It was a hot and humid day in the tri-state area as the Red Bulls began a stretch of three games in one week at Red Bull Arena. On this afternoon, it was the Seattle Sounders coming into town to take on Thierry Henry and company. New York had the benefit of some new acquisitions to spell the walking wounded, as Bill Gaudette and Sebastien LeToux came from Los Angeles and Vancouver respectively to earn starts in this match.
It was a new formation to start the match for the Red Bulls as they went to a 4-3-3, but it proved to be lacking any rhythm for the home side that allowed the Sounders to get the first goal of the match. In the 16th minute, it was a lovely cross from Adam Johansson that bent perfectly to Alvaro Fernandez who smacked it home for the early one goal lead.
But six minutes later it would be the new man converting for his new side in a familiar role. Kenny Cooper received a nice ball from Thierry Henry and ripped a hard shot. Bryan Meredith made a quality diving save, but he left a wide open rebound for the former Sounder Le Toux to follow up for the equalizer.
All match long the Red Bulls had solid chances to convert and they couldn’t get it past Meredith or the difficult Sounders defense, until Joel Lindpere was able to put the Red Bulls ahead at the 61st minute mark. Another fantastic ball from Brandon Barklage sprung Lindpere to an attacking run. It was a quick spin by Lindpere that allowed him to avoid his defender, and then his low shot snuck just inside the near post for the lead.
Sigi Schmid made a solid tactical sub after the goal. He brought in Fredy Montero off the bench to replace Mauro Rosales, and it paid off. It was the fruit of a nice attacking sequence from the Sounders, as Adam Johansson brought the ball up from the far side and gave it to Brad Evans. He provided a solid cross to Montero, who beat his man to direct the shot past Gaudette for the second equalizer of the game.
More chances came to the Red Bulls on set pieces, but once again it was either defenders stopping them or Meredith making goal line saves to keep the score leveled at two. After the full 90 minutes in the sweltering heat the ending came to a draw.
Hans Backe was somewhat pleased, but was a little annoyed at the result. “Quite a rough start for us defending-wise, I would say they could play in between our defense a little bit too easy. But after some adjustments I think we just improved in the second half.”
“Obviously we’re pleased to come out with a point.” Said Seattle Head Coach Sigi Schmid, “I thought in the first half we played fairly well. The first goal was a great goal. They got a little bit more into the game in the last ten minutes of the half and at the beginning of the second half they knocked the ball around a lot in their half of the field. But I thought we showed great character going down 2-1, and then coming back.”
For the Red Bulls it’s an early Wednesday afternoon tilt against Eastern Conference opponent Chicago Fire, while the Seattle Sounders take on the FA Cup & UEFA Champions League winners Chelsea at Century Link Field in the World Football Challenge. The match will begin at 9:30 PM EDT, and will be televised on ESPN2 and ESPN3.