Red Bulls Report: New York takes down Montreal, come home to face Chivas USA

by Mike Watts
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Coming back to health and making more changes to the starting lineup, the Red Bulls pull out three points on the road

Thierry Henry’s hamstring was starting to get in playable condition this week, but the notoriously poor turf at Montreal’s Olympic Stadium kept one of the game’s most prolific strikers sidelined yet again. Despite the Impact’s home turf advantage (keeping Henry off the pitch), the Red Bulls would not be denied as they stretched their winning streak to five games with a 2-1 victory.
The goal allowed by the Red Bulls this week came off an incredibly unlucky call, but the correct one nonetheless, a handball in the box call which led to a penalty kick. Ryan Meara gave up his first penalty kick goal as a pro on the ensuing kick. In the end, the rookie keeper from Fordham used a ninetieth minute sprawling save on a grounded shot aimed at the far post (his fifth save of the match) to preserve the win.

MLS Golden Boot candidate Kenny Cooper tallied a penalty kick goal of his own after the Impact committed a handball in the box, his tenth marker of the season. Dane Richards pounced on a rebound in the second half that he drilled home for the game winning goal. Richards’ winner came a few minutes after midfielder Victor Palsson, who has had an up and down season, was sent off for earning his second yellow card and an automatic ejection.

The win came on the heels of a few major team changes on the field. With the return of Henry coming in the very near future, the Red Bulls decided to unload supremely talented (yet oft injured) nineteen year old forward Juan Agudelo. Agudelo, a New York area resident since he was just seven years old, was moved to Chivas USA for major financial considerations and defender Heath Pearce.

The Agudelo trade seems to be the best scenario for both players involved. The Red Bulls are looking for depth, and a potential starter, on the back line, an opening which Heath Pearce fills. Chivas USA could use any scoring at all, having the least goals of any team in the league, and will place Agudelo into the starting lineup immediately. The experience Agudelo will gain as a starter is something he wouldn’t get in New York playing behind prolific scorers Kenny Cooper and Theirry Henry. The trade does come with one noticeable consequence for the players. Pearce, a California native will come to New York, while New York area resident Agudelo will pack up and move west to California. Though both Pearce and Agudelo will need to leave their hometown teams in the transfer, the move fills needs and presents opportunities for all involved.

In the Montreal match, the newly acquired Pearce stepped in and started at center back against Montreal and played well. Connor Lade, who had played at left back the past few weeks after various injuries forced the rookie into the lineup, was moved up to the left side into a midfield position to make way for Pearce. The backline of Roy Miller, Heath Pearce, Markus Holgersson and Brandon Barklage continued a trend of great defensive play.

With the team playing so well, the reinforcements will only strengthen a team that leads the East. Thierry Henry and Wilman Conde, who is also dealing with legal troubles, should be close to returning from injury in the next few days. Their additions should provide additional scoring punch and physicality respectively.

Now, light scoring Chivas USA will enter Red Bull Arena tonight looking to carry the momentum of a 1-0 win over the Galaxy this weekend. Jose Erik Correa scored Chivas’ only goal in the SuperClasico (the first Chivas win in the series in five years) on a penalty. Juan Agudelo, who was transferred this week from New York, played 76 minutes in his first match with his new squad. Agudelo, who did not manage a shot in the Los Angeles match, was immediately called up the United States Men’s National Team and will miss the upcoming match with New York as he trains in Orlando for an upcoming match with Scotland.

The Goats, currently tied for sixth in the West, have scored just seven goals all season and after a long flight to the Big Apple, they could really struggle to score. The Red Bulls will seek a clean sheet and another three points when they come home for a one game home reprieve before a two game road trip to Chicago and Vancouver. That road trip will start following a break in the season to allow for international competition. The Red Bulls have announced that Roy Miller (Costa Rica), Dane Richards (Jamaica), Joel Lindpere (Estonia) and Rafa Marquez (Mexico) have been called up to their national teams for the duration of the scheduled break.

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