Tag Archive | "Macoumba Kandji"

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The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 05 April 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN’s newest feature constitutes a critical look back at the last New York Red Bulls match. In this case: Saturday’s 1-0 win at Seattle Sounders FC.

A quick explanation of terms:
The Good – Should speak for itself. Players, formations, strategies, substitutions and other things that “looked good” for whatever reason (but not aesthetically. We don’t care about players’ hairstyles and the like).

The Bad – Opposite of good. Who and what looked lousy and why.

The Red – Things that have us concerned. Primarily individual play but could also be strategies, (lack of) substitutions and putting players at positions they have no business occupying (though that practice thankfully appears done with the departure of Juan Carlos Osorio).

The Dead – Players, schemes or strategies that deserve to be put out to pasture.

Ready? Here we go!

The good, the dead, the red, the dead: Week 2

The Good:

Kandji got the game-winner and did well Saturday ©Scott Marsh/ASN

Believe it or not, the team’s attack. Passing was crisper, runs were better and set pieces were a lot more elaborate. You could tell this had been the focus of the previous week’s practices. The Red Bulls dominated the first 20 minutes of play and Macoumba Kandji’s goal was the just reward. Speaking of Mac, he looked much more comfortable than he did against Chicago. As much as we all want him to be a traditional striker, perhaps Kandji’s best role is as a withdrawn forward.

Roy Miller had a strong game, particularly in the second half when he shut his part of the field down.

Sinisa Ubiparipovic also played well, some early jitters notwithstanding.

The bad:
The defense and goalkeeping. Yes, we are picking on this even though the team “pitched a shutout” as it were. The marking was pretty weak and the defense seemed disorganized. Sounders players had way too much space and were at times completely unmarked (see Ljungberg, Freddie late in the second half). The passing in the defensive third was not always precise either.

Also what’s with the new coaching staff not using all their subs? Especially in close games? Isn’t that just asking for trouble? Richie Williams should have gone to his bench far, far earlier on Saturday.

The red
Bouna Condoul’s play away from his line is going to give some Red Bulls fan a heart attack before too long.

Juan Pablo Angel. Second game in a row he has been almost completely absent (other than to complain about bad or insufficient service). Are we witnessing the twilight of his career?

Jeremy Hall at right back is begging to get exploited by a smart coach or skilled left wing.

Hans Backe’s health. Or should we say “health”? Call us paranoid, but it simply doesn’t make much sense for a head coach to miss a game for an upset stomach. Either his health is worse than the team is letting on, or Backe is entertaining offers to join his old boss Sven-Goran Eriksson on the Ivory Coast national team.

Overconfidence by fans, players and press. Obviously ASN does not fall in this category (if anything we’re overly negative. It’s a dirty job but somebody needs to do it). But already message boards are aflutter with talk of playoffs and conference championships. Unfortunately, the situation in March-April 2010 is only slightly different from where the team found itself in November 2008, when a strong showing at Houston and lucky win at Real Salt Lake gave it an unexpected berth in the MLS Cup final. We’re not saying a 2009-type meltdown is in store (the home advantage provided by Red Bull Arena alone will simply not allow it) just that we should all take the advice of Harvey Keitel’s character in Pulp Fiction: to not get ahead of ourselves (that’s a paraphrase).

The dead
It may be a bit premature considering it’s just the second game of the season, but Dane Richards really doesn’t seem to have the skills or wherewithal to play in MLS. Actually, scratch that; it’s not premature. This is Richards’ fourth season, which constitutes more chances than anybody else gets in a lifetime. R.I.P. Dane. Yeah he’ll pull something out of his hat on choice occasions (as he did vs. Santos or in the 2008 postseason) but those moments are too few and too far between. With a $200K-plus salary he needs to be a faster learner. Cut him loose and use the cash on somebody else.

Jens Lehmann to RBNY rumors. Please end them once and for all. Even though this team could use another keeper (or two?) a 40-year old German has-been with anger control issues (or something) is not the answer, even for part of a season. There is an abundance of U.S. talent at the goalkeeper position. Bring some of those guys in and give them a chance if they show promise with the “reserves” (quotation marks due to the fact that they do not officially exist, at least not yet).

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A road win! Bulls shut out Sounders, 1-0

Posted on 04 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Macoumba Kandji ©Scott Marsh/ASN

So far in 2010 the New York Red Bulls have raised the curtain on their new ground, laid to rest a “curse” that haunted the team for close to two years, won their first two games while not surrendering a goal in the process. Suffice it to say the Red Bull Arena era is off to a flying start. Tonight in Seattle, the team got an early goal from Macoumba Kandji and held on through some hair-raising moments to survive with a 1-0 win, just as they did against Chicago in the season opener.

Joel Lindpere discussed the game with reporters shortly after the final whistle. Give it a listen.

