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Red Bulls Weekly Update: April 25

FIRST PLACE RED BULLS LOOK FOR THIRD VICTORY IN A ROW: Fresh off their second-straight shutout victory, the Red Bulls return home to face Sporting Kansas City for the first time this season on Saturday evening at 7:30 PM ET (TV: MSG; Radio: WADO 1280 AM). Tickets are available by calling 1.877.RBSOCCER or logging onto www.newyorkredbulls.com.

Thanks to their 4-0 victory over D.C. United last Thursday, New York currently sits atop the Eastern Conference on 11 points with a record of 3-1-2. The Red Bulls’ defense remains the stingiest in the conference, as they have conceded just twice in their six matches thus far. Only Real Salt Lake (1) has given up few goals. Goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul, who set a single-season franchise record for shutouts last year with 11, has recorded two straight clean sheets.

Sporting Kansas City enters the match in ninth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 1-3-1 and four points. In their last match, they fell to the New England Revolution 3-2. Sporting jumped out to a one goal lead thanks to a brace from Kei Kamara, but New England came back with late strikes from Shalrie Joseph and Rajko Lekic to earn the three points. Kansas City may be without defender Aurelian Collin for Saturday’s match, as the Frenchman was shown a red card in the club’s loss to New England. The club is appealing the suspension.

Saturday’s match will be the 42nd match all-time between New York and Kansas City. The teams are dead even in MLS play in the past, with both teams registering 16 victories over the other, with nine matches ending in draws. Last season, the Red Bulls earned all six points against Kansas City. On June 16, 2010 at CommunityAmerica Ballpark, the Red Bulls defeated Kansas City 3-0, and New York also took the return fixture on Oct. 2, 2010, 1-0, at Red Bull Arena to clinch a playoff berth.

RED BULLS TO HONOR MIKE PETKE IN PRE-GAME CEREMONY ON APRIL 30: The Red Bulls will honor former Red Bulls defender and current Individual Development Coach and Business Operations Manager Mike Petke in a ceremony prior to their match at Red Bull Arena on April 30 against Sporting Kansas City at 7:30 PM ET. Petke will have the opportunity to address the crowd before the game.

Petke, who retired after the 2010 MLS season, played 13 years in the MLS, including seven seasons with New York over two stints and became one of the most beloved members in the franchise’s history. In addition, Petke is the club’s all-time leader in games started, games and minutes played and was part of the team’s All-Time Best XI that was unveiled in 2010.

"I feel honored that the organization has decided to celebrate my career with this ceremony,” Petke said. “This club has been so much more than just a team since I started my career here. The New York Red Bulls organization has done so much for me and my family, and I am truly grateful for their recognition of my playing career.”

Petke, a three-time MLS All-Star, featured in 169 regular season games for New York, starting in 158 of them and logging a total of 14,060 minutes. The Bohemia, NY native started his career with New York in 1998, being drafted in the first round (eighth overall) in the 1998 MLS College Draft. Petke played five seasons for New York and helped the club to its first-ever Eastern Conference championship game and division title in 2000.

Petke re-joined New York from the Colorado Rapids on Nov. 26, 2008 and played in 19 games in 2009. In 2010, his final professional season, Petke made 16 appearances, starting in 11, and he became only the 12th player in MLS history to appear in 300 regular season matches, reaching the mark with his start on May 20, 2010 against the Columbus Crew. In the Grand Opening of the club’s brand-new stadium, Red Bull Arena, on March 20, 2010, Petke tallied the Red Bulls’ second goal of the match off a close range volley en route to a 3-1 win over Santos FC.

Petke played for D.C. United from 2003-05 and he won the MLS Cup for the first time of his career in 2004. In 2005, Petke was traded to the Rapids and made 80 appearances over three-plus years. During his 13-year run in MLS, Petke scored 13 goals and four assists in regular season action, logging 25,731 minutes – a mark that is seventh all-time in MLS history.

