The New York Red Bulls opened play in CONCACAF Champions League group play last night with a 2-0 win over C.D. FAS at Red Bull Arena. The win over the Salvadorian club was the New York’s first win in CCL play in franchise history.
Along with picking up the win, three Red Bulls made either their first start or appearance on Tuesday night.
Saer Sene and Damien Perrinelle both cracked the starting XI for the first time while Eric Stevenson made a second-half substitute appearance in the 74th minute.
Sene, who made his debut with the first team on August 23 against Montreal as a second-half substitute, earned the start up top and scored the eventual game-winner, his first as a Red Bull.
“It’s just a great feeling as a striker,” said Sene following Tuesday’s win. “For me, it’s been a long time that I didn’t play but to get back on the field, to play 90 and score, it’s a great debut for me but it’s just the start.”
Perrinelle earned his first start and appearance with the first team, playing the full 90 minutes at center back. Perrinelle and the rest of the Red Bulls defense helped Ryan Meara earn a clean sheet in the win.
“It was the first time that I played 90 minutes since the 15th of May,” said Perrinelle “That's why, maybe, the first 20 minutes it was a little bit uneasy. But the game was good and I felt better and in the second half I think it was nice for me.”
Stevenson completed the night of firsts for New York when he replaced Lloyd Sam late in the second half. Stevenson had made the 18-man roster seven times across all competitions for the Red Bulls before Tuesday’s match but did not see any action.
“I couldn’t wait, it’s been a long time coming,” said Stevenson. “I was really excited and I think it showed a little bit in my play, but it just felt really good overall.”
Stevenson was also impressed with his fellow debutants as both players seem to have settled in nicely over their first few weeks.
“I think [Sene’s] done a really good job of fitting in with the team right away. It’s crazy, guys get traded and then the next day they’re with another team,” said Stevenson. “I thought he played well, he’s a fun guy to be around and he’s a good guy in the locker room.”
“As far as Damien, I’ve played with him in reserve games and I thought he played really well, I think he’s a really good player. We have a deep team, so that helps, but he’s also a good guy and I thought he had a good game today overall.”