Other than that, there were numerous differences between tonight’s win at Qwest Field and last week’s at Red Bull Arena. Where the team’s defense impressed against Chicago, it was the Red Bulls’ attacking game that stood out against Seattle. Conversely, while its offense was almost completely stagnant in the season opener, its defense (and goalkeeping) was caught flat footed on more than just a few occasions in Week Two. Even the team’s coach was different: Richie Williams took the reins from Hans Backe, who watched from the hotel on doctor’s orders. The Swedish coach is expected to be back in charge next week at Chivas USA.

Tonight, New York got lucky. How many times will you see Freddie Ljungberg miss a header from point blank range, the way he did in the second half? How many mishandled crosses can Bouna Condoul get away with before the ball ends up in the back of his net?

For now, the team and its fans will gladly take the six points from two games. And winning at Seattle is particularly enjoyable after the season-opening meltdown one year ago. Then it was “Same ol’ Metro.” Now? Something more like “who are these guys?” And “break out the Red Bulls!”

Much more to follow, as we weave in reportage and photos from the ASN crew in Seattle. For now, here are the New York Red Bulls player ratings. Be sure to supply a grade and back up your assessment in the comment area at the bottom of the page.

Player Ratings

From 1-0 with 10 being highest:

Condoul – 5
Some stellar saves in the second half but man, this guy is a total liability on crosses. Very nearly cost the team several times.

Hall – 6
Several mistakes in the early going. Was beaten by his man a number of times in the first half as well. Did better in the second, even launching a few forays into the Sounders half.

Petke – 6
Caught out of position several times but there were several others where he was positioned perfectly. Still, the Sounders had way too many chances to warrant a higher grade at this point.

Ream – 6.5
Like Hall, he made a jittery start with a number of turnovers. Recovered and had some nice long balls to the forwards but eek, this was hairy.

Miller – 7
Spotted just one mistake in the first half, when an errant pass led to a Sounders chance. Was a rock in the second, however. Dispossessed Ljungberg a few times in the attacking third and locked down his part of the field, where the action was hotter in the late stages of the game.

Richards – 5
Better than the Chicago game, but not much. Did play a few nice balls into space in the early stages of the match, but most attacks still ended with him putting his head down and going nowhere. And how about that miss late in the game? This is the second time in as many games he was involved with what should have been the insurance goal. Against Chicago he teed off from a tight angle instead of slotting the ball to Angel. Here he blasted a perfect sitter (great service from Borman via Kandji by the way) over the bar.

Stammler – 6
Solid, not spectacular, which is what the holding midfielder is supposed to be. Turned the ball over a few too many times for my liking and was a bit quiet. But it’s his first game back. Something to build on.

Lindpere – 7
Did his part launching attacks in the first half. In the second his role was obviously more defensive, which makes sense with a 1-0 lead. And he did that well also. A stabilizing influence on the team overall.

Ubiparipovic – 6.5
Did well in the later stages of the game but was too sloppy in the first half to deserve a better grade. Still, a very high workrate on the left wing. Perhaps too high? Maybe his energy could be used more efficiently?

Angel – 5
Another disappointing performance. Complained a lot about bad, or nonexistent service, but did nothing with the chances that were provided (mainly from Kandji). Still doesn’t seem completely comfortable in the offense and not sure if tracking back the way he does is working. Also appears tentative, presumably due to injury. Don’t think it would have hurt to sit him for this game. As it turns out it didn’t hurt to start him either.

Kandji – 8
If I didn’t know better I’d almost think he read and took to heart last week’s rating, when I wrote “Mac needs to lighten up on the stepovers and backheels and go back to fundamentals. Make runs, move the ball…” He did exactly that and the result was an entirely different attacking game for the Red Bulls. Scoring the winning goal was nice enough; he did well to find a spot and then position his body to deposit the ball in the roof of the net when it bounced his way. Better still were some of his passes, particularly in the second half; the one to Borman should have resulted in the second goal but went wanting (see Richards, Dane). Kandji just seems more comfortable in a withdrawn forward role, hopefully he’ll see more opportunities in this position.

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Match Facts

New York Red Bulls 1, Seattle Sounders FC 0
April 3, 2010 –Qwest Field; Seattle, WA
Attendance: 36,066

Scoring Summary:
NY: Kandji 1 (unassisted) 21’

Disciplinary Summary:
SEA: Ljungberg (caution) 10’
NY: Petke (caution) 35’
NY: Kandji (caution) 62’
SEA: Riley (caution) 63’

Lineups:
New York Red Bulls (2-0-0) – Bouna Coundoul (GK), Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Mike Petke, Jeremy Hall, Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Danleigh Borman 79’), Joel Lindpere, Seth Stammler, Dane Richards, Macoumba Kandji (Conor Chinn 89’), Juan Pablo Angel

Substitutes Not Used: Greg Sutton, Andrew Boyens, Austin da Luz, Juan Agudelo, Tony Tchani

