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New York 1-0 Seattle Sounders: Agudelo Scores

It was a cold but fun night at Red Bull Arena Saturday as the season got started for one of the pre-season picks to be atop the Eastern Conference. A lot of questions would be answered on this night and most of them were pointed at young rookie Juan Agudelo. The potential that he has and has showed on a national team level would finally come at a club level.

He scored the only goal of the match as Finnish international midfielder Teemu Tainio looked up and sprung a fantastic long pass as Agudelo fought off Leo Gonzalez and broke away towards goal. As soon as he was one-on-one with Kasey Keller, Agudelo took the shot off the outside of his right boot and curled it inside the far post for his first career MLS and New York Red Bulls goal. Red Bull Arena exploded. “It feels good.” said Agudelo.” I know people have been saying, have been waiting for me to get that MLS goal and it’s great to do it at the opener.” Not counting the goal he scored in the friendly at Guadalajara during the pre-season, it has been just two days after five whole months from his first USA goal at South Africa on November 17 ’til Saturday night against the Seattle Sounders.

The victory came with a good performance in net by Greg Sutton as he has been working hard all pre-season to get fit and ready just in case Bouna Coundoul couldn’t go. There were some shaky moments as the long shots gave him trouble, but a key save came in the second minute of second half stoppage time. Fred Montero smacked a free kick which resulted in a two handed save from Sutton, but the rebound reached Roger Levesque who shot it high over the crossbar. When it was all said and done, Sutton looked strong in net and got the job done. “He had some key saves in the first half” said head coach Hans Backe. “With a tricky guy like Montero, he’s definitely a player who can make a difference, I think he saved two or three from Montero.”

Earlier in the match the Red Bulls had a chance to go up early in the 9th minute when Agudelo got fouled on a run in the Sounders area. Thierry Henry took the penalty. As he started to make a run and struck it low towards the inside of the near post, Kasey Keller made a great save to his right and got a paw on the ball.

For the Seattle Sounders this is the second match within a week that they have allowed a goal and I don’t believe it is a time for them to panic. I’m not sure how the supporters are feeling right now seeing their side with two losses already on the ledger for this season. “We have to move on” said head coach Sigi Schmid. “The league gave us a tough schedule to begin the season with. It’s a punishment for having good crowds. You know that’s why we end up playing the opener and we have to go again on the road. It would have been nice to only play one game, but it is what it is and we know we are a better team.”

For the Red Bulls they travel to Columbus and lose five players during the international friendly matches while Agudelo and Tim Ream stay with the US national team. Dane Richards goes to Jamaica, Rafa Marquez to Mexico and Bouna Coundoul goes to Senegal, but we shall see how the club will do when they get to next Saturday.

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  1. Henry

    March 24, 2011 at 2:49 pm

    I’ve been working over in the Ironbound District not too far from the stadium for the past few months. The community there is amazing. Mainly Brazilians with a bunch of Argentinians, Colombians, Ecuadorians, Guatemalans, etc. From the sports bars to the restaurants to the sneaker shops, everything around there is soccer and nothing else. It was a real eye-opener. With a good run into the play-offs and some more media attention, I think there is enough futbol-madness in the area surrounding the stadium to pack it even without a big NYC contingent.

  2. Charles

    March 21, 2011 at 2:43 pm


    In my pickup game of the players that played in the game on Saturday….I have him going 5th…and Zakuani didn’t play. I don’t think that any of them win the MVP either.

    I fully realize that Henry isn’t that far off his prime and I fully realize that he is a good player. I just think that MLS is that good.

    I am in the minority..but I am right.

  3. Charles

    March 21, 2011 at 12:04 pm


    You can’t still be thinking MVP for Henry ?

    There is no way 1) that you can think that 2) that it is going to happen
    He is a good MLS player. Very solid, not to be displaced type starter.

    As far as the attendance, I care in so much as I need the league to succeed. 1983 still hurts. IF idiots can’t figure out that Sounders-Red Bulls was a must see game that didn’t disappoint anyone……well they are idiots.

    • Daniel Feuerstein

      March 21, 2011 at 1:43 pm

      At the moment Charles it’s only one game. But if Agudelo continues this fantastic performance from Saturday, I can change my mind.

      Honestly I’m getting tired about the attendance issue. First of all there were long lines at the Red Bulls Pub and everytime I looked up there were people still walking around the concourse. I admit the corners on the near side were empty, but the crowd and atmosphere was fantastic.

