Dane Richards
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Red Bulls Weekly Update: September 20

RED BULLS TRAVEL WEST FOR L.A. SHOWDOWN: The Red Bulls can pull into a tie for first place in the Eastern Conference when they take on the Los Angeles Galaxy in Carson, California on Friday night in a nationally televised showdown (11:00 PM ET; TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes; Radio: WADO 1280 AM).

The Red Bulls are coming off their fifth draw of the season, a 2-2 stalemate last Thursday night against FC Dallas at Pizza Hut Park. New York twice came from behind to level the match. Red Bulls debutant Mehdi Ballouchy tallied his first goal for the team, a first half stoppage time equalizer. After Dallas midfielder Eric Alexander put the Hoops on top again in the second half, the Red Bulls leveled the match once more, as a dangerous Joel Lindpere cross caused an own-goal. The draw improved New York to 12-8-5, 41 points on the season, and with Columbus’ loss to Seattle over the weekend, the Red Bulls trail the Crew by just three points for first place in the Eastern Conference.

New York visits a Galaxy squad that is unbeaten in their last three matches. Los Angeles is coming off a dramatic 2-1 victory at home over D.C. United. With the hosts surrendering first in the 60th minute, Galaxy captain and U.S. International Landon Donovan netted a brace with goals in the 81st and 86th minutes, as the Galaxy improved their league leading record to 15-5-5, 50 points.

This will be the second meeting between the teams this season. On August 14, in front of a sold out crowd at Red Bull Arena, the Galaxy defeated New York 1-0 on an early Edson Buddle goal. In the Red Bulls’ last trip to the Home Depot Center on May 2, 2009, Los Angeles took a 1-0 decision on a Donovan penalty. All-time against the Galaxy, New York is 14-15-5, including a 4-8-3 mark all-time in Los Angeles.

Red Bulls 2, FC Dallas 2 at Pizza Hut Park on September 16.

Red Bulls at Los Angeles Galaxy at Home Depot Center on Friday, September 24 at 11:00 PM ET (TV: ESPN, ESPN Deportes; Radio; WADO 1280 AM)

Red Bulls vs. Kansas City Wizards at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, October 2 at 7:30 PM ET (TV: MSG Plus; Radio: WQBU 92.7 FM)


RED BULLS EARN POINT IN 2-2 DRAW WITH FC DALLAS: New Red Bulls midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy scored in his club debut as New York fought back from one-goal deficits twice to earn a 2-2 draw against FC Dallas Thursday night. Ballouchy, acquired on Tuesday, Sept. 14 from the Colorado Rapids, knocked home a Joel Lindpere cross in first half stoppage time to tie the game at 1, as New York eventually improved to 41 points off a 12-8-5 record.

Midfielder Dane Richards nearly put the visitors in front in the ninth minute after he brushed off FC Dallas defender Jair Benitez, streaked inside the penalty box and fired a near post shot that beat goalkeeper Kevin Hartman and clanged off the upright. Moments later, Richards again had an attempt off a quickly-taken free kick, but his shot skied over the bar.

Richards tested FC Dallas a third time in the 13th minute. New York forward Thierry Henry dribbled to the endline and delivered a deep cross to Richards, whose one-time bouncing volley bound for goal was headed off the line by defender Zach Loyd.

Despite New York’s early chances in a first half which saw it out-shoot the host, 8-1, FC Dallas took the lead in the 23rd minute. FC Dallas defender Heath Pearce curled in a cross to Eric Alexander, who re-directed the ball to an open Milton Rodriguez. Rodriguez snapped his header into the back of the net from close range.

The Red Bulls went up a man six minutes after FC Dallas’ goal when Brek Shea slid in dangerously on Chris Albright and referee Hilario Grajeda showed the midfielder a red card. New York took advantage in first half stoppage time and it was Ballouchy who made an immediate impact in his New York debut. Roy Miller found an open Lindpere racing down the left wing and the Estonian drove a low cross into the box that was knocked in from close range by Ballouchy.

