The New York Red Bulls and UNAM Pumas played to an entertaining 0-0 draw in a friendly at the 2012 Red Bull Reto Del Sol in Arizona.
For me, the first half is the most telling of where New York stands.
While the Red Bulls used the majority of their starters for the full 90, Pumas played the first half with only two changes to the side that drew 1-1 against Cruz Azul in Saturday’s Classico Capitolino. This made for an excellent preseason test for Hans Backe’s men against Guillermo Vazquez’s preferred starting XI. A side that is already in mid-season form.
It was also going to be a strong examination for the Red Bulls attack against a well drilled Pumas defense that is compact, and always keeps it shape.
The Red Bulls looked sharp out of the starting blocks, moving the ball well through the midfield, especially on the ground. Six minutes in and the first real question was answered. Thierry Henry won the ball in midfield and played a defense splitting pass to Kenny Cooper. The former Portland Timber should have taken one touch to settle and another to shoot, but instead dilly-dallied on the ball, allowing Marco Antonio Palacios to close him down.
A minute later the Red Bulls executed a gorgeous sweeping team move that started on the right side of defense and flowed all the way to the left corner ended with Dane Richards putting Henry in prime shooting position. The Frenchmen made good contact, but shot right at Alejandro Palacios (twin brother of Marco Antonio).
The New Jersey club was buzzing and adventurous in the first 10 minutes. After that, however, the Red Bulls lost the plot as Pumas took the game to the MLS side.no comments
USMNT coach, Jurgen Klinsmann, has named a roster of 21 players for the upcoming match against Italy in Genoa on February 29th. This will be the first meeting on Italian soil since 2002, and it will be very interesting to see the buzz surrounding the match.
US Roster By Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3) :Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (7) :Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Parkhurst (FC Nordsjaelland), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City)
MIDFIELDERS (6) : Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
FORWARDS (5) :Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Terrence Boyd (Borussia Dortmund), Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Amobi Okugo and Sean Johnson introduce the U-23's last camp before Olympic qualifying....
Caleb Porter's U-23 squad started off its 10-day camp on the right foot, defeating FC Dallas 2-1 Wednesday with the game-winning goal coming from Brek Shea. Shea ironically plays club ball for FC Dallas, but had no qualms burying his break-away opportunity in the second half to lift the US to victory. This US youth squad will next take on the NASL's San Antonio Scorpions on Friday.
Even though they played an MLS club in pre-season form without their best player (Shea), the win for this group of Olympic hopefuls was impressive. First off you have to take a moment to look at the Yanks starting 11, which when released sounded quite potent and the players did not disappoint. Porter's starting lineup featured- Hamid; Sarkodie, Opara, Valentin, Villafana; Okugo, Adu, Jeffrey; Agudelo, Bunbury, Shea. From an attacking standpoint with Shea on the wing, Adu in the middle (had both assists), and Agudelo and Bunbury up top, that's a lot of speed, power, and creativity for opponents to deal with.
The young guns showed some resilience as well, after falling behind early on San Jose's talented center-back Ike Opara finished expertly with his head to level the match. Opara, who was drafted 3rd overall in 2010, has battled injury throughout his young MLS career, but is definitely a neophyte that could play a big role in London this summer.
Not only did the Yanks fall behind early but they ended the match down to 9-men as both Sarkodie and Shea saw red cards after receiving their second yellows in the 58th and 75th minutes respectively. Fifteen plus minutes is a LONG time to hold on to a one goal lead when you're down two guys. However, Porter's squad found a way to get it done, and this grind-em out mentality will be crucial come qualifying. Should be a fun week leading up to the Mexico friendly, as you will be sure to see a mini-dosage of the great CONCACAF rivalry that is US vs. Mexico.
Here are the goal highlights from the match...I apologize in advance for the horrific camera angle but there was no mistaking Shea's demolishing finish...
Believe it or not the MLS season starts March 10th, which is ONLY 18 days away. Then on March 11th, one day later, the MLS will debut on NBC Sports Network in an epic clash that features the league's best young player and MVP front-runner, against one of the league's most star-studded clubs, who need to win MLS Cup to justify recent roster decisions and big spending.
These two teams I so eloquently described are FC Dallas and the NY Red Bulls and the MVP front-runner is none other than Brek Shea. This match has the all the elements of a primetime, classic 90-minute affair with big names (Thierry Henry, Brek Shea, David Ferreria), controversy (Rafa Marquez, NY Red Bulls), and bright lights (NBC) all bundling up to form one unstoppable force.
Early Prediction: FC Dallas Win 2-1 @ Home
This MUST WATCH game is sure to kick off the MLS' most successful season in history. With the player talent level at an all-time high and with the introduction of the league's 19th team, the Montreal Impact, and a new soccer-specific stadium for the Houston Dynamo this year will have plenty of high points, don't be the one to miss out on all the action.