On the international level, Petke was part of the 2002 U.S. Men’s National Team pool and earned two caps for his country. Petke attended Southern Connecticut State University, where he won a number of accolades including twice being named on the All-New England Collegiate Conference First Team and the conference’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Petke was appointed to his current role of Individual Development Coach and Business Operations Manager on January 12, 2011 and is currently serving in a variety of roles with the Red Bulls, working within different departments in the front office and the coaching staff.

LAST WEEK: Red Bulls 4, D.C. United 0 at RFK Stadium on April 21.
THIS WEEK: Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City at Red Bull Arena on April 30 at 7:30 PM ET (TV: MSG; Radio: WADO 1280 AM)

NEXT WEEK: Red Bulls at Los Angeles Galaxy at Home Depot Center on Saturday, May 7 at 11:00 PM ET (TV: ESPN2/ ESPN Deportes; Radio: WADO 1280 AM)

HENRY NETS TWO AS RED BULLS RUSH PAST D.C.: Thierry Henry’s first two-goal game in his MLS career propelled the New York Red Bulls to a 4-0 win over Eastern Conference rival, D.C. United, at RFK Stadium Thursday night. Midfielder Joel Lindpere and forward Juan Agudelo also recorded goals while Jan Gunnar Solli tallied two assists, as New York leapt into first place in the East with 11 points, improving to 3-1-2 in 2011.

The Red Bulls trotted out the same starting lineup that defeated the San Jose Earthquakes, 3-0, last Saturday and put their name on the scoresheet in the 12th minute. Dane Richards flicked the ball to an on-rushing Solli, who ran into the attacking third and swung a cross into the box that an open Henry nodded into the back of the net.

The hosts looked to get back in the match 10 minutes later, as Josh Wolff slipped Charlie Davies a through ball, but the American forward could not get his attempt around goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul and on target. In the 28th minute, Dwayne De Rosario nearly made it 2-0 when he fired over the bar after Henry dispossessed Dejan Jakovic of the ball.

Henry doubled New York’s lead seven minutes before the break with the service again coming from the right wing. Richards chipped the ball to Solli, who held off his defender and slid a deflected cross to the top of the six yard box. Henry was first to it and rifled it in.

United looked to get on the board after the break and it had a great chance in the 73rd minute, when substitute Branko Boskovic’s free kick from 30 yards out slammed off the crossbar.

With D.C. pressing for most of the second half, New York found its third goal with less than 15 minutes to play. Rafa Marquez started a counterattack, finding Henry at midfield. Henry then slid a through ball to Lindpere, who went in on goal, cut it in with his right foot and put it past goalkeeper Bill Hamid.

Coundoul preserved the shutout late, making a fingertip save on a 15-yard Boskovic shot with less than five minutes left. Boskovic later hit the woodwork for the second time, smashing a shot off the right post.

Agudelo finished the scoring for New York in second half stoppage time, spectacularly flicking a Solli pass up in the air and smashing it into the goal netting.

HENRY RECORDS FIRST TWO-GOAL GAME, THIRD IN LEAGUE IN SCORING: Red Bulls forward Thierry Henry recorded his first career two-goal game in last Thursday’s 4-0 win over D.C. United. Henry opened the scoring in the 12th minute, heading home a cross from Jan Gunnar Solli. In the 38th minute, Henry doubled New York’s lead, depositing another Solli feed from inside the box. Henry’s three goals rank him third in the league in goals so far in 2011.

Player (Team), Goals
1. Charlie Davies (DCU), 5
2. Diego Chaves (CHI), 4
T-3. Thierry Henry (NY), 3
T-3. 7 others, 3

AGUDELO GOLAZO UP FOR MLS GOAL OF THE WEEK: New York 18-year-old Juan Agudelo scored a fantastic goal in the Red Bulls’ 4-0 win over D.C. United Thursday night. Agudelo, who came on as a second half substitute, was fed a low Jan Gunnar Solli cross in the box that was behind him. Agudelo flicked the ball up in the air and spectacularly volleyed it into the back of the net with his right foot for his second goal of the year.

