Weekly Update: Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City to Battle in Top of Table Clash SundayAugust 20, 2012 - Major League Soccer (MLS) New York Red Bulls
After a thrilling come-from-behind victory over the Portland Timbers on Sunday, the New York Red Bulls hit the road in a potential battle for first place in the Eastern Conference when they face Sporting Kansas City at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on Sunday, Aug. 26 at 9:00 PM ET (TV: ESPN2, ESPN Deportes; Radio: 93.1 FM).
Despite falling behind by two goals, the Red Bulls rallied on Sunday in Harrison and defeated Portland by a 3-2 score. Substitute Kenny Cooper and Tim Cahill "" whose goal was his first as a Red Bull "" scored to even the match heading into halftime. Heath Pearce's second goal of the season in the 83rd minute completed the comeback for the Red Bulls, who stayed unbeaten at home in 2012 with the victory. The win propelled New York to 13-7-5, with 44 points on the season. Entering Sunday's match, New York trails Sporting KC (14-7-4, 46 points) by just two points.
Sporting Kansas City has won its last three matches and picked up its 14th victory of the season on Saturday with a 1-0 decision over Toronto FC. The match pits strength against strength, as the Red Bulls enter the week as the East's leading scoring team with 43 goals, while Sporting KC is MLS' best defensive side, having conceded just 22 goals in 25 matches. In 12 home matches, Sporting has allowed just eight goals.
Sunday's match is the first of three late season meetings between the two sides in 2012. Sporting makes its two visits to Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, Sept. 19, and on Saturday, Oct. 20 in their penultimate match of the season. In two meetings last year, both teams held serve on their home ground; the Red Bulls took a 1-0 decision on April 30, while Sporting returned the favor on Oct. 15, shutting out the Red Bulls, 2-0. All-time New York is 17-17-9 in 43 matches against the Kansas City franchise.
RED BULLS/SPORTING KANSAS CITY CONNECTIONS
Sporting Kansas City head coach Peter Vermes, a native of Willingboro, NJ, played for New York in the club's inaugural 1996 season, starting 30 matches and notching one goal and one assist.
Red Bulls 3, Portland Timbers 0 on Sunday, Aug. 19 at Red Bull Arena
Red Bulls at Sporting Kansas City on Sunday, Aug. 26 at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park at 9:00 PM ET (TV: ESPN2/ESPN Deportes; Radio: 93.1 FM)
Red Bulls at D.C. United on Wednesday, Aug. 29 at RFK Stadium at 8:00 PM ET (TV: MSG+; Radio: 93.1 FM)
RED BULLS EXACT REVENGE, UPEND HOUSTON 2-0
The New York Red Bulls erased a two-goal deficit for a come-from-behind 3-2 victory over the Portland Timbers on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena. Heath Pearce's tally off a header in the 83rd minute proved to be the game-winner for New York, which also got goals from leading scorer Kenny Cooper and midfielder Tim Cahill.
Bright Dike and Darlington Nagbe scored to stake Portland to an early lead, but the second place Red Bulls were able to notch their fourth comeback win of the season and improved to 44 points (13-7-5), just two points shy of leader Sporting Kansas City. New York also remained unbeaten at Red Bull Arena this year, extending its home record to 9-0-3.
It took just eight minutes for the game to find its first goal, with the visitors breaking the deadlock. Sal Zizzo led Portland (5-13-6, 21 pts.) on the counterattack down the right flank and brought the ball into the penalty area. Zizzo squared the ball across to Dike, who beat goalkeeper Bill Gaudette with a first time right-footed shot.
The Timbers doubled their advantage on Nagbe's fifth goal of the season as Portland once again hit New York on a counter. Portland went the other way after Roy Miller lost possession, with Franck Songo'o leading the charge on the left side. Songo'o cut across the top of the box and fed the ball to Zizzo, who slid a pass behind the New York defense to Nagbe. From the right side, Nagbe hit the ball across the goalmouth, sneaking it inside the far post.
Needing an injection of offense, coach Hans Backe went to his bench early and brought on Cooper in the 36th minute. Just seven minutes after he took the pitch, Cooper notched his team-leading 14th goal of the season to bring New York back to within one. Markus Holgersson dribbled forward and picked out Dax McCarty near the 18-yard line and McCarty turned to his right and sent a short through ball into the path of Jan Gunnar Solli. Solli one-timed a right footed cross into the center of the area, and Cooper rose and nodded the ball inside the far left post.
