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Weekly Update: Looking to rebound

Red Bulls Danny Cepero, Mike Petke and Khano Smith will sign autographs
• March 24 - Berkeley College Newark Campus, 4:00-6:00 pm -- Red Bulls players visit college's students, faculty and administrators
• March 25 - Jersey City Medical Center, 355 Grand Street, Jersey City , 2:00-4:00 pm Red Bulls players coach a team of Jersey City Medical Center doctors and staff in a match against the Red Bulls street team
• March 25 - Mulligans on First, 159 First Street, Hoboken, 7:00 - 8:30 pm - Red Bulls players on hand for autographs

In addition, fans should be on the lookout throughout the Metro New York / New Jersey area for the Red Bulls Street Team and Mobile Marketing group who will be out throughout the next few weeks raising awareness of Countdown to First Kick.


Red Bull New York announced that a celebrity game will be among the pre-match festivities as the team opens its 2009 Major League Soccer (MLS) home schedule against the New England Revolution at 7:30 PM on Saturday, March 28 at Giants Stadium.

The celebrity pre-game, kicks off at 5:00 PM and will feature notable celebrities from the worlds of soccer, television, movies, radio, and music. The match will be promoted through numerous mediums, with give-aways as well as a contest. The contest winner will watch the game from the field with the players and celebrities. The Red Bulls will donate a portion of each game ticket sold to the Books for Kids Foundation.

For 23 years, Books for Kids has been responsible for distributing over five million books to needy children, in the New York area and across the nation. The mission of Books for Kids Foundation (www.booksforkids.org) is to promote literacy among all children with a special emphasis on low income, disadvantaged children of pre-school age. Books for Kids creates libraries, donates books and partners with world renowned literacy programs to help develop the critical foundation and skills which these young children need to be successful in life.

For tickets to the match, please call 1.877.RBSOCCER or log onto www.newyorkredbulls.com. To learn more about the Books for Kids Foundation please call 212-252-9168 or log onto www.booksforkids.org.


The New York Red Bulls dropped their season opener to Seattle Sounders FC, 3-0, at Qwest Field Thursday, March 19. The Sounders, playing in their first-ever regular season game, received two goals from Fredy Montero and another from Brad Evans in front of an announced sellout crowd of 32,523.

Sounders FC scored their first goal of their franchise history 12 minutes into the match. Nate Jaqua dribbled the ball towards the top of the box before sliding it to Sebastien Le Toux. Le Toux found an open Montero on the right side of the penalty box and he slotted it past goalkeeper Danny Cepero.

The hosts doubled their lead in the 25th minute. Montero gathered the ball on the left wing and slid it to Evans, who made a run into the box. Evans' subsequent shot went through Cepero's legs and rolled into the net.

New York's best chances in the first half came on set pieces. Macoumba Kandji earned a dangerous free kick at the top of the 18-yard box but Juan Pablo Angel's ensuing attempt went over the bar. Later, the Red Bulls had a chance from a similar distance that Jorge Rojas put into the Seattle wall.

The Red Bulls pressed ahead in the second half trying to get back in the game. Kandji was able to get free on the left side of the penalty box and fired a shot that goalkeeper Kasey Keller punched away. Later, Jorge Rojas hit a looping volley from 25-yards out that Keller touched over the crossbar.

Montero added a second goal in the 75th minute, dispossessing Mike Petke about 35 yards from goal to free him alone with Cepero. Montero put the ball in the upper 90 to increase the Seattle lead to 3-0.


Here was the reaction after the Red Bulls-Sounders FC match on March 19:


On the game:
"Give all the credit to them, they were more effective and they had two chances in the first half. They played very effective today and I think we were not at the right places today."

On whether the atmosphere affected the team:
"I don't know. I don't want to make excuses like it was the crowd because we have to be able to play in games like this. We did it last season, there was a lot of weight on the guys during the games last season in the semi-finals. We have to do a lot better, defensively and offensively we were not on our game today."


On the game:
"We didn't come playing like we are capable of. It stings and it feels like a hangover from the finals. The game didn't go our way in the final and again today in a hostile environment. I think we expected the game to come to us a little bit and expected to get it to the forwards a little easier. Tough day all around."

On Fredy Montero's first goal:
"I think the ball was shifted from one side of the goal to the other so we were all moving and shifting. [Kevin] Goldthwaite went to take a step in and as he went to go block the ball it went through his legs, and I lost sight of it for a second and at that point it was too late. A bit of an unlucky break, on some of my better days I think I get that ball."

On Brad Evans' goal:
"He was able to slip through unmanned. I was expecting him to turn inside, he took me by surprise. I didn't get my feet set and as a result the ball squirt through my legs. Again, on my better days I am able to block that ball. If I make those two saves I think the game is a little closer."

On playing in Seattle:
"It definitely takes some getting used to with a sold-out crowd, primetime television. When you're here it is a different animal. I'm sure with some more experience you get used to that but for us a lot it takes some getting used to. Experience helps you get through those first 10 or 15 minutes."


On playing Seattle in their first-ever game:
"It was a tough one. You have to tip your hat to Seattle. It was probably the best environment I have ever played in and they got up for it and we didn't. There were some bad goals we gave up, obviously the third, I take full responsibility for that one. I feel bad for Danny Cepero, it wasn't him it was us. Two shots on goal in the first half and they scored on both of them. I don't know what you call that, maybe luck. Maybe they should take off to Vegas after that, but we didn't get our job done."

On not being able to gain momentum:
"It was tough watching from the back, from that bird's eye perspective from the back. We just looked off, everybody from us in the back straight up to the top. I couldn't tell you why. We have a lot of work to do to get ready for next week."


