong defensive line and Meara’s goalkeeping. Dallas forward Brek Shea nearly got his head on a strong cross in front of the Red Bulls’ goal, but the 6-foot-4 Meara stood tall and reached up to snag the ball.
“It’s nice when you get a play like that –come out, claim a cross, it just helps with the confidence,” said Meara. “You know, he’s a great player, and it just helps to settle down into the game.”
Vuolo was equally impressive during the second half of play, thwarting Dallas opportunities and directing his defenders along the way to 45 minutes of shutout soccer.
“It was a good game, good match. I think we definitely had the majority of possession and control in the second half, I think the first half as well,” said Vuolo. “It felt good. Felt good getting out there for our first official game.”
Late in the second half, with the Red Bulls still holding a 1-0 lead, Vuolo and the defense came under attack after Dallas created a solid scoring chance. But Vuolo held his ground, limited the angle and watched a shot ring off the left post and out to keep the lead intact.
“It was a good strike,” Vuolo said. “Guy hit it straight out of the air, a good volley from about eight yards out but it was fortunate that it hit off the post. We got lucky there.”
Meara, Voulo and the Red Bulls return to action later this week against Mexican side Atlante. Fans are encouraged to follow all of the in-game action on our official Twitter account.