Red Bull Arena Opener, Spectacular

Red Bulls

Saturday night, I was inside the brand spanking new stadium for this Red Bull New York from the press box that is located camera side, behind the player’s benches along with the rest of the spectators. A sold out 25,000 seat stadium located along the banks of the Passaic River that is a PATH train ride away from lower Manhattan & the World Trade Center station.

Every single seat in this brand new Arena was filled. There were Brazilian ex-pats and visiting Santos FC fans filling up the away supporters section. The ESC (Empire Supporters Club) & Garden State Supporters club filled the lower level behind the southside goal and once you heard the crowd noise build from within you know this was a proper football ground. In attendance US Olympic Gold Medalist Lindsay Vonn, Running back Reggie Bush of the NFL’s Super Bowl Champion New Orleans Saints, Former German International & NY Cosmos defender Franz Beckenbauer.

So much hype and hoopla was answered. This feeling that I had, the media had and the entire supporters of this club had, is that this was finally home. This new Arena that has been pushed aside time after time by typical New Jersey Politics, so many times the supporters have been disappointed that a start date for construction was never made, but now it’s finally completed and the clubs first opponent in their new Arena is Pele’s club Santos F.C.

The action got off to a bit of a slow start, but an early chance for RBNY would loom large. A foul drawn by Ibrahim Salou just outside the Santos area gives them the first free kick of the match. In the 11th minute Estonian International Joel Lindpere would take the free kick and hits the wall, but the hard shot would rebound back to a hustling Lindpere & he blasts it past the keeper for the very first goal in Red Bull Arena history.

Since that goal was scored, RBNY never took their feet off the gas pedal. So many runs made by the club & they kept on attacking & attacking & attacking. They had many chances to add to their totals; but when it was time to defend, the backline came up big and Bouna Coundoul made sure that any shot would never get thru. Rookie Centerback Tim Ream from St. Louis, Missouri looked so cool and calm he never had a nervous twitch when pressured by Neymar and Santos.

Two more goals would register at the back end of the first half and this time the defense would score some offense. 44th minute corner at the near end for RBNY. Carl Robinson sends it towards the area and Tim Ream heads it towards goal, but out of nowhere Bohemia, NY native Mike Petke sidefoots it inside the near post and the club is up by two.

But a minute later another attacking run started by Sinisa Ubiparipovic, he finds Macoumba Kandji and instead of making a run, Kandji finds a wide open Dane Richards and just as he gets the ball Richards rips a hard, bending laser that nails the inside of the near corner of the net for the three goals to nil lead. This was a friendly and I understand, but if this is what Head Coach Hans Backe envisioned then my goodness this could be a fun 2010 season.

Sitting in the pressbox at Red Bull Arena I got goosebumps & butterflies in my stomach all at once. I choked up twice and nearly broke down crying. I nearly had tears of joy when I was sitting in my new home for the game in the USA. There was no performence stage on one side of the stadium. You can hear the crowd and the supporters all night long with the roof. I might have been in the USA, but I have to admit that there was a time I thought I was in Europe.

More Red Bull Arena photos and videos will be shown here on MLS Talk during the week.

Tuesday, March 23rd  2:00PM EST

Blake Compton discusses Columbus Crew’s 2nd leg of CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals at Toluca
C.B.A. Agreement
More Red Bull Arena Talk & Audio

25 thoughts on “Red Bull Arena Opener, Spectacular”

  1. I have to mirror Oh_yeah. Great game and beautiful arena. That was a great day for the MLS. Finding an agreement, opening a state of the art soccer stadium, and beating and reputable Brazilian team.

  2. Nights like this give me hope that soccer and MLS will be big, very big in 20 years or so!Thank God they signed the new CBA! Let the games begin.

  3. Leo,
    20 years. I will be all but dead ( maybe even that ) in 20 years.
    The time is now, or this thing dies.

    Congrats to the Red Bulls, I hope they sell out the season.

    1. Chas – you’re supposed to willingly sacrifice what’s left of your life for MLS to ease soccer into their single entity, via imposed mediocrity and randomized match outcomes.

      Come on, man. Take one for the single entity.

      This message brought to you by MLS: The Soft Bigotry of Low Expectations.

  4. Daniel – I can relate. You must have seen Dempsey’s goal last week. Not only sublime in and of itself, but in a European context, to push the club deeper into international competition than ever before, and further than the pundits said they’d get, against Juventus…..