After serving the last game of a three-game League suspension issued last season on Oct. 25, midfielder Khano Smith will be available for selection against his former club. Smith, who was acquired by the Red Bulls on Feb. 12 from Seattle Sounders FC in exchange for allocation money, spent four seasons with New England before being selected by Seattle in the 2008 MLS Expansion Draft.

The 6-3, 190-pound Bermuda National Team standout played in 85 games over four seasons for the Revolution, scoring eight goals and 11 assists. In 2008, Smith played in 23 games, started in 18, and scored two goals and three assists. The left-sided midfielder's breakout season came in 2007, when he set career highs in games played (29) and started (26), assists (6) and shots (36). He helped the Revs reach the MLS Cup Final for three-straight years from 2005-07 and win the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2007.

Goalkeeper Jon Conway has three games remaining on his 10-game suspension last season for violating MLS' substance abuse and behavioral health policy.


Red Bulls Andrew Boyens (New Zealand), Carlos Johnson (Costa Rica) and Jorge Rojas (Venezuela) have all been called up to their respective national teams for international matches this weekend. As a result, all three will be unavailable for selection for the Red Bulls' match against New England on Saturday.

Boyens will travel to Bangkok to face Thailand in an international friendly on Saturday. Johnson, who signed with the team on March 19, will participate in preparation for Costa Rica's CONCACAF World Cup Qualifier against Mexico in Mexico City on Saturday. Rojas and the Venezuela squad head to Buenos Aires to take on Argentina Saturday in a South America World Cup Qualifier.

Boyens and Rojas both started in the Red Bulls' 3-0 loss to Seattle Sounders FC last Thursday.


Red Bulls midfielder Jeremy Hall made his MLS debut last Thursday, coming on in the 34th minute for Andrew Boyens. Hall was selected in the first round (11th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Maryland. An attacking midfielder in college, Hall was placed at right back in the game against Seattle.


Last week, the Red Bulls signed defender Carlos Johnson and goalkeeper Alec Dufty.

Johnson, 24, was most recently with Norwegian Second Division side, Bryne FK, where he made 17 appearances and scored one goal in 2008. Prior to his time in Norway, the right back spent four years the Costa Rican First Division's CS Herediano. There, he played in 91 games and tallied four goals.

Johnson, who was brought up through CS Cartagines' (Costa Rica First Division) youth system, has earned seven caps for the senior national team. He has played at several national team youth levels including representing the Costa Rican Under-17 World Cup squad in 2001.

Dufty joined the Red Bulls' preseason camp as a guest player in January after he was not selected in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft. Prior to coming to New York, Dufty attended the University of Evansville. In his senior year, Dufty started in 16 of 18 games, posting an 8-6-2 record, six shutouts and a 1.45 goals against average. A year before, the Raleigh, NC native was the Purple Aces' Most Valuable Defensive Player after recording 74 saves and three shutouts en route to earning 10 wins. Dufty, 22, was a two-time all-Missouri Valley Conference selection and also attended the 2009 MLS Combine in January. Dufty started his college career at Appalachian State University before transferring to Evansville during his sophomore year. He participated in U.S. Under-20 Men's National Team training camp in May 2006.

The club also announced that it acquired a conditional 2011 MLS SuperDraft pick from the Columbus Crew in exchange for the rights to defender Eric Brunner.

Brunner was drafted by the Red Bulls in the second round (16th overall) in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft out of Ohio State University, but did not appear in a first team game for the club.


The Red Bulls have several new faces on their team in 2009 as well as others who departed in the off-season. Here is a list:

New Players (7): Alberto Celades (Signed on March 11, 2009) Jeremy Hall (Selected in the first round (11th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 15, 2009); Carlos Johnson (Signed on March 19, 2009); Dominic Oduro (Acquired in a trade with FC Dallas on Jan. 13, 2009); Mike Petke (Acquired in 2008 MLS Waiver Draft on Nov. 26, 2008); Khano Smith (Acquired in a trade with Seattle Sounders FC on Feb. 12, 2009); Nick Zimmerman (Selected in the third round (44th overall) of the 2009 MLS SuperDraft on Jan. 15, 2009);

Players who have left (10): Gabriel Cichero (Waived on Nov. 26, 2008); John Gilkerson (Did not return to team after 2008 season); Diego Jimenez (Returned to Tecos after loan expired with New York on Dec. 31, 2008); Gordon Kljestan (Waived on Nov. 26, 2008); Chris Leitch (Traded to the San Jose Earthquakes on March 2, 2009); Mike Magee (Traded to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Jan. 14, 2009); Jeff Parke (Selected by Seattle Sounders FC in 2008 MLS Expansion Draft on Nov. 26, 2008); Caleb Patterson-Sewell (Did not return to team after 2008 season); David Roth (Waived on Feb. 18, 2009); Sainey Touray (Waived on Nov. 26, 2009); Dave van den Bergh (Traded to FC Dallas on Jan. 13, 2009);


Individual ticket packages for the first eight New York Red Bulls 2009 regular season games at Giants Stadium are on sale now by calling 1.877.RBSOCCER. The individual ticket packages include four (4) tickets to a Red Bulls match and a choice of either four t-shirts or a $20 concession voucher for use at the Giants Stadium concessions stands. The packages start as low as $89.95.

The Red Bulls also announced that four-game and eight-game ticket plans are also available for the 2009 season. Fans securing Full or Partial Season ticket plans this season will receive priority access to select their seats in Red Bull Arena, the state-of-the-art soccer-specific stadium being constructed in Harrison, New Jersey, scheduled to open in 2010.

For more information, please call the Red Bulls Fan Services department at 1.877.RBSOCCER.