      It was a must see game. But not just at Red Bull Arena, all over Canada and the USA. Fantastic first week all around. Most of the people living in NYC are not coming because they rather watch the Euro leagues and ignore MLS. None of them want to give it any respect because the product on the field keeps on improving and they keep ignoring it.

      Look at Juan Agudelo. A highly touted academy player who was at the time not ready for the big stage, but RBNY saw something in him that said sign him up and wait for the improvement. Last years U-20 Milk Cup tourney saw the US win and RBNY saw him become a major player.

      That’s the reason why RBNY gave up on Juan Pablo Angel. They thought he was ready and if seeing Agudelo get his first US Goal, forcing to get fouled in the area to set up Bunbury’s Penalty & how he finished on Seattle shows why this league is improving. Ream & Gonzalez is the future of central defenders for the USA, now Agudelo is paying dividends right now & if these Euro snobs are going to continue and ignore this league, honestly Charles we don’t need them.

      • Charles

        March 21, 2011 at 2:38 pm


        It was one thing, when I was watching the NASL teams and the attendance was announced at 8k, and you knew it was a LOT lower.
        Is the league going to survive ? No was the answer eventually.

        Quite a bit different right now. Let’s say that nothing gets better…..TV ratings, attendance, jersey sales…nothing
        One of the best teams, with a huge chance of winning CCL, are in very tight competition to win it all against some teams, with great games against the whole league.
        Maybe I am wrong and the while league folds, doubtful, so that is the downside ? Sounds great.

      • Lysander

        March 21, 2011 at 4:01 pm

        You are really argueing that everyone was just up getting a beer? If that is the case then they need to get more servers. Or maybe do what other stadiums do and have guys go up and down the aisle selling beers to you where you do not have to leave your seat!

        Come on… all stadiums have people getting up for beers, hot dogs, restrooms etc… when the staidum is truly full it does not matter that some are up doing other things, the stadium still looks full. I could make out the red bulls logo on the seats there were so many people not there. I am not saying the atmosphere was not great. I am sure it was. But the stadium was not sold out.

      • Charles

        March 24, 2011 at 3:35 pm

        Henry injured. Hamstring, but a guy his age should be over that…..never.

        I should be PAID for my comments I am so spot on……
        ……either that our I jinxed him when I said that was a huge risk to his MVP chances ( that I didn’t think even existed if he was healthy )

  4. Clampdown

    March 21, 2011 at 9:58 am

    As for the match, I thought Agudelo looked fantastic. Great goal, great runs, great movement off the ball. Tainio was excellent. Henry was good, but still not the greatness I expected. Rafa and Ream looked a bit shaky at times and look like they will occasionally get beaten by pace. Dan Richards, unfortunately, looked a bit like the old Dane Richards, not looking up and making poor decisions with the ball.

    Seattle fouls a lot.

    • Charles

      March 21, 2011 at 12:10 pm

      Agudelo was great. People need to quit referring to Henry and Marquez whenever they mention the RedBulls.

      Ream and Agudelo are much better choices….

      The next step in the league will be in a few years when Dane Richards/ Nyassi etc make the team because they are fast instead of making the playing field.

  5. Clampdown

    March 21, 2011 at 9:54 am

    I really hate having to address this issue every single week. But, no they don’t draw as well as they should. I go to most of the matches, and I’d say though there were about 21K tickets sold, there were probably 18-19K at the stadium. Yeah, it was cold. So what? It is annoying more people don’t show.

    Opening a new stadium and signing Henry were not magically going to turn people in the NY area into Red Bulls fans. For some odd reason, the club has done very little advertising this year. And it’s sad that while watching soccer in the bar this weekend many people who follow clubs overseas didn’t even know it was MLS opening weekend. I heard a lot of “Oh, I’ll have to make it out there for a match this season.” I advocate as much as I can for the league and for Red Bulls, but the truth is many think the league is as bad as it was 10 years ago. If you sat through some of those MLS matches, you would understand why. I’m not excusing people’s lack of interest and ignorance, it’s just a fact.

    Finally, I hate to bring this up again, because people who don’t live in NY never understand. A lot of folks who live in Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island, etc. are never going to embrace the Red Bulls. They feel no connection to the team, and they aren’t going to make the hour an a half effort to get out to Harrison and even longer to get back (because the supposed renovation of the Harrison Path station, which is far too small to handle the crowds, looks like it is never going to be done), just isn’t worth it.

    You may scoff at the idea of a second team in NY, but it is going to happen. If they get a stadium built for the Cosmos in NY (Queens, Brooklyn, Manhattan, or The Bronx), that time will draw 30K a match. There is n o doubt in my mind about that.