FC Dallas almost took the lead again in the 53rd minute, as Alexander created space for himself in the box and rifled a shot that beat Bouna Coundoul and slammed off the left post. Soon after, Ballouchy volleyed a Henry header towards goal and substitute goalkeeper Dario Sala, who came on for an injured Hartman, fisted it away.

Alexander would get another chance in the 68th minute and this time, did re-gain the lead for the hosts. The FC Dallas midfielder cut through the Red Bulls’ back line and slotted it past Coundoul to make it 2-1.

However, the Red Bulls would tie the game for the second time in the match with eight minutes left off an own goal. Lindpere swung in a low pass that was headed into the FC Dallas net by Benitez.

RED BULLS ACQUIRE MIDFIELDER MEHDI BALLOUCHY FROM COLORADO: Red Bull New York announced on Sept. 14 that it acquired midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy from the Colorado Rapids in exchange for forward Macoumba Kandji.

“We have seen Mehdi in several matches and think that he will be a good fit for our squad,” said Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “We have been looking for an attacking midfielder throughout the season and Mehdi certainly has the attributes to play that role for us. We are excited to have him as we make our run towards the MLS playoffs.”

Ballouchy, 27, appeared in 21 games for the Rapids this season, making 19 starts, and tallying three goals and five assists – a mark that ties the team-high. The Moroccan-born midfielder has been with Colorado since July 2007 season after he was traded to the Rapids by Real Salt Lake in exchange for midfielder Kyle Beckerman. Last season, Ballouchy appeared in 28 games and recorded two goals and a career-high seven assists.

Drafted out of Santa Clara University by Real Salt Lake with the second overall pick in the 2006 MLS SuperDraft, Ballouchy was one of 10 MLS players to feature in all 32 regular season games for his club during a campaign that saw him score two goals and two assists and become a finalist for the MLS Rookie of the Year award. Over his MLS career, Ballouchy has nine goals and 20 assists.

At Santa Clara, Ballouchy was a NSCAA, Soccer America and Soccer Times First-Team All-American and one of the 15 semifinalists for the MAC Hermann Trophy Award, given to the top college player in the country. Ballouchy spent the first year of his college career at Creighton University. Ballouchy was a member of the Moroccan Under-17 and 16 National Teams before moving to the United States when he was 16 years old.

Kandji was signed by New York on Sept. 15, 2008 from the Atlanta Silverbacks of USL-1. He scored one goal for New York this season and played in 41 total regular season games for the club, notching six goals and seven assists.

RED BULLS ACQUIRE DEFENDER CAREY TALLEY: Red Bull New York announced on Sept. 16 that it acquired defender Carey Talley from D.C. United in exchange for a conditional second round 2011 MLS SuperDraft selection.

“Carey is an experienced veteran of Major League Soccer who will undoubtedly add leadership and depth to our defense,” said Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “We are pleased to add him to our squad and look forward to his contributions.”

Talley, 34, has appeared in 15 games for United this season, making 13 starts, and recorded one goal over 1,141 minutes of action. The defender rejoined United, the club he began his career with, this season after spending the previous two seasons with Chivas USA.

The Cordova, TN native has also played for Real Salt Lake, FC Dallas, and the Kansas City Wizards over the course of his 12-year MLS career.  In 2009, he appeared and started in 27 matches for Chivas USA, recording one assist.

Talley was a regular starter during D.C. United’s 1999 MLS Cup-winning run after being drafted 14th overall in the 1998 MLS College Draft.  He helped United to the 1998 CONCACAF Champions Cup and Interamerican Cup Championships during his rookie campaign, starting 16 of D.C.’s final 18 matches.

For his career, the University of North Carolina product has appeared in 314 regular season matches, making 261 starts.  His 314 appearances ranks tied for seventh all-time in Major League Soccer history.  He has scored 20 goals and 28 assists.