Seattle Sounders FC (1-1-0) – Kasey Keller, Leo Gonzalez (David Estrada, 83′), Tyrone Marshall, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, James Riley, Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi 76’), Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Roger Levesque (Pat Noonan 56’), Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero

Substitutes Not Used: Terry Boss, Patrick Ianni, Zach Scott, Nathan Sturgis

Officials:
Referee: Kevin Stott
Referee’s Assistants: Darren Clark, Hector Vergara
4th Referee: Tyler Ploeger

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(Updated) preview and projected starting lineup for Week 2 vs Sounders

Posted on 02 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

The Week 1 win over Chicago, though not without its flaws, was nice from a results standpoint. Very nice, even, considering New York had not defeated the Fire since the Bush administration. Tomorrow night at Seattle’s Qwest Field the Red Bulls can accomplish something else they haven’t done since a Republican inhabited the White House–win on the road.

It will not be an easy task. With its plastic pitch and raucous 35,000-odd crowd, Qwest Field is the toughest away match the Red Bulls face this year. On top of everything else, New York is still short-handed. Its best player, Juan Pablo Angel, may be fit on paper, but anybody who saw him against Chicago knows this isn’t the same guy who scored 73 goals in his first three seasons with the club. On this week’s Seeing Red! podcast (yeah that’s a shameless plug. Deal with it) I argued that Angel should be withheld from the lineup altogether. The risk of (further) injury is simply too great and the potential upside too small given that Angel is clearly not at his best and this is a game the Red Bulls are expected to lose anyway.

Ibrahim Salou is still awaiting his working papers and is not expected to be an option. Macoumba Kandji, who started alongside Angel last week, has not impressed either. So who to play up top? I’m told that Juan Agudelo has been seeing time with the first team in practice this week. Expect him to get his first MLS start at Qwest Field. Barring a major surprise Kandji will start at the other forward spot, even though he probably doesn’t deserve to. Of course Angel could go as well. But unless he is really 100% fit, the Colombian should sit this one out for the good of the team. With Carl Robinson expected to return the rest of the starting lineup will be identical to what it was in the Red Bull Arena grand opening game against Santos:

Update: Carl Robinson did not travel with the team and is ruled out of the Seattle match. Danleigh Borman probably did enough to get another start, though we’d still much rather see Austin da Luz. Sinisa Ubiparipovic will take Robinson’s spot as holding midfielder.

——–Kandji——–Agudelo——–
Borman–Lindpere–Ubiparipovic–Richards
Miller——Ream——-Petke——–Hall
————–Condoul—————-

Dane Richards doesn’t deserve to start either after his performance against Chicago, but what ready-made alternatives does Hans Backe have at right mid? The obvious player to spell Richards, Matthew Mbuta, was jettisoned in the offseason. Luke Sassano, Tony Tchani and perhaps even Seth Stammler are options, but all lack the pace sought by Backe for that position. Trialist Damani Ralph saw time at right mid in the exhibition match against Army and Irving Garcia appears to have popped up there as well (judging by our photo gallery); are either of them perhaps being groomed to replace Richards? Don’t expect a move to happen right away–or at all, even. Richards appears to be the choice for right midfield and he will receive every opportunity to show he deserves the spot. My mind may be made up on Richards (again, defer to my Seeing Red! comments) but Backe does not agree with me (give him a few more games).

For Seattle, the big question is whether Freddie Ljungberg is fit. The Swedish midfielder picked up a knock in the Sounders’ season opening win over Philadelphia and at the time of this writing was questionable. If Ljungberg can’t go it will obviously be a break for Red Bull. But even then the home side will be favored. With Freddy Montero, Steve Zakuani, Osvaldo Alonso and Brad Evans, Seattle simply has too much talent at midfield and forward. The Red Bulls defense, which has performed very well to date and carries a clean sheet into the match, will have its hands full with or without Ljungberg. The Miller-Ream-Petke-Hall back four will be put to the test Saturday. How well they withstand the pressure could tell us a lot about the team’s chances this season.

The road winless streak will be snapped at some point this season–perhaps even some point soon; the Red Bulls’ next game is at Chivas USA, who have looked hapless in their first two games of the season. But it won’t happen in Seattle. If New York comes away with a point it will be a major accomplishment. Fans would be wise to adopt this attitude.

Speaking of which, both the Empire Supporters and Garden State Supporters clubs will host viewing parties Saturday night. ESC’s will be at Nevada Smith’s on Third Ave between 11th and 12th streets in Manhattan; GSS’ at MMM Bellos on Market Street in Newark, N.J. Kickoff is at 10:30pm.

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Episode 5: Sounders reporter Prost Amerika, review of Fire match and more!

Posted on 01 April 2010 by ASN Staff

Seeing Red! The New York Soccer Roundup

In our fifth podcast, we dig into the Red Bulls’ 1-nil victory over the Fire, preview the Sounders match with Prost Amerika writer Steve Clare, answer emails and more. Check it out!

