For two straight games the Red Bulls have been playing well, using some inexperienced players on the backline to get the job done. The theme has been defending sternly and finding that one precious moment you need to acquire the full three points. One single goal is again all they needed, this time against the Houston Dynamo.
A good attack from the Red Bulls in the 7th minute provided the essential element, as Kenny Cooper received the ball at the top of the Dynamo area. He tried to shoot it, but it got deflected. Corey Ashe tried to lay the ball off to goalkeeper Tally Hall, but his back pass lacked proper pace. Cooper challenged the keeper, swept the ball from his hands, and it ended up in the net.
In nine games with the Red Bulls Kenny Cooper has already equaled his goal total from last season scoring his eighth tonight. “I was lucky and we got off to a good early start, a couple of good early starts this year,” said Cooper. “My teammates are fantastic, surrounded by a very talented group. We have young players, experienced players, it’s a deep squad and I enjoy playing my soccer here.”
After the Red Bulls got their goal it was defend, defend, and more defend. But on this particular night, it looked like they could have scored more than a goal as the Dynamo were finishing off their long road trip to start the season; they head back to the Gulf Coast to open their new home this weekend at the BBVA Compass Stadium.
Sloppy passing on their attacking runs and some easy unforced errors showed some tired legs on the Red Bulls at times, but their will was never broken. Once again it was Fordham University standout Ryan Meara who stood tall and made some spectacular saves.
The biggest one came in the third minute of five in second half stoppage time. The ball was crossed to a covered Brad Davis, who outleapt his defenders to get a head on the ball. Meara made a two handed pop-up save, tapped the ball in the air, and then grabbed it before another chance came.
When the full five minutes of second half stoppage time came to an end, the ball went out at the Red Bulls end line and the Dynamo was ready to take a corner. Sadly for Houston the whistle blew, and they were not happy that the referee took what they felt was one final chance.
But at the end of the night it was another three points to the Red Bulls who were without their injured starters. They were also expecting back Rafa Marquez from suspension, but now you can add him to the list of the walking wounded as he picked up an ankle injury in training.
These last few games have shown the will of these reserve players along with Markus Holgersson who is considered a starter. Since Thierry Henry went down with the strained right hamstring Hans Backe gave Holgersson the Captain’s armband and his confidence has grown along with his game.
But to finish off this three match stretch in nine games, they need to get their Mother’s Day win down in Philadelphia and take on the Union who has looked a bit better since their start to the season.