RED BULLS MIDFIELDER SETH STAMMLER TO RETIRE AFTER 2010 SEASON: Red Bull New York announced on Sept. 14 that midfielder Seth Stammler will retire after the 2010 MLS season.

“Seth approached us a few weeks ago about pursuing an advanced degree after being accepted into a prestigious program at the University of Chicago. He is committed to playing for us for the rest of the season while fulfilling his requirements in his first year in school,” said Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “Seth is a wonderfully hard working and talented player who has given the club several years of service and we respect and fully support his decision.”

“After contemplation, I think this is the best decision for me and my future. I want to emphasize that I am fully committed to helping the Red Bulls to firstly, qualify for the playoffs, and secondly, win the MLS Cup,” Stammler said. “I want to thank Erik Soler, Hans Backe and my teammates for their complete understanding of my situation and I look forward to competing the rest of the season.”

Stammler, the club’s longest continuously tenured player, has featured in 142 regular season matches for New York, starting 126 and logging 11,157 minutes.  He ranks tied for second in franchise history in matches started and third in match appearances.  The Gahanna, OH native has tallied six goals and 13 assists for his career and was a nominee for the franchise’s all-time Best XI.

Drafted out of the University of Maryland in the second round (18th overall) of the 2004 MLS SuperDraft, Stammler has been a versatile player for the club, covering multiple positions while providing steady play.  Known for his defensive tenacity, he has scored two goals and one assist to this point in the 2010 season, including the game-winning goal in the Red Bulls’ 1-0 win over Chivas USA at Red Bull Arena on June 5.

Off the field, Stammler has worked to raise funds for his charitable organization, Sporting Chance Foundation, which builds wells for potable drinking water and provides educational scholarships to under advantaged youths in Haiti. He is a three-time recipient of the team’s Humanitarian of the Year award.

RED BULLS MIDFIELDER IRVING GARCIA UNDERGOES HERNIA SURGERY: Red Bull New York announced that midfielder Irving Garcia underwent successful bilateral sports hernia surgery on September 16. The procedure was performed by Dr. Andrew Boyarsky at Robert Wood Johnson University Hospital in New Brunswick, NJ. He is expected to miss 6-8 weeks and was placed on the team’s Disabled List for the remainder of the season. In addition, forward Giorgi Chirgadze was removed from the Disabled List and is available on the team’s active roster.

Garcia has not appeared in a MLS match this season, but played in four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup matches, tallying one assist. He was drafted out of the University of California – Irvine in the 2010 MLS SuperDraft as the Red Bulls selected him in the fourth round with the 50th overall pick.

REAM LEADING THE WAY: New York rookie standout Tim Ream continues to lead Major League Soccer in minutes played by outfield players. The Saint Louis University product has played all 2250 available minutes of the Red Bulls’ 25 matches in 2010.

WHEN SCORING: In the 17 matches in which the Red Bulls have scored a goal this season, they have registered a record of 12-2-3. That winning percentage of 79% when scoring is good for third best in the league, trailing just Columbus and Los Angeles.

BALLOUCHY DEBUTS, NETS FIRST GOAL FOR RBNY: Midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy made his debut for the club on September 16 at FC Dallas, starting and playing all 90 minutes while adding his first goal for the club. It was Ballouchy’s fourth goal overall this season, as he had tallied three with the Colorado Rapids prior to joining New York. Ballouchy was acquired on September 14 from Colorado in exchange for forward Macoumba Kandji.

RED BULLS PARTNER WITH TOPSOCCER: Beginning Sept. 26, 2010, the New York Red Bulls will be partnering with New Jersey Youth Soccer to offer a TOPsoccer Program to youth players in the New Jersey area. The TOPsoccer Program, which is offered under the umbrella of US Youth Soccer, is designed to allow any child the opportunity to learn and play soccer, specifically those who have a mental or physical disability. The Red Bulls will be the first Major League Soccer Team to operate this program.