Seeing Red! is a collaboration of ASN’s Nathaniel E. Baker, Mark Fishkin of TheKinOfFish and Dave Martinez of RedBulls.TheOffside. For more information visit SeeingRedNY.com.

You can now subscribe to the show on itunes as well.

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Rate the player ratings

Posted on 29 March 2010 by ASN Staff

We at ASN value readers input greatly. As part of this we are giving you the opportunity to “grade the grades” of the player ratings from Saturday night’s New York Red Bulls victory over the Chicago Fire. The ratings originally ran in the original match report (which by the way comes with a full photo gallery) but are reprinted below, followed by the “grade poll”.

Player ratings

From a scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest:

Condoul – 7
The McBride play was bad and very nearly costly but he made good for it in the second half. Venturing out of his goal was never Condoul’s game anyway; he’s essentially a pure shot stopper who is most comfortable (and effective) making acrobatic saves off his line. At that he’s one of the best in the game.

Hall – 7
Pretty much shut the right side of the field down. Had a few nice forays into the attacking zone as well, though he seemed a bit tentative in that area. But that’s fine for now; Hall’s defensive skills are at a premium and he seems far more comfortable at right back than he did last year.

Petke – 8
Didn’t spot any mistakes from this guy. Played with poise and leadership; particularly strong in the air though one or two of those headers might have been better off placed elsewhere. But that’s hard to do in the heat of battle and anyway a minor critique. Appears to be playing a full decade younger than his actual age (34). To think a lot of people had given up on this guy at the end of last year?

Ream – 7

Another strong outing, though we did spot a few mistakes this time out. Was beaten by his man pretty badly on one play in the first half and a pass or two turned into turnovers that were very nearly costly. But otherwise very solid and not just defensively but also as a ball distributor. It really is amazing how this guy dropped so far in the draft.

Miller – 8
Played very well. Was a linchpin for attacks and did well in keeping the ball moving. Solid defensively. May have actually been the best player on the pitch.

Borman – 6.5
Did well at times, especially in the first half. Had some nice passes that led to scoring opportunities. But also turned the ball over several times and many of his runs went nowhere. If he could develop his right foot he’d be a dangerous player, but we’ve been saying this for two years now…

Lindpere – 8

The goal, which ended up as the game winner, was superb. Also had some nice runs and a few quality passes into space. Need to see more of this. As he gets more comfortable with MLS’ style (which by the way seems to suit a physical player like him perfectly) we will.

Ubiparipovic – 7
Another solid game from another player that had been written off by many fans and pundits alike. Has a strong technical game and sees the field very well. In this game his role was more defensive due to Robinson’s injury. If he was a little more aggressive it would surely help the team develop scoring chances.

Richards – 4
Sadly, Dane Richards seems to have relapsed to…Dane Richards. The player from last week’s Santos match (the same guy who blew everybody away in the 2008 postseason) has apparently disappeared again. There were several times when he had space on the wing, but chose to put his head down and try to sprint past his defender. That hasn’t worked since his rookie season and it isn’t going to start working now. Even less excusable was his decision to shoot from a tight angle when Juan Pablo Angel was wide open to his immediate left–this on a play in the second half that would have put the game on ice. This team has plenty of guys who can play right midfield and will gladly do so, and be far better than Richards. Time for Backe to give one of them a chance.

Angel – 4.5
The Colombian striker looked out of sorts. Perhaps he is still feeling the effects of the Julian de Guzman tackle in the preseason. The service was mainly poor but there were two chances from point blank range that Red Bull fans are used to seeing this guy bury. We fear the effects of age are beginning to take their toll.

Kandji – 4.5
Interestingly enough he looked more comfortable after Backe switched him to left midfield. Mac needs to lighten up on the stepovers and backheels and go back to fundamentals. Make runs, move the ball (which we know he has the talent to do well) or simply put his head down and bullrush past defenders. This stuff isn’t working.

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You may also provide any comments, critiques or criticism of the grades in the field below.

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(Updated) home opener thoughts and projected starting lineup

Posted on 25 March 2010 by ASN Staff

The “grand opening” of Red Bull Arena is still fresh in everybody’s mind but starting this weekend the games will count. There will be 14 opportunities to see the New York Red Bulls at home in MLS regular season action after this, but already a lot is riding on Saturday night’s match with the Chicago Fire. As great as the Santos match was, it will mean nothing if the team gets off to another bad start.

Juan Agudelo against Santos ©ASN/Scott Marsh

Chicago is not the ideal opponent for the team to face in this situation. The Red Bulls have lost their last five meetings with the Fire and have an overall 11-23-6 record against them (information supplied by Metrofanatic.com). However, this is a different team from the one the Red Bulls faced the last few years. Gone are Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Chris Rolfe, Bakary Soumare and Jon Busch. New head coach Carlos de los Cobos brings an entirely different style from his predecessors Denis Hamlett and Juan Carlos Osorio. Expect the new Fire to aim for possession control and short passes. It won’t quite be the Osorio-style of bunkering (then again, what is?) but it will be conservative and defensive–especially playing in a packed house as the visiting team.

