It was an evening that saw a miniscule amount of fans at the Red Bull Arena; 2074 to be exact, and whether the poor attendance is to blame on the lack of interest or the lack of advertisement, it made no difference. One side of the stadium, “The South Ward”; a section devoted to the loyal and diehard fans of the New York Red Bulls was only filled to a third of its capacity, and on the other side, a handful of FCNY fans who came out to support their team.
Coach Hans Backe made the decision to go with the B-squad, to rest the starting team after their grueling road trip. Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream rejoined the team following their Gold Cup chase with the USMNT; but the glory would fall on the youngsters during this match. The lineup included Greg Sutton, rookie Mike Jones, Ream, Stephen Keel, Matt Kassel, Teddy Schneider, Austin Da Luz, John Rooney, Marcos Paullo, Corey Hertzog and Agudelo.
The first half of the match saw all the players scrambling for the ball, with no end product. A few good chances failed to account to anything, but Agudelo, Da Luz and Paullo kept ferociously attacking the net, with a combined total of 4 shots on goal in the first half, as opposed to FCNY who had none at halftime. Most found themselves thoroughly impressed by the plays of Jones and Paullo, who seemed to truly enjoy their playing time, and made some of the other players, Agudelo, look like they were playing with no passion. The Red Bull bench is truly stacked with a ton of talent, and hopefully this B-squad will lead the Red Bulls to the Open Cup final.
The second half saw the game come alive, with players from both squads playing with heart and passion, which led to the first goal of the match in the 56th minute for FCNY. RBNY felt the pressure and Hertzog found the equalizer within a minute. But it was the goal from John Rooney, who was substituted at halftime that would lead to a grand celebration. The goal came in the 65th minute, and would be the first goal for the younger brother of Wayne Rooney. This win would be the first victory that would take RBNY to the quarterfinals since July 2006.
Backe stated that the same squad would be utilized for the quarterfinal in Chicago next Tuesday evening. The decision was made since July is an intense month for the Red Bulls who play 9 matches, including back to back matches at the Emirates Cup in London. Furthermore, he stated that he was content with play from the youngsters, and that there is some work to be done, in particular on Rooney’s pace.
Regardless of the win, the talk all around the stadium was of the De Rosario trade for Dax Mccarty from DC United. Backe stated that it was a tough decision, but it was done due to De Ro’s salary cap that rises significantly next year. Backe intends to play Dax in the central midfield alongside Teemo Tainio that will bring the formation back to a 4-4-2.
When asked about the trade being between rival clubs, Backe stated that he had not even considered that, but that he would expect nothing less from De Ro to score 2 or 3 goals for DC United when they take on the Red Bulls at home in two weeks. As for this weekend’s match against San Jose, which will also be Dax’s debut in the Red Bull jersey, fans will have the opportunity to witness this new and improved 4-4-2 that will include among others Thierry Henry and Agudelo.
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