    • Lysander

      March 21, 2011 at 12:38 pm

      I have lived in NY and I worked with many people from Brooklyn, Queens, and Long Island. They all embraced the two NFL teams that played in a swamp in NJ. They did nto embrace the NY redbulls/metrostars. And I believe what you are saying…they probably never will. My guess however is they probably will not support one that plays in brooklyn, or queens or the bronx either. Most soccer fans supported their national team (not the US but the nation their family came from) and maybe some local clubs from S. America or Europe. If the MLS wants to try making NYC more interested and are convinced that the NJ redbulls can not do it, then why did they build a new stadium for the red bulls? Why not move that team to where people will go?

      even if you take the 20K as true, that is a horrible draw for a metro area the size of the NY.

      • Clampdown

        March 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

        Don’t take the disconnect between the Red Bulls and local soccer fans in NY as evidence that people here wouldn’t support a team. I can’t believe that anyone who has lived here could say that.

        People here talk about soccer a lot. The sport is on in most bars across the city now, and more and more people watch it. They just don’t follow the Red Bulls, or MLS for that matter. And that’s a league problem.

        Funny enough, I don’t know a single person that has season tickets to the Giants or Jets, yet they sell out all their games. They have most of their draw from the tri-state suburbs and, as I pointed out, their fan bases built up over decades. Did you know the Giants and Jets used to play in NYC for years before moving to the swamp? The Giants even did a season at Yale Bowl in Connecticut. This is why they have such widespread support. You can’t possibly expect that from the Red Bulls any time in the near future.

        I also can’t completely agree with your last point about attendance, specifically because you believe that Red Bulls should automatically pull from the whole metro area. They haven’t and never will. The key for Red Bulls management now is to try to get New Jersey to embrace their club. They decided to build the stadium there, it is crucial they draw in the Jersey fans.

        Also, I wish people would stop viewing attendance in terms of what Seattle draws. Seattle is an anomaly … and excellent one for the league and they should be applauded for building such a following so quickly. However, there are two points to consider there: first, their only competition for sports is the Mariners and Seahawks. No top-level hockey or basketball. Second, if Seattle has a few seasons where they are poor, will they retain that fan base? We don’t know that yet.

        Finally, I don’t know how old you are Lysander, but don’t underestimate the brand of the Cosmos and the loyalty felt by plenty of people in NYC to that team, even though it has been dormant for 27 years.

        • Lysander

          March 21, 2011 at 3:57 pm

          I understand alot of people like soccer and follow the sport. I saw it when I was there, but as you said, the problem is the league and the red bulls. People there do not care about MLS. So why throw another team there?

          And I am not comparing them specifically to seattle although that I where I live and know best. What I am comparing is metro area size. NY dwarfs pretty much all cities and should be able to do much better in ticket sales if the area was truly interested in MLS but it just appears it is not.

  6. Evan K.

    March 21, 2011 at 9:41 am

    The Red Bulls still had the 4th highest attendance in the league last year, even with an “empty” stadium. It is actually very hard to get people from NY to travel to NJ for the game.

    I think two things will need to happen. One: Once the Red Bulls start winning, more people will show up. Everyone has to remember, the RB were horrible for the past couple years (minus last). Two: They need to market better IN NYC. I barely see any Red Bull Advertisement. I bet you some people don’t even know NY has a MLS team.

  7. anime_anarchist

    March 20, 2011 at 10:40 pm

    I’m a Sounders fan and I’ll tell you how I feel (since you asked, sort of). Although it’s tough to watch my team go down twice in one week, I’m not too worried. We’ve got a great team with some real quality players, and we’ve been very good in both matches. Our finishing is suspect, and we lose our heads when the opposition scores. But I’m confident we can work through this.

    • Joe

      March 21, 2011 at 7:18 am

      I’d be a little concerned about Montero. To me he looks a little tentative with his touch. It could just be offseason rust, but there might be something more going on there.

      • Robert

        March 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

        Montero is the most over-rated player in MLS. Time to find someone who can put the ball in net rather than someone who is more concerend with their flashy haircut and boots.

        • Charles

          March 21, 2011 at 11:59 am

          I sort of agree with you, but when he is on, he is one of the best in MLS…his numbers show it.

          He seems VERY slow in deciding what to do and not big enough to wait in a physical league.

        • acj

          March 22, 2011 at 10:01 pm

          Claiming someone is “overrated” is hard to argue against since you can just say that people think he’s a god, but I’ll try anyway.

          22 goals and 8 assists in his first two years puts him in the top 8 goal scorers and the top 15 for assists in the league. He’s relatively young(24) so he could easily keep getting better.

