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RBNY Fan: NY Red Bulls Rout Colorado Rapids
New York defeated Colorado 4-1 at Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon. A match report can be found here.
Lesson learned: Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe wasn't taking any chances on Sunday. After two unsuccessful games, Backe started Kenny Cooper up top with captain Thierry Henry. The two forwards rewarded their coach with two goals that occurred before many attending the match had found their seats. Three minutes into the match, Ross LaBauex was guilty of a horrendous back pass, one that landed right at the feet of Henry. Henry then made his way into the penalty area, got some distance between he and the lone defender, and fired a left-footed shot that beat goalkeeper Matt Pickens. It was a gift from the Rapids, one that Henry happily opened and then thoroughly enjoyed.
Red Bulls fans had a second opportunity to rejoice less than three minutes later. This time it was Henry creating some magic from the midfield, as he played Kenny Cooper through into the right portion of the penalty area. Cooper beat what was a rather lackadaisical offside trap before getting past a sliding defender and then beating Pickens with a far-post shot that replays showed probably should have been stopped. The Henry-Cooper duo was, in just six minutes, far more impressive than what we ever saw from the Juan Agudelo-Henry pairing. Those two could make for many an entertaining moment between now and November.
A leader: Throughout the week, analysts and fans alike (myself included) stated that it was time for the team's captain to carry the Red Bulls to a victory. Henry, who was involved in both goals during the first half, put the Rapids away for good in the 53rd minute. Three minutes after nearly finding his second goal, Henry did well to beat an awfully lazy offside trap before tracking down a perfectly placed free kick sent toward the Colorado penalty area by Wilman Conde. Free and clear into the penalty area, Pickens had no chance of stopping Henry's finish, a strike that landed in the right corner of the net.
The miscue: Conde's impact on the New York back line in his first match with the club was clear right from the start. New York's defending, which wasn't nearly good enough in the team's first two games, looked like a completely different unit against the Rapids. The Red Bulls shut down attack after attack, and they also avoided unnecessary giveaways while in the defending third. The much-maligned Rafael Marquez, who was also playing in his first match of the campaign, had a mostly solid game; up until the 77th minute, when he was guilty of an inexcusable giveaway on the wrong side of the pitch. Omar Cummings eventually received possession, and he then curled a ball to the left of goalkeeper Ryan Meara, who couldn't react fast enough to save the attempt. It was the type of mistake we've seen far too often from Marquez since he joined the Red Bulls, one that has made him anything but a fan favorite among diehard supporters.
Overall: This certainly wasn't the best Colorado side we'll see this season, as the Rapids were without both Jeff Larentowicz and Pablo Mastroeni as available options. New York desperately needed such a victory after two mediocre performances away from Red Bull Arena. A truly good team makes a living on taking advantage of mistakes made by an opponent. That's exactly what the Red Bulls did, and it's how they earned their first points of the 2012 Major League Soccer campaign. Sunday's game was exactly what we RBNY supporters expect from this club.
And what we'll continue to expect moving forward.
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