Agudelo could win his second MLS Goal of the Week award after he took it home in Week 1 for his strike in a 1-0 win over Seattle on March 19. Fans can view the goal and vote online by CLICKING HERE.

SOLLI GETS TWO HELPERS: Red Bulls first-year midfielder/defender Jan Gunnar Solli recorded two assists in New York’s 4-0 victory over D.C. United on April 21. The Norwegian International assisted on Thierry Henry’s 12th minute goal as well as Juan Agudelo’s second half stoppage time strike. Solli now leads the club with three assists in 2011, a mark which ranks third in the league this season.

FINDING THE SCORING TOUCH: Over the past two games, the Red Bulls have scored seven goals without conceding. The last time the Red Bulls scored as many as seven goals in two straight games without giving up a goal came back in 2007, when New York registered a 4-0 victory on May 19 over Columbus, and followed it up with a 3-0 victory over Chicago on May 24.

PUTTING UP ZEROES: The Red Bulls are tied with the Los Angeles Galaxy and Columbus Crew for team shutouts in 2011, registering four. New York has used three different goalkeepers to post their four shutouts, with Bouna Coundoul leading the way by keeping clean sheets in his last two starts.

RED BULLS ANNOUNCE ALL-STAR GAME LOCAL HOST COMMITTEE: Red Bull New York announced the formation of a local host committee in preparation for the 2011 AT&T Major League Soccer All Start Game that will be hosted at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ.

The founding members of the 2011 AT&T MLS All Star Game Local Host Committee, who will assist in the organization, preparation and planning of the event are: Governor Richard J. Codey, Harrison Mayor Raymond J. McDonough, Hudson County Executive Tom DeGise, SICA Wealth Management Director of Trading Todd Christie, MetroStars legend Tab Ramos, Red Bulls General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler and Red Bulls Managing Director Erik Stover.

“We would like to thank the founding members of our local host committee for supporting the 2011 MLS All Star game.” said Erik Stover, the Red Bulls Managing Director. “The involvement of local community leaders in the organization and planning of this event is extremely important as we prepare to become the center of attention for soccer fans around our nation and around the world.” 

The 2011 AT&T MLS All Star game will feature Barclays English Premier League’s Manchester United taking on Major League Soccer’s all star players on Wednesday, July 27 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, NJ and broadcast live on ESPN2, Galavision and TSN (in Canada) starting at 8:30 p.m. ET.

RED BULLS, TOWN OF HARRISON OPEN REFURBISHED LEGENDARY HARRISON SOCCER COURTS: On Thursday, April 21, the New York Red Bulls and the Town of Harrison officially reopened the newly refurbished Harrison Soccer Courts with a Ribbon Cutting ceremony. In attendance were Town of Harrison Mayor Raymond J. McDonough, County Executive of Hudson County Tom DeGise, Red Bulls Managing Director Erik Stover and Red Bulls defender Carlos Mendes.

The Harrison Soccer Courts are located at the corner of Frank E Rodgers Boulevard and Jersey Street and provided several future U.S. National Team players including Tab Ramos, Tony Meola and John Harkes a field to practice their skills. A full story with quotes can be found HERE.

TODD HOFFARD NAMED RED BULLS GOALKEEPER COACH: Red Bull New York named Todd Hoffard its Goalkeeper Coach. He joins the club after successful playing and business careers over the past 15 years.

“We are excited to bring Todd on board to our team,” said Red Bull New York General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. “Todd has a great deal of experience in American soccer and will be a valuable asset to our coaching squad.”

Boasting an expansive career in soccer through both coaching and playing, Hoffard founded the ONE on ONE Soccer Goalkeeper School, serving as its National Director for the past 17 years and coaching various levels of youth soccer. He most recently spent a two year stint at Temple University as a women’s soccer Assistant Coach. Prior to that, he coached several other Division I men’s and women’s teams as an Assistant Coach, including both University of Pennsylvania squads and the College of Charleston’s and St. Bonaventure University’s women’s teams.