    I’m not trying to belittle here – I swear. I have felt the same way you have at some MLS matches since 1996. But man, our biggest moments have got to stop revolving around new mid size stadiums and friendlies. It’s like having that special moment at the birth of your first child at his bar mitzvah.

    1. It’s still March and Harrison, which is not in Florida, is coming off a harsh winter. The grass will get thicker.

  5. I’m afraid you are belittling it. Right now I am happy that I was able to walk into this Stadium. And Just to let you know, this stadium can have extra sections built if Red Bull wanted to. But right now, this is fine.

    You want this league to get out of the football business, then you are barking up the wrong tree. I am happy with 25,000 as the capacity & the Home MLS Opener is sold out as well.

    Don’t forget that Houston, DC are still playing in stadiums they pay rent to. Kansas City will start construction & San Jose just got their approval to start construction. I want single entity gone as well, but for now it has to remain.

    1. I don’t want them out of the business, but can’t find any precedent for any single entity divesting into the independent entities that could actually compete against one another. I also think that imposed mediocrity is the cornerstone of that model.

      Not that it’s part of this conversation – but nobody can sketch out that transition.

      Putting it decades away, and outside of the lifetimes of some American supporters, is just another slap in the face from an entitled league.

      1. Thank God, I will NOT live that long. IF Americans start embracing the losers mentality of the Euro leagues, I will kill myself anyway.

        I just disagree that this will be mediocrity. IF the fans support their team, we will blow Europe away in short order. There is no way that players really want to play on the loser teams in Europe. They are too good of athletes to have that dumb of a mentality.
        But money talks and they aren’t able to get on winning teams. Pretty easy model to beat, just need money which comes from fans.

  6. I thought the game was actually pretty good and the stadium was beautiful, but the crowd seemed quite minus the supporters section. I don’t know if it was MSG or what, but it seemed like a very subdued crowd once the game started. They did cheer their team well when they scored and got the wave going around the stadium. It was also a bit much when they drove the Redbull car out on the pitch and Lindsey Vonn got out to bring in the match ball.

    1. I have a feeling I am glad that I don’t know who Lindsey Vonn is. I think I will refrain from looking it up and live in a great day for MLS.

  7. For those of you who saw the match on Fox Soccer Channel & was upset with their coverage, that’s how their HD is set up. I believe it’s the 16 X 9 picture and their ends are cut off.

    Madison Square Garden Network had no problems what so ever if you are in the NYC/NJ/CT Tri-State area. Or if you watched the match thru Direct TV, Dish Network, Fios, or any other form of digital cable or Dish set up.

    1. Daniel, yep I watched the game on Fox Soccer Channel and the TV picture was awful. Half the time, the ball was off screen.

      Thanks for the explanation regarding why it was doing that because of HD. BUT, right now, the only networks showing FSC in HD, I believe, are DISH Network and Time Warner. No one else is. So for 90%+ of the viewing audience, it was a horrible experience.

      The Gaffer

      1. Gaffer,
        Who announced the game on FSC? Did they use the audio feed from MSG who had JP announcing? I was actually happy they had JP because I found out the guy that normaly does the Redbulls games on MSG also does the Devils games. But then again a hockey announcer would probably do a better job at annoucing soccer than a basketball or baseball announcer.

  8. The Stadium is great but not perfect. The commute to the stadium by mass transit is decent by NY/NJ standards. Being able to eat in the Ironbound is great and much better then buying overpriced stadium food.

    Some seats in the Stadium are partly obstructed by guardrails. Bad planning and design on their part.

    1. Why can I take a direct train to East Rutherford but not Newark? Would Metro North have to make a deal with PATH or with the Red Bulls? I just find it funny that I take take the train to the swamp but not another metro area.

  9. Jim. That was their idea all along with the barriers at the food lines. They want people to watch the game from the seats and not on the line for food & drinks.

    1. Daniel. I should of explained better, where I was sitting in section 219 row 10 seat 33 I had a large guardrail blocking the left hand side of the filed. Other sections have the same problem as people have been complaining about it on other forums. Luckily these are not season tickets. One set of fans went to the Stadium to select their seats, turned up for the opening game only to be confronted with the guardrail that had been installed after they had purchased season tickets.

  10. CTBlues: Steve Cangelosi was doing the New Jersey Devils home game across the Passaic River. But yes, J.P. Dellacamera always does a fantastic job. He allows the game to breath, unlike other peoples opinion.

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