Preview: Red Bulls to host Sounders in ESPN showdown
NEW YORK RED BULLS vs SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
RED BULL ARENA, Harrison, N.J.
July 15, 2012 (WEEK 19, MLS Game #180)
4 p.m. ET (ESPN/Deportes; GolTV/RDS2)
The New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders FC renew acquaintances before an ESPN audience when the clubs meet Sunday at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls saw a three-game unbeaten run come to an end last weekend, in another loss at New England. Sounders FC put an end to their nine-game winless run on the weekend, then advanced to a record fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup final at midweek.
REFEREE: Jorge Gonzalez. SAR (bench): Ian Anderson; JAR (opposite): Chris Strickland; 4th: John McCloskey
MLS Career: 81 games; FC/gm: 24.7; Y/gm: 3.3; R: 24; pens: 23
- NEW YORK RED BULLS -- OUT: MF Teemu Tainio (R knee sprain); FW Jose Angulo (R knee sprain); DF Heath Pearce (R hamstring injury); DF Jan Gunnar Solli (R hamstring injury); QUESTIONABLE: DF Markus Holgersson (L ankle sprain)
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC -- OUT: GK Andrew Weber (R adductor strain); FW Babayele Sodade (R knee ACL tear); FW David Estrada (L foot fracture); QUESTIONABLE: MF Steve Zakuani (R leg fracture); GK Michael Gspurning (R hip strain); PROBABLE: DF Adam Johansson (R hamstring strain)
INTERNATIONAL ABSENCES: none
- SUSPENDED NEXT YELLOW CARD: NY: Joel Lindpere, Dax McCarty, Dane Richards ... SEA: Eddie Johnson, Fredy Montero
- SUSPENDED AFTER TWO YELLOW CARDS: NY: Mehdi Ballouchy ... SEA: Andy Rose, Zach Scott
ALL-TIME (6 meetings): Red Bulls 2 wins, 5 goals ... Sounders FC 3 wins, 9 goals ... Ties 1
AT NEW YORK (3 meetings): Red Bulls 2 wins, 7 goals ... Sounders FC 1 win, 3 goals ... Ties 0
LAST YEAR (MLS)
3/19: NY 1, SEA 0 (Agudelo 70)
6/23: SEA 4, NY 2 (Friberg 11; Alonso 12; Levesque 67, 78 -- Richards 31; own goal 58)
- The teams split their meetings over the last two seasons, both winning on the road in 2010, then each holding serve with home victories last year.
- Coaches record: Hans Backe vs. SEA: P4 W2 L2 D0 ... Sigi Schmid vs. NY: P30 W11 L14 D5
NEW YORK RED BULLS
The New York Red Bulls saw their three-game unbeaten streak put to an end, falling 2-0 to the New England Revolution on Sunday evening at Gillette Stadium. The Red Bulls are in third place in the Eastern Conference, with 31 points from 18 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Red Bulls' New England hex continues
- The Revolution capped a fine start by taking the lead after 24 minutes through Lee Nguyen. Receiving a return pass from Chris Tierney just outside the area, Nguyen stepped into the space and swerved a shot around two defenders and inside the left post.
- Revolution debutant Jerry Bengtson doubled the lead six minutes from time. Shalrie Joseph sent Saer Sene in alone on the New York goal, and 'keeper Ryan Meara did well to repel Sene, but he could do nothing to stop Bengtson from collecting the rebound and coolly slotting it home from close range.
- Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe made three changes to the team that reached a 1-1 draw with Toronto FC at BMO Field. Stephen Keel, Roy Miller and Mehdi Ballouchy came into the team in place of Heath Pearce, Jan Gunnar Solli and Thierry Henry.
- NEW YORK RED BULLS (4-1-4-1): Ryan Meara - Brandon Barklage, Stephen Keel (Victor Palsson 82), Wilman Conde, Roy Miller - Dax McCarty - Dane Richards, Joel Lindpere, Mehdi Ballouchy, Connor Lade - Kenny Cooper.
Red Bulls preview Seattle matchup
- The Red Bulls saw their three-game unbeaten streak put to an end in a place where they have not won in a decade. New York has won just once in the last six games, following a five-game winning streak.
- "We are without six regulars, so I can't expect much more from these guys," Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe said. "They did what they could do in a way with the work rate and the energy they showed in the second half but of course we're too shorthanded."
- After starting and playing the full 90 minutes the week before vs. Toronto FC, his first start since May 23, Thierry Henry did not figure in New England.
- "He has problems with his calf," said Backe. "Every time he does turf games, he picks up a calf or something like that, so we can't play him on these kinds of turfs."
- Jan Gunnar Solli was also out of the match, suffering from a hamstring injury, after scoring goals in back-to-back games.
- "It's annoying. We haven't played two games in a row with a full-strength team, and if you look now with the guys -- with Solli out, [Markus] Holgersson out, [Heath] Pearce out, [Rafa] Marquez out, [Teemu] Tainio out, Henry out -- that is six starters," said Backe. "So in a way, you can say that the depth this year is very good. These guys played quite well a month ago, and I think we won five in a row with almost the same team. But, at the end of the day, you cannot pick up wins as we did earlier."
- The Red Bulls were so hit by injuries that they had just six available substitutes. "As far as injuries, every team has injuries, so it's no excuse," said center back Stephen Keel. "We've had injuries before and we've won games, so it's not an excuse. I don't think anyone in here will tell you that, so we've got to bounce back and pick up three points at home."
- The Red Bulls were shut out on the offensive end for just the second time in league play, the first since a 2-0 loss at Real Salt Lake on March 17.