Hoffard enjoyed an eight-year professional career following a five years of collegiate play at powerhouse Hartwick College, which he led to a No. 3 ranking in his senior year. Drafted by the Harrisburg Heat in 1994, he spent two seasons at the club before heading off to the Albany Alleycats, Reading Rage, Philadelphia Kixx, Cleveland Crunch and capping his career with the Charleston Battery. He spent time overseas on trial with several clubs in the United Kingdom at various points in his career, including a stint with the Tranmere Rovers in 1994, two spells at Carlisle United in 1994 and 1997 and a trial with Torquay United in 2000.

Hoffard has been a part of the U.S. Soccer Region I ODP Staff and PA ODP Staff, coaching goalkeepers of all ages to various levels ranging from state and regional to ODP and full professionals. He was inducted into the Garden Spot High School Hall of Fame in 2009 and is married as a father of two.

USA WOMEN’S NATIONAL TEAM TO FACE MEXICO AT RED BULL ARENA JUNE 5: The U.S. Women's National Team will play its Women’s World Cup Send-Off match against Mexico on June 5 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. The match will kick off at 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on ESPN2 and Univision.

The match will mark the final contest for the U.S. women before the team departs for Europe in mid-June for a pre-Women’s World Cup training camp in Austria. The USA opens the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup against Korea DPR on June 28 (ESPN at 11:45 a.m. ET) at Rudolf Harbig Stadium in Dresden, Germany.

Tickets starting at $22 go on sale for Red Bull New York Plan Holders and Members on Saturday, April 16, at 10 a.m. ET through ussoccer.com, by phone at 1-877-727-6223 (Monday-Friday, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. only) and at the Red Bull Arena ticket office (open Monday-Friday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.). The General Public Sale will begin on Monday, April 18 at 10 a.m. ET through the same channels.

Before the match against Mexico, U.S. Soccer and the U.S. Women’s National Team will honor U.S. legend Kristine Lilly for her historic career. The only woman to play in five FIFA Women’s World Cup tournaments, Lilly retired last January after a 23-year international career with a world-record 352 career caps and 130 goals, second only in world history to Mia Hamm.

The match against Mexico marks the first game for any full U.S. National Team at spectacular Red Bull Arena, one of the newest jewels in the growing collection of world-class, soccer-specific stadiums in the United States.

The match also features a unique side note in that it will be the first game between the two countries since the USA was upset by Mexico in the semifinal of the CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament in Cancun, Mexico last October. The loss forced the USA to win the third-place match at the tournament then defeat Italy in a home-and-home playoff series for the last of 16 berths at the World Cup.

“There’s nothing better than having a World Cup send-off game at an amazing venue against a very good opponent in front of a great crowd,” said U.S. captain and New Jersey native Christie Rampone. “It will be an emotional game and a great test for us before we head over to Europe to begin our final preparations.”

The U.S. women have played quite a few matches in New Jersey, playing five times at the old Giants Stadium in East Rutherford and twice in the mid-1990s at Rutgers University in Piscataway. The match will also mark a homecoming of sorts for the numerous New Jersey products who have consistently made U.S. rosters this year. Rampone hails from Point Pleasant, N.J., veteran flank midfielder Heather O’Reilly is from East Brunswick. Attacking midfielder Carli Lloyd is from Delran while midfielders Tobin Heath and Yael Averbuch hail from Basking Ridge and Montclair, respectively. In addition, backup goalkeeper Jill Loyden is from Vineland.

The USA is riding a 49-game unbeaten streak at home, compiling a record of 44-0-5 during that time.

The U.S. WNT will kick off its 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup campaign in Group C against Korea DPR live on ESPN on Tuesday, June 28 at 11:45 a.m. ET from World Cup Stadium in Dresden. The match will also be available on ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV. The U.S. will then face Colombia on July 2 at 11:30 a.m. ET from World Cup Stadium in Sinsheim, and close out group play against Sweden on July 6 at 2:30 p.m. ET from World Cup Stadium Wolfsburg. Both matches will be broadcast live on ESPN and ESPN3.com.

Mexico is in Group B at the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup where they will face Japan, New Zealand and England.