To counter this, Red Bull head coach Hans Backe will want speed on the flanks and more of the quick passing out of midfield that successfully sprung attacks against Santos. The last few days have brought good news on the injury front, with star striker Juan Pablo Angel telling Big Apple Soccer he was “hopeful” of a full recovery by Saturday. Dane Richards also returned to practice Thursday. The previous day, Carl Robinson tweeted that he had a “great day” of training and that things were “improving very well.” But he missed the following day because he was in Toronto sorting out visa issues (this also from his Tweets). We expect Robinson to start on the bench.

Update: Soccer by Ives and the New York Post are reporting Juan Agudelo has signed with the team as a “home grown” player. This makes Agudelo available for the match. We think he will start up top with Angel. Kandji, whom we had starting at that position previously, will start on the bench though there is a very real possibility he could start at left midfield. Meanwhile, Robinson remains stuck in Toronto with visa issues. This reinforces our suspicion that he will not be available tomorrow–or at least not as a starter after missing two days’ worth of training. These news items are reflected this in our projected starting lineup below.

———Angel——-Agudelo———
da Luz–Lindpere–Ubiparipovic–Richards
Miller—-Ream——Petke——Hall
———–Condoul—————

The need for speed on the flanks, along with Roy Miller’s unsatisfactory contribution to the team’s attack will push Austin da Luz into the starting lineup. We do not anticipate Macoumba Kandji will last for a starter much longer. As soon as either Ibrahim Salou or Juan Agudelo are signed and/or receive the proper visas, Kandji will be relegated to bench duty and spot starter status. In this role could also see some time at left midfield, where he started the second half of the Santos match. But for now, experience is in short supply so Kandji gets the nod. Backe does not seem to view the team’s most experienced forward, John Wolyniec, as anything other than an emergency starter. The Swedish coach could also start Conor Chinn, who has seen a lot of time and scored several goals in preseason (though not against Santos). If nothing else, Chinn should make the bench. So should Woly.

What do you think of this starting lineup? Do you like Austin da Luz as the starting left midfielder? Post your thoughts on these and other matters in the comment area below.

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A dream debut for Red Bull Arena

Posted on 20 March 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Mike Petke celebrates his first goal at Red Bull Arena--and a whole lot more ©Scott Marsh/ASN

The New York Red Bulls kicked off the Red Bull Arena era in style Saturday night, trouncing Santos FC by 3-1. It was a superb performance by New York and one clearly inspired by its new digs in Harrison N.J. The Red Bulls looked so good, it was hard to tell which team was the storied franchise from Brazil and which the supposedly pithy upstarts from Major League Soccer.

View ASN’s photo gallery here
.

Beyond the home side’s performance, which we’ll get to in a minute, the night was a celebration of its new ground. Here too all the elements came together exactly right; the weather felt more like late May than late March, with daytime temperatures in the 70s but the mood was livened from news that occurred earlier in the day. In a 1 p.m. conference call, the league and its players union announced a new, five-year collective bargaining agreement that will ensure the 2010 MLS season will start on time. So by the afternoon of gameday, fans knew there was nothing to hold back the good cheer.

It only took 11 minutes into the game for the positive vibe to increase to a fever pitch. Joel Lindpere booted a free kick from about 20 yards off the wall, somehow collected his own rebound and deposited it past Santos goalkeeper Fabio Costa.

Santos got back into the game and dominated possession for the ensuing 25 minutes. But the Red Bulls defense, anchored by Mike Petke (wearing the captain’s armband in Juan Pablo Angel’s absence) and rookie Tim Ream held firm.

Shortly before halftime New York took control of the match and largely decided matters. Off of a corner kick Ream headed the ball to a wide open Petke, who tapped it home. 2-0 Red Bulls. Moments later Macoumba Kandji switched the ball to an unmarked Dane Richards streaking down the right side. The Jamaican international wound up and unleashed a laser into the opposite top corner of the net, leaving Costa no chance.

Hans Backe made a few changes after halftime. Carl Robinson left the match, with Juan Agudelo entering in Kandji’s spot. Kandji took up position at left midfield. Ubiparipovic moved over to right mid. Aside from some rough play (mainly by Santos) and a last-minute goal by the visitors the second half was largely uneventful.

Soundbytes

“We looked good today,” Backe said after the match. “We defended very well, all the time. We allowed them just three or four chances over 90 minutes and we created a lot by ourselves.”

The Swedish coach said he was particularly impressed with Condoul (“made some spectacular saves in the first half”) and Ream (“this must be a player for the U.S. national team in a couple of years”).