Two minutes later, the Red Bulls were back on level terms when Cahill found the back of the net for the first time since coming to MLS. After receiving a pass from Sebastien Le Toux and with his back to the net, the Australian tapped the ball to McCarty, who fired it on goal. The ball was blocked by a Portland defender in the box and ricocheted back out to Cahill, who struck the ball in from outside the box with his left foot.
In the 52nd minute, New York had back-to-back chances but both were thwarted by Timbers goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts. From the left flank, Cahill directed a looping ball into the box that met the head of Thierry Henry, but Ricketts did well to keep it out. The rebound fell to Le Toux and he was stopped at point-blank range by Ricketts. Nine minutes later, it was Gaudette's turn, as the New York keeper parried away a chance from Nagbe that was taken from the top of the box. In the 69th minute, Gaudette came up with another big save, stopping Diego Chara on a breakaway chance.
New York took the lead for good with seven minutes to go. Henry took a corner kick from the left flag, and the ball sailed all the way to Cooper at the far edge of the box. Cooper laid the ball off to Solli, who swung a cross back into the middle of the area. Pearce rose above his defender and headed the ball downwards and into the net for his second goal of the season.
It took just three matches for the Red Bulls' newest designated player, Australian International Tim Cahill, to find the back of the net. Cahill helped the Red Bulls come back from a two goal deficit and defeat the Portland Timbers on Sunday, scoring in the 45th minute to get the Red Bulls back on level terms entering halftime. In his three matches since coming to the Red Bulls after a distinguished career in England with Millwall and Everton, Cahill has also added two assists.
SEEKING TEAM BEST
With a win on Sunday against Kansas City, the Red Bulls would set a franchise record for points through 26 matches of a season, surpassing the 2000 and 2010 squads, who had 44 points through 26 games. A victory would also tie the 2012 team with the 1998 and 2000 sides with 14 wins in 26 tries.
Points through 26 matches
Season Wins Losses Ties Points
NY 2000 14 10 2 44
NY 2010 13 8 5 44
Wins through 26 matches
Season Wins Losses Ties
NY 1998 14 12 0
NY 2000 14 10 2
New York's 3-2 win over Portland Sunday was the first time that the club has come back from a two-goal deficit in nearly eight years. The last match it occurred was on Sept. 11, 2004 in a 3-2 win over the New England Revolution at Giants Stadium. New York has come back from a two-goal deficit six times in its history, including last Sunday's match.
Red Bulls forward Kenny Cooper came off the bench on Sunday and got the Red Bulls on the board with a 42nd minute goal as New York defeated Portland, 3-2, erasing a two goal deficit. The goal was Cooper's team-leading 14th of the season, and second of the year off the bench. Cooper remained second in the league in goals this year with Real Salt Lake's Alvaro Saborio, as both trail San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski who has 18. Cooper also notched his second assist of the season on Sunday, setting up Heath Pearce's game winner.
SOLLI'S TWO HELPERS
Red Bulls midfielder/defender Jan Gunnar Solli notched his third and fourth assists of the season on Sunday, setting up two of the Red Bulls' three goals in their 3-2 comeback win over Portland on Sunday. Solli helped New York get on the board in the first half when he delivered the cross that led to Kenny Cooper's 14th goal of the season, and Solli also crossed in the ball for Heath Pearce's 83rd minute winner. It was the Norwegian's third multi-assist game since joining the Red Bulls last season; he also had two assists on April 21, 2011 at D.C. United and on July 6, 2011 vs. Toronto FC. For his MLS career, Solli has 11 assists and three goals in 48 matches in a New York shirt.
SUPPORTERS' SHIELD RACE
The Red Bulls are firmly entrenched in the race for the 2012 Supporters' Shield. New York is third in the league in points per game at 1.76 and points with 44 through 25 matches. The current top five in points are:
Team Points Games Played Points Per Game W-L-T
1. San Jose 47 25 1.88 14-6-5
2. Sporting KC 46 25 1.84 14-7-4
3. New York 44 25 1.76 13-7-5
4. Real Salt Lake 42 26 1.62 13-10-3
5. Houston 41 25 1.64 11-6-8
New York's 3-2 victory over Portland on Sunday was the club's fourth comeback win of the season. The Red Bulls' other comeback wins came on March 31 vs. Montreal (5-2), May 15 at Montreal (2-1), and on June 24 vs. D.C. United (3-2). Overall, New York is 4-7-3 this season when they concede the first goal. Conversely, the club is 9-0-2 when scoring first in 2012, and 33-0-12 under Hans Backe since he became coach in 2010.