“We feel it is extremely important that our youth programs cater to all players regardless of their background or playing abilities,” said David Jervis, Director of Training Programs with the New York Red Bulls. “Adding this component to our grass roots programs is an important aspect in serving the local soccer community.”

“The New York Red Bulls stand for top soccer, played at the highest level in the country. New York Red Bulls TOPSoccer stands for the New York Red Bulls reaching out to the children with special needs in the community. The Outreach Program for Soccer is a great way of touching the lives of many children who normally would not have the chance to play the beautiful game. We want to thank the New York Red Bulls for making the dream of many children come true," said Auke Wiersma, Program Director, TOPSoccer New Jersey.

The program’s inaugural season will be launched this coming fall, with sessions running every Sunday for five weeks. The program will be operated at Harrison High School and will be supported by the Red Bulls’ local partner, the Harrison Recreation Department. All costs of the program will be covered by the New York Red Bulls. For more information, please visit www.redbullsacademy.com.

ECUADOR-COLOMBIA TO PLAY OCT. 8 AT RBA: The South American national teams of Ecuador and Colombia will continue their rivalry in the New York metropolitan area by facing off on Friday, October 8, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ at 8:30 p.m. ET, Soccer United Marketing (SUM) announced today. The match, which will be played during an official FIFA window, allows the teams to call-up their internationally-based players and will be both teams’ first match up at the new Red Bull Arena.

Tickets are on sale by calling 1-877-RBSOCCER, logging onto www.redbullarena.us  or visiting the Red Bull Arena Box Office, Delgado Travel stores and other usual tiendas in the metropolitan area.

Both teams will feature new head coaches. Ecuador is led by Colombian Reinaldo Rueda, who coached the Honduras national team in the 2010 FIFA World Cup, while Colombia will be coached by Hernán Darío “Bolillo” Gomez, who returns to the national team after leading them to the 1998 FIFA World Cup. The Ecuadorian team features international stars such as Manchester United’s (England) Antonio Valencia, Santos Laguna (Mexico) forward Christian Benítez, Rubin Kazan (Russia) midfielder Christian Noboa, and Villareal (Spain) midfielder Jefferson Montero.   

Some of the renowned Colombians playing abroad include the dangerous FC Porto (Portugal) forward Falcao Garcia, AC Milan’s (Italy) veteran defender Mario Alberto Yepes, Racing (Argentina) midfielder Giovanni Moreno, and Wigan (England) forward Hugo Rodallega. This marks the first time that Red Bull Arena will host two South American teams and the match will commemorate the Guayaquil Independence Day of Ecuador (Oct. 9).

Fans and media are encouraged to use public transportation provided by New Jersey Transit and via the PATH train to arrive at Red Bull Arena, the 25,000-seat home of Major League Soccer’s New York Red Bulls. Please visit www.njtransit.com  and www.panynj.gov/path/   for train stations and schedules or www.redbullarena.us site for more information.

START TIME FOR OCT. 9 MATCH VS REAL SALT LAKE CHANGED:  The start time for the Red Bulls’ Oct. 9 match against Real Salt Lake at Red Bull Arena has been changed to 4:00 PM ET. The match will be broadcast on MSG and TeleFutura.

MATCH TICKETS FOR SECOND HALF ON SALE: Match tickets for the second half of the Red Bulls’ season are on sale now. Fans can purchase Groups, Family Packs and individual match tickets for all Red Bulls’ matches in August and beyond by calling 1.877.RBSOCCER or by CLICKING HERE. The full schedule of matches that are on sale is as follows:

Saturday, October 2: Red Bulls vs. Kansas City Wizards – 7:30 PM
Saturday, October 9: Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake – 4:00 PM
Thursday, October 21: Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution – 7:30 PM

Red Bulls WADO 1280 AM and 92.7 FM announcers Ernesto Motta and Robert Sierra host their weekly call-in radio show, Solo Futbol, on Sunday night from 8-11 PM on WADO 1280 AM. Motta, Sierra and their panel of experts and guests analyze the Beautiful Game and the New York Red Bulls.