Backe said he would make a decision on trialist Ibrahim Salou “tomorrow” (Sunday). Asked to say which way he was leaning, the Red Bulls head coach said “I’m rather happy with what I’ve seen.”

Asked his impression of Red Bull Arena, Backe said “It’s one of the best I’ve ever been in the last 20 years.”

The move of Kandji to left midfield after halftime was not a one-off. “I think he can be an option as a wide left player,” the coach said.

John Wolyniec on Red Bull Arena:
“It was great. Fans got here early in numbers. We’re real happy about that. So proud. So grateful. The construction of the building is great. Even when the stadium was halfway full during warmups it was still pretty loud. We found it hard to even talk to each other on the bench [during the game]. It’s definitely a great atmosphere.”

Jeremy Hall on marking Brazilian prodigy Neymar
“I just tried to let him come at me as much as possible until I got around the 18. I knew he was going to run into help, he was gonna cut inside and go out wide. The team did a good job helping me out. He wasn’t really going anywhere, just coming inside and he got stuffed…overall I thought we did a great job defending him.”

Juan Agudelo on coming through the team’s developmental system as opposed to college:
“My goal in life is to be one of the best soccer players in the world, or the top 100. Most of those people that were in the top 100 didn’t go to college; they started their careers early and that’s what I would like to do. And that’s what’s going to happen.

My targets [for this season] are to score a couple of goals and help the team when they need me. Get assists and goals. That’s my job.”

Videos

Prematch (Red Bull) player introductions:


Here Mike Petke discusses “the longest six weeks of my life”–the last 10 years leading up to tonight’s grand opening:

A stirring rendition of the star spangled banner by Kelly Rowland:

Match Facts

New York Red Bulls 3, Santos FC 1
March 20, 2010 – Red Bull Arena; Harrison, NJ

Scoring Summary:
NY: Joel Lindpere (unassisted) 11’
NY: Mike Petke (Tim Ream, Carl Robinson) 43’
NY: Dane Richards (Macoumba Kandji) 45’
SAN: Germano (Alex Sandro) 91’

Disciplinary Summary:
NY: Ibrahim Salou (caution) 16’
SAN: Bruno Aguiar (caution) 42’
SAN: Zezinho (caution) 58’
NY: Wolyniec (caution) 73’

Lineups:

Santos FC – Fabio Costa (Rapahel 86’), Bruno Aguiar, Alex Sandro (Wesley Santos 64’), George Lucas, Alan Santos (Jefferson 82’), Luciano Castan, Neymar, Germano, Breitner (Diego Monar 46’), Giovanni (Marcel 46’), Zezinho (Crystain 80’)

New York Red Bulls (7-0-3) – Bouna Coundoul (GK) (Greg Sutton 61’), Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Mike Petke (Andrew Boyens 80’), Jeremy Hall, Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Joel Lindpere (Tony Tchani 85’), Carl Robinson (Juan Agudelo* 46’), Dane Richards (Luke Sassano 61’), Macoumba Kandji (Austin da Luz 73’), Ibrahim Salou* (John Wolyniec 67’)

Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
Referee’s Assistants: C.J. Morgante, Thomas Supple
4th Official: Mark Geiger
Attendance: 25,000

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RBNY media day videos

Posted on 16 March 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN is at Red Bull Arena for the New York Red Bulls 2010 media day activities. We will be updating this post constantly throughout the day, so be sure to check back often. Also follow us on Twitter, if you aren’t doing so already, where we have been posting photos.

Red Bulls GM Eric Stover introduces Red Bull Arena in cake form!

The all time First XI MetroBulls:

Here is footage from the intrasquad practice match that was played earlier. Just ignore the goofy commentary, keeping in mind these are unedited.

Practice Videos





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Giants Stadium endgame

Posted on 25 October 2009 by ASN Staff

The New York Red Bulls played their last game at Giants Stadium Saturday night, Oct. 24, 2009, putting to rest 13 years of (mostly bad) memories. They did so in impressive fashion, defeating Toronto FC by a 5-0 score that ended TFC’s playoff hopes.

The massive Swamp was never meant to be anything beyond a temporary waystation for the New York/New Jersey Major League Soccer franchise. Two ownership groups, one “rebranding” and nearly a decade and a half later, the team has finally bid adieu to the Meadowlands stadium.

It wasn’t easy. In a cruel fit of irony, the kickoff was delayed 16 minutes due to inclement weather–driving rain, thunderstorm and lightning. Given everything that has happened to this franchise since 1996, this was perhaps entirely appropriate. A crowd of 21,305 braved the elements anyway.

When the match finally did kick off, they were quickly rewarded. In the second minute of play, a pass by Juan Pablo Angel launched Macoumba Kandji and the lanky forward provided the clinical finish to put the Red Bulls up, 1-0.