- "We had some good attacks and some good quality going forward in the second half and had some good opportunities. I had a couple myself that I should have done better with," said Kenny Cooper. "We could have made it 1-1, and they ended up going down and getting another. Again, not the result I think any of us wanted, but we'll learn from it and hopefully we'll put things right."
- Backe said a trio of starters should be available Sunday as Henry, Marquez and Holgersson all returned to full training. "Holgersson, Rafa and Thierry is definitely OK," Backe said. "[Heath] Pearce, [Jan Gunnar] Solli and, of course, [Teemu] Tainio are out."
SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC
Seattle Sounders FC put an end to their league winless streak after nine games, holding out for a 2-1 win against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday evening at CenturyLink Field. Sounders FC are in a tie for third place in the Western Conference with 30 points from 19 games.
HIGHLIGHTS: Seattle snaps streak in dramatic fashion
- Sounders FC took the lead after 52 minutes. A corner kick was half-cleared, but quickly worked back out to Mauro Rosales on the left flank. He again flighted the ball into the box and Alvaro Fernandez nodded home the perfectly placed service.
- Twelve minutes later, Sounders FC doubled the margin through very similar circumstances. Again Rosales sent in a ball from the left flank, and this Eddie Johnson found himself with space inside the box and rose over the defense to head home.
- The Rapids pulled a goal back in the 79th minute when left back Luis Zapata perfectly curled a cross to Omar Cummings at the far post for an easy volleyed tap-in. A couple of minutes later, Cummings deflected a Jeff Larentowicz shot into the net, but the goal was ruled out for offside.
- Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid made six changes to the team that reached a scoreless draw with Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium. Adam Johansson, Patrick Ianni and Marc Burch came into the back four for Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado and Leo Gonzalez, and Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso and Andy Rose came into the midfield for Brad Evans, Servando Carrasco and Fredy Montero.
- SEATTLE SOUNDERS FC (4-4-1-1): Bryan Meredith - Adam Johansson, Jeff Parke, Patrick Ianni, Marc Burch - Alex Caskey, Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Alvaro Fernandez (Cordell Cato 81) - Mauro Rosales (Steve Zakuani 86) - Eddie Johnson (Fredy Montero 72)
Zakuani, Mullan exchange jerseys
- It was the first victory for Sounders FC since May 9. They went 0-4-5 in their club-record nine-game league winless run.
- "It was important to get the win. It was important to get back home. It would have been nice to have it be 2-0 or 3-0 and be a lot cleaner than it was, but I was pleased overall," said Sounders FC head coach Sigi Schmid.
- Added center back Patrick Ianni: "I think everyone knew the magnitude of the game. We stuck to the game plan and everyone worked. I think the big thing is everyone working selflessly for each other. Both offensively and defensively, everyone was moving and being selfless with the ball."
- Mauro Rosales recorded a pair of assists, his third two-assist game in his MLS career. He has four assists over the last five games.
- Eddie Johnson scored his eighth goal of the season, his fourth in the last four games. He has scored four of the last five games Seattle has scored in league play.
- "I think Mauro has four assists on my goals. I think that just repetition -- playing games, playing with certain people, and getting an understanding of what they like to do when they get the ball," said Johnson. "I think Mauro and I are starting to build a good relationship. You know when he has the ball out wide, he's going to do one thing--he's going to whip the ball in the box. I just wanted to be alert and be dangerous in the box when the ball comes in and I was able to get on the end of it."
- The goals were the first from corner kicks since April 14 for Seattle. Of their 23 goals this season, eight have come from wide positions through crosses or corners.
- "It was nice to see [Alvaro Fernandez] get his first goal of the year off the corner kick and Mauro and Eddie Johnson's combination was very similar to the goal that we scored in New England, so obviously there's a relationship that's developing there and timing that's starting to come along there as well," said Schmid.
- Steve Zakuani made an emotional return to action, coming on for the final four minutes against the club vs. which he suffered a fractured leg last April 23.
- "Normally if I only got three touches on the ball, I'd be upset," Zakuani said. "But those were the best three touches of my life. I'm just happy to get out there. Tonight [was] just about crossing that white line and being happy that I did it and taking it in. Now that it's done, I can really push on and become focused again."
- Said Schmid: "I'm sure he would have enjoyed some more touches and be able to go at some people and get on the flank, but he's got the first one out of the way so we can go from there. It's a pretty emotional time because he's come through a lot and suffered a lot with his injury."
- Goalkeeper Michael Gspurning has returned to full training and could be available for the New York match. "He's definitely moving closer. ... I wouldn't rule him out necessarily for Sunday and for sure after that he's probably full in," said Schmid.
- On Wednesday, Sounders FC became the first team since 1937 to advance to a fourth consecutive U.S. Open Cup final, with a 4-1 win against Chivas USA at Starfire Sports Complex. Eddie Johnson sent Seattle on their way with a first-half goal, then Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans and Sammy Ochoa scored after the break.
- "When you look at what these guys have done in one-off games, you look at the history of any league around the world and you don't see any teams winning four straight FA Cups or Copa del Reys or stuff like that," Schmid said. "You might see teams with four straight league championships, but there are so many things that can go wrong in a one-off game, it's hard to win four in a row."
- Here's the Sounders FC team: Bryan Meredith, Zach Scott, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Pat Ianni, Leo Gonzalez, Cordell Cato (Brad Evans 61), Osvaldo Alonso, Andy Rose, Alex Caskey (Alvaro Fernandez 81), Eddie Johnson (Sammy Ochoa 86), Fredy Montero.
- "We'll be very aware when we step on the field in Kansas City that we have a chance to do something nobody's done," Schmid said of the Aug. 8 final vs. Sporting KC at Livestrong Sporting Park. "That should be a highly motivating factor for our club and all the players on our team."