After a sub-par performance down in Philadelphia, the New York Red Bulls committed themselves during the week of training to get back into the way they can play on both sides of the ball. Changing a few things up was Head Coach Hans Backe giving Juan Agudelo a rest and to give Luke Rodgers his second start of the season and his first home start as well. From the beginning of the match it was a change that actually paid off and would put the match away in the first fifteen minutes.
The first of two by Rodgers was off a corner from the near side as Rafa Marquez sent the ball across and it was deflected away. Dane Richards was able to intercept it and crossed back into the area where Rodgers ran on to it and headed in for his first league goal of the season. Thirteen minutes later he got a great ball from Thierry Henry who stole it off the feet of the Earthquakes captain Ramiro Corrales. Henry delivered the ball into space and Rodgers would score while crashing into keeper Jon Busch.
“Just looking forward to play really, just getting on the pitch and playing” said Rodgers, “But I was so happy to get my chance and so thrilled to get those goals.” After all the talk from last season by Hans Backe to bring him over and with his troubled past stopping him from getting a visa to play in Major League Soccer, then before this season got started Rodgers was involved in a car accident in England. The faith from Backe has finally paid off. “I think it’s phenomenal for him to score two goals and set up a third” said Head Coach Hans Backe. “This is the way he plays and he’s still not fit, in a way for three months. He will improve, but he is that type of busy striker that is so hard to catch him.”
Then the magic that all of the fans were waiting for finally happened. After 684 goal-less minutes for Thierry Henry, he was able to get his first of the season in the eighty-seventh minute. This time Rodgers returned the favor as he looped a cross into the area with plenty of space. All Henry had to do was run into it and put a header in the back of the net. Red Bull Arena erupted and he shouted at them to join the celebration. “It was more annoying than important, because it didn’t really have an effect on the game” said Henry, “But I tried everything I could do to score and I finally did.”
You could see from their performance that they were ready to play and wanted to take care of the Earthquakes right away. The weather was dreadful as the rain poured onto the field. But amazingly the field was still perfect. Whether it be rain or shine the Red Bulls looked strong and ready to play. They had plenty of chances and this time they were of better quality. This will be a short week as they will travel down to take on DC United on Thursday night.