New York was the livelier side in the game’s first half hour. And on 33 minutes they were rewarded again for their efforts. Angel and Kandji combined again–this time with Kandji providing the assist–and the score was suddenly 2-0. This despite the fact the Red Bulls had nothing but pride to play for. That had been made clear several weeks ago. A year after the franchise’s first-ever trip to MLS Cup, the New York Red Bulls imploded in 2009, torn asunder by questionable (at best) personnel decisions and a coach who was allowed to hang on to his job far longer than should reasonably allowed.

Toronto, meanwhile, had a very reasonable chance at making the playoffs for the first time in franchise history. They needed to beat the Red Bulls and hope either Colorado or FC Dallas didn’t win their matches at Real Salt Lake and Seattle, respectively.

By the 62nd minute, it was clear this wasn’t going to happen. Juan Pablo Angel one-timed a pass from Jeremy Hall past TFC keeper Brian Edwards to make it 3-0 for the home side. Kandji completed his brace on 70 minutes (unassisted this time) and Matthew Mbuta converted a stoppage time penalty kick for the 5-0 end result.

The victorious Red Bulls in the Giants Stadium tunnel en route to their locker room after the match:

“I thought the team played well,” said interim head coach Richie Williams after the game. “My hat goes off to all the guys out there, they did a great job.”

Williams spoke of the team’s motivation coming into its last game at Giants Stadium–specifically its need to do well. “We have to do that for ourselves, the fans and for the team,” he said. “It’s great to have this as the last game in the stadium and go out with a victory. Hopefully this leads to bigger and better things in the new stadium.”

Asked about his status as interim head coach, Williams said the following (video embedded):

Mike Petke, who returned to the club this year after a lengthy absence, was forced to leave the match early in the first half with an injury. In the following video, he discusses the injury and talks a little bit about his “bittersweet” feelings of leaving Giants Stadium.

Metro legends pay their respects

A trio of MetroStar/Red Bull legends were on hand to pay their respects to the Swamp. You’ve already seen Youri Djorkaeff drop a big hint on Thierry Henry’s future in MLS. Directly below is Tab Ramos (embedded video).

Former U.S. Men’s National Team, MetroStars and Red Bulls goalkeeper Tony Meola was on hand as well:

Tab Ramos was asked about the prospects of coaching the Red Bulls and revealed there have been conversations with the front office:

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New Tactics, New Result in New Jersey

Posted on 09 May 2009 by arozsa

How does a team keep from hitting rock bottom less than 10 games into a season? Find a team that’s struggling even more, step on them and climb. New York did just that Friday night at the Swamp, scoring a club record four first half goals en route to a 4-1 mauling of the lowly San Jose Earthquakes.

Two Jorge Rojas goals in the first 15 minutes took the suspense of the match early, and additional tallies by Juan Pablo Angel and Macoumba Kandji sealed the points for New York, moving them into a tie with New England for fifth in the Eastern Conference. Ryan Johnson added a consolation tally at the end of the first half, but it was already too late for San Jose, who have only woeful FC Dallas to thank for keeping them off the table bottom.

“Today was the game we were expecting to have a long time ago,” Angel said afterwards. “The first half was a different class in terms of the way we played, how we closed them down, we denied them space, we denied them the ball.”

As Juan Carlos Osorio had hinted throughout the week, New York came out with different personnel and a different approach to try to turn the tide of what has been a trying season so far. Albert Celades made his first career MLS start alongside Seth Stammler in central midfield. Rojas and Sinisa Ubiparipovic played much narrower than would have been asked of usual starters Dane Richards and Khano Smith in the attacking midfield, allowing room for the fullbacks to roam the flanks.

“We had a lot of contribution from the fullbacks tonight,” said Osorio. “We had a very good distribution from the midfield and Seth (Stammler) and Albert (Celades) showed very good signs of a partnership.

Despite the changes, it was the recognition of a major mismatch that fueled the first half barrage from New York, as San Jose left back Eric Denton was overwhelmed by Kandji, who was repeatedly pulling wide to find space. He nearly broke free in the second minute as he picked up a through ball in the channel and drove his cross directly in the midsection of ‘Quakes goalkeeper Joe Cannon.

The breakthrough wasn’t long in coming, however. Kandji again broke free down the right side and drew a free kick near the touchline. Rojas curled a ball in towards Kevin Goldthwaite, who missed his attempt at a glancing header. The attempt wrong-footed Cannon, who could only flail in vain as the ball bounced inside the far post.

San Jose had little time to shake off their bad luck, as New York pressed down the right once again in the 12th minute, earning a deep throw in. Right back Carlos Johnson, who spent much of the first half in the attacking third, fired in a line drive throw-in directly to the forehead of Kandji, who’s flick found Rojas all along on the back post to double the lead.

“I was looking for players who were coming in to the box,” said Rojas. “We worked on that during the week.”

Rojas’ goals, his first two in MLS, seemed a due reward for the Venezuelan International’s practice work and improved league form.