          • acj

            March 22, 2011 at 10:25 pm

            the Opta stat folks just tweeted this as well:


            8 – @soundersfc forward @Goleador17 had 4 shots vs NY and assisted four attempts on goal, so was involved in 80% of Seattle’s shots.Creator

  8. Sancho

    March 20, 2011 at 9:15 pm

    Official attendance: 20,982 (84%)
    It was really that bad?

    • Joe

      March 20, 2011 at 9:51 pm

      Like I said, the lower bowl was pretty full (not sure what TV showed, but there were plenty of people around me). But I saw the entire upper bowl corner was empty. I guess it’s possible that in a 25,000 seat stadium, 4,000 empty seats might feel like a lot if most of them were concentrated in a few locations.

      • lysander

        March 21, 2011 at 9:42 am

        It did not look good. Enough people were missing to see the pattern in the seats.

  9. Lysander

    March 20, 2011 at 6:26 pm

    First of all… Congrats to NY. That was a great game and some of the better possession i have seen in MLS as of late. Secondly… Agudelo looks to be awesome. I am going to enjoy watching him develop.

    But now the criticism… How the hell can that stadium be so empty? the seats you could see on tv looked at best half full. I can only imagine it was worse as you went up.

    Somehow over the off season I allowed myself to think that a second NY club would not be so bad. I must have forgotten how poorly NY supports the club they have. I was quickly reminded that the 20th team better not be in NY. If it is I am only left to assume Garber is either an idiot or a corrupt asshole. There is no way an honest assessment would ever give that city another team till they can fill their first stadium.

    • Paul

      March 20, 2011 at 8:56 pm

      Fans in NJ are pretty bad. When the Devils were constantly making Stanley Cup runs or when the Jason Kidd era Nets were doing work in the Eastern Conference, no one showed up to their games either. You cannot confuse fan support in NY with fan support in NJ. A NY team will work but it has to actually be in NY. I don’t know Don Garber but there are alot of nuances regarding this region that you have to understand before you start call someone an “idiot” or a “corrupt asshole”.

      • Joe

        March 20, 2011 at 9:04 pm

        Also your excuse about NJ fans being bad significantly ignores the two biggest draws in the tri-state area – Giants and Jets.

        • Clampdown

          March 21, 2011 at 10:01 am


          people make that argument all the time. But the Jets and Giants play only 8 home games a season in the most popular sport in America. They also have decades of history and building fan bases. Apples and oranges.

      • Lysander

        March 21, 2011 at 1:45 am

        I lived in the city for 3.5years. I saw the passion the people there can have for sports. They make it out to jets and giants games. If they really like the sport, they would be out there. They have one of the best teams and stadiums in the league and it is not far to get to. They instead come up with the excuse that they do not want to go to NJ.

        I hate going into seattle yet I drive in to see my team many times a season as do many others. Rather than making excuses, we buy tickets. In NY/NJ they are not.

    • Joe

      March 20, 2011 at 9:03 pm

      As someone who was there and will be there for every game this year, all I can say is I’m hoping the numbers go up as the weather improves and the Red Bulls start to pile up some wins. The stadium seemed pretty full down on the 100 level, but there were entirely empty sections in the upper bowl.

  10. dan

    March 20, 2011 at 4:40 pm

    “The league gave us a tough schedule to begin the season with. It’s a punishment for having good crowds. You know that’s why we end up playing the opener and we have to go again on the road. It would have been nice to only play one game, but it is what it is and we know we are a better team.”

    This is exactly why Schmidd is a stupid idiot. I hate that guy. I’m sorry but Seattle was not the better team or they would have won a-hole. And you did not get tough schedule for having good crowds, perhaps for LA but NY had nothing to do with ur fans.

    You want a better team Seattle? Fire Sigi

    • Charles

      March 21, 2011 at 11:57 am

      I don’t like Sigi, I think he cost us playoff victories against LA last year.

      But he WASN’T saying the Sounders were better than the Red Bulls ( that was a very close game, btw ), he was saying they are better than zero goals in two games and a Zero-Two start.

  11. Alan

    March 20, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    I watched all the games last night and NY/Seattle was one of the best. New York is going to be team to watch and Agudelo is living up to the expectations that people have for him. He just needs to keep it up.

    • anime_anarchit

      March 20, 2011 at 10:32 pm

      Agudelo was really dangerous. I hate that he scored against my beloved Sounders, but man, what a beautiful goal! He made Hurtado look like a wheezing old man. Almost as sweet as Sapong’s strike! Definitely a player to watch.

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