HOME SWEET HOME
The Red Bulls remain one of two teams in MLS this season that are unbeaten at home. New York has posted a 9-0-3 record at Red Bull Arena; the Houston Dynamo is the league's other home unbeaten side at 8-0-4.
RED BULLS SIGN MIDFIELDER LLOYD SAM
The New York Red Bulls announced Aug. 16 that it has signed midfielder Lloyd Sam. The 27-year-old will be available for selection pending the receipt of his International Transfer Certificate and P-1 Visa.
"Lloyd has impressed our coaching staff during his trial in New York and we are pleased to sign him," said Red Bulls General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. "He is someone who has good speed and can play a number of roles in our squad."
A native of Leeds, England, Sam joins the Red Bulls after most recently featuring for English League One (third division) side Notts County. Sam joined the club on loan from Leeds United in March 2012 and scored five goals in 10 appearances, highlighted by a hat trick on April 9 as Notts County knocked off Yeovil Town, 3-1. From the 2010-11 season until his loan to Notts County, Sam played in 35 matches for Leeds United in England's Championship, scoring twice.
Sam started his professional career with English side Charlton Athletic, then of the Premier League, in 2003 at the age of 18. In 2004, he went on loan to League One side Leyton Orient, appearing in 10 matches. He had two additional loan spells while with Charlton, spending time in 2006 with Championship side Sheffield Wednesday and in 2007 with Southend United. Sam became a fixture in Charlton's starting lineup beginning with the 2007-08 season in the Championship and continued there until his final season with the club, when Charlton played in League One in 2009-10. Overall, Sam made 119 appearances for Charlton, scoring six times.
RED BULLS, OGUNBIYI PART WAYS
The New York Red Bulls and defender Babajide Ogunbiyi have agreed to part ways. The Red Bulls announced on July 31, 2012 that they acquired Ogunbiyi, but his inclusion on the team's roster was contingent on the results of a physical examination.
"During our standard, thorough physical, our medical team noticed an issue regarding Jide's health," said Red Bulls General Manager and Sporting Director Erik Soler. "Over the past few weeks, Jide has consulted extensively with our doctors as well as other practitioners. We thought that after receiving all of the information available, it was best that we part ways at this time. We wish Jide the best of luck and success in his future endeavors. Respecting Jide's right to confidentiality, we will not comment further on the medical issue."
Ogunbiyi had been with Danish First Division side, Viborg FF, since 2010. During his time there, Ogunbiyi made 53 appearances while scoring six goals. The 25-year-old was drafted by the Red Bulls in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft in the second round (18th overall), but did not agree to a contract with the club.
CLUB SIGNS GOALKEEPER LUIS ROBLES
The New York Red Bulls acquired goalkeeper Luis Robles via the MLS Allocation Process on Aug. 8. Robles will be officially added to the Red Bulls' roster and eligible for selection upon receipt of his International Transfer Certificate.
By taking Robles, New York moves to the bottom of the MLS Allocation Order.
Robles spent the past five seasons in the Germany and was most recently with Karlsruher SC, where he made 28 appearances from 2010-12. The 28-year-old started his stint in Germany with FC Kaiserslautern in 2007 and appeared in 36 games for the club. He was drafted by D.C. United in the fourth round of the 2007 MLS SuperDraft with the 50th overall selection out of the University of Portland, where he attended from 2002-06. Despite being drafted by D.C., Robles did not sign with United.
On the international level, Robles has earned one cap for the U.S. Men's National Team and made his debut on July 11, 2009 in a 2-2 tie with Haiti in the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup. Robles also played the 2003 and 2004 seasons with USL Premier Development League side, Boulder Rapids Reserve.
Major League Soccer Stories from August 20, 2012
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- FC Dallas Loans Ruben Luna to NASL's San Antonio Scorpions - FC Dallas
- Weekly Update: Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City to Battle in Top of Table Clash Sunday - New York Red Bulls
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- Chicago Fire Head to Nation's Capital for Midweek Battle Against D.C. United - Chicago Fire
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