“I think Jorge had been knocking on the door for quite a while,” said Osorio. “I think when he plays farther up the pitch, he is very good to us.”

Osorio’s other prized signing, Celades, also made his presence known. Along with contributing to the dominating midfield effort with his assured possession and short passing, he also added desperately needed vision into New York’s attack. He played Kandji through in the 18th minute only to be foiled by Cannon. He then found Kandji alone in space again on the right side, who then drove a ball across the six yard box to a grateful Angel’s waiting boot.

It seemed very much an epiphany for Kandji, who had missed his strike partner on similar runs earlier in the half. Angel quickly acknowledged his teammate’s effort.

“I keep learning, I keep improving every game,” said Kandji. “I’m going to just pick it up and try and play better next game.”

The lanky Senegalese striker wasn’t finished, using his seemingly endless reach to poke a ball clean from San Jose centerback Kelly Gray. He then raced on to the loose ball and slammed it home without needing another touch to give the Red Bulls a 4-0 lead in the 40th minute.

San Jose looked a defeated side even before the half, but provided a glimmer of hope for Frank Yallop by pulling back a goal before the half. Former New York Red Bull Chris Leitch overlapped down the right side, and his searing cross was cleared by Pacheco only as far as Ramiro Corrales. He nodded back across the goalmouth to a waiting Ryan Johnson, while the Red Bulls unsuccessfully appealed for offside.

It was too little, too late for San Jose who dropped to 1-5-2 in the young season. Despite maintaining most of the possession in the second half, they rarely threatened. Yallop’s decision to wait until less than 20 minutes remained to add a third forward seemed telling of his team’s plight. Playing without Darren Huckerby for the fourth straight game, the Earthquakes lacked a dominating personality in the final third with Bobby Convey and Aturo Alvarez drifting from the play for much of the game.

The Red Bulls, on the other hand, seemed poised to turn their season around. And they’ll get to make that turn on a jughandle, as they won’t have to leave New Jersey for a league game until June. The competition will certainly get stiffer, and with league ties against Houston and Chicago straddling a midweek open cup fixture against DC United on the 20th, Osorio’s approach to squad rotation will be in the spotlight.

“It’s been a lot of ups and downs this year,” remarked Angel. “Energy hasn’t been a question in this team…tonight we were much more organized (than before).”

New York Red Bulls Player Ratings

Cepero – 5 – His shotstopping is never in doubt, showing his skill on a nice save to deny Alvarez in the second half. But he flapped at several crosses on the night and looked uncomfortable with the ball at his feet.

Goldthwaite – 7 – Solid as usual. Grows in confidence every game in the back, and seems to be quickly becoming the leader of the back four.

Petke – 7 – Matched up with the bruiser Cam Weaver on the night and came out on top. With Brian Ching, Brian McBride and Conor Casey coming to town this month, he very well might be the most important Red Bull this month. Stock up on the advil.

Pacheco – 6 – Got forward at times, and was very effective when he did so. Mostly seemed content to stay at home and allow Rojas to roam free. Bailed out Cepero by taking a fierce shot off from Convey off the forehead late in the match.

Johnson – 8 – Terrific game for the Costa Rican, who found acres of space to streak down the right side with Sinisa pinching in. It took his midfielders a while to start finding him, but they eventually did. His surreal, arrow-flighted long throw-ins created a goal and seemed to unsettle San Jose. Also, no red card.

Stammler – 7 – Huge motor on this guy. If he had come along in 2002, he might have very well had a similar career to Pablo Mastroeni. Also like Pablo, he often was a little too eager to charge forward, exposing his backline on occasion.

Celades – 7 – Took a while to get his rhythm, but started to show his qualities midway through the first half, making a point of finding Kandji and the raiding Johnson repeatedly in the seams. His composure and vision were at times a step above anyone on the field. If he can stay healthy, he can be one of the league’s best. Ever.

Ubiparipovic – 6 – Tidy on the ball and a terrific motor. Left the flank play to Kandji and the fullbacks. Will be a very valuable player for NY this year.

Rojas – 8 – Looked extremely comfortable in the narrow attacking midfield role handed to him by Osorio. Repeatedly found space to operate and looked lethal when he did tallying his first two goals in the league. Still showed tendencies to dribble in bad spots on occasion, but he seems to be catching on to the speed of play in MLS.

Kandji – 8 – Eric Denton will be having nightmares about Macoumba for months after this one. Repeatedly pulled wide while the midfield stayed narrow, and that’s where he is at his best. His final ball to Angel looked like learned behavior from the training ground, and Angel made sure that he acknowledged it. Often got to loose balls and turned the corner when it seemed nearly impossible to do so.

Angel – 8 – The most telling sight for this game was the complete absence of Angel in the midfield. He stayed high all game, providing terrific target and hold up play. Will score 15+ goals if the service continues as it was tonight.

Substitutes were not rated, as the 4-1 scoreline didn’t allow for a very competitive second half.

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