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Monday, August 3, 2015

Red Bulls earn revenge at the Union

Photo by Jason Schott
 
The Red Bulls had enough of losing these last two games including the US Open Cup Quarterfinals against the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena as they had the majority of the statistics for them except for the scoreboard as the Union absorbed all the offensive pressure from the Red Bulls and hit them on the counter. A 2-0 loss in league play and then a late 2nd half stoppage time goal by Lloyd Sam to force extra time and then head for penalties as the Union edged the team from Harrison.
 
But this time the scene shifts to PPL Park in Chester, Pennsylvania as the Red Bulls were looking for revenge and got it with  3-1 win to pull one back in this series and all the action came in the second half and it all got started by the other brother Shaun Wright-Phillips as he subbed in for Sam in the 61st minute and everything fell into place.
 
Shaun earned a penalty in the Philadelphia area in the 65th minute and many thought it would be his brother Bradley to take the spot kick, but this time it was Sacha Kljestan who would take a turn and he smashed it down the middle in the 66th minute and finally the Red Bulls take a lead against their opponents down I-95. Even though Sebastien LeToux scored a monster equalizer in the 73rd minute, it would be the Wright-Phillips brothers that would team up for the go ahead goal one minute later.
 
A quick ball from the MLS All-Star Dax McCarty goes right to Shaun who makes Raymond Gaddis look silly as he danced and made some quick moves on the Union Right Back. Then a quick pass to brother Bradley and all he had to do was deflect and direct the ball past keeper John McCarthy for the lead again. This is why you hoped when Ali Curtis was going to sign some help during the Summer transfer window and a former Premier League player like Shaun Wright-Phillips accidentally landed in their laps and already has made dividends.
 
But the final nail in the Union's coffin came in second half stoppage time as the young Cameroonian striker Anatole Abang was on a break with Kljestan. A solid pass on a counter and as soon as Abang gets close to the area and sees McCarthy well off his line, it's a solid shot that gives Abang his fourth of the season and five in all competitions. With this big road win for the Red Bulls, it pushed them back to second place as the Columbus Crew lost to Orlando City in league play.
 
Unfortunately the Red Bulls will be without their centerback Damian Perrinelle again on a one game suspension in Montreal during mid-week as he got booked in the 51st minute and this time I will say that his foul on C.J. Sapong was a booking as many this season wasn't. So the hope is to have Ronald Zubar available or Karl Ouimette next to Matt Miazga on that backline.
 
But right now the club is about to make a trip to Que`bec province and take on the Montreal Impact who just received former Chelsea striker and former Ivory Coast international Didier Drogba as they will try to make a surge to the top side of the playoff line and get back into the Eastern Conference playoff race if it's not too late.
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Friday, July 31, 2015

Sheldon Richardson's troubles just doubled

He apologized for getting caught smoking recreational pot as the NFL suspended Sheldon Richardson for four games which means he's not going to London for the road trip against the Dolphins. He apologized to his teammates, coaches and the fans that he will do better and not make this same mistake again. Well it's unfortunate for Richardson as he just raised the bar to another level of stupidity as reports were slowly coming in that he was arrested for drag racing and had a minor along for he ride.

Richardson was driving over 140 MPH and being chased by the local police in Missouri while having a family member and a 12 year old in the car and the worst of it is that the Jets never knew about it till the story was broken late Thursday night on July 30th. For the new Bowels/McCagnan era of the New York Jets this is currently the only negative the Jets have been facing till we get to the Mohamed Wilkerson contract situation.

Right now Todd Bowles is not happy and I don't blame him, as there was a promise from Richardson that these shenanigans will never happen again and sadly it has. What Sheldon doesn't understand is that when you become a high priced athlete and a big defensive player that is considered to be on one of the best front sevens in the NFL, you will become a liability and acting immature will get you off the team very quickly.

He promised his teammates that he takes full responsibility for his actions and it won't happen again, but sadly it happened again.and while he will miss the first four gams of the season due to marijuana, I wouldn't be surprised if the NFL will suspend him for the rest of the 2015 season and that means high profiled 2015 first round draft pick Leonard Williams should get as many reps as possible and replacing Richardson as a starter, because the truth is will the Jets keep him now or release him because it sounds like none of the other teams will touch him with a ten foot pole.

If Richardson does get cut that means whatever amount of money he is owed should go right to Wilkerson and a brand new contract as you would kill two birds with one stone. I wish it would be that simple and I'm personally disappointed at how Richardson has quickly self destructed after he was drafted two years ago. Maybe he should've gone to OTA's and avoided all these issues before training camp got underway. Sadly all these positive moves made by the Jets have all gone away as Richardson's immaturity has ruined this great offseason.
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Thursday, July 30, 2015

Red Bulls looking for some revenge in Philadelphia

Photo by New York Red Bulls .com
 
The months of June & July are all over for the New York Red Bulls as their full squad will be ready for the rest of the regular season while Dax McCarty will be flying back from the All-Star game and both the Copa America & the Gold Cup are all over. Ronald Zubar returned from France and got his full workout at training, so it looks like Marsch will be able to mix and match with who he needs these last few months of the season.

But right now their next game on the road is against the Philadelphia Union as their rivals down I-95 have taken the first two games of the season and one of those matchups was in the US Open Cup Quarterfinals. Statistically the Red Bulls have created plenty of chances and dominated most of the categories, but unfortunately the scoreboard is the only stat that has gone against the Red Bulls has been the scoreboard.

But the players and Jesse Marsch know this and they are determined to try and get a big victory on the road to a difficult place in PPL Park in Chester. Lloyd Sam felt that their performances against Philly haven't been up to par.
 
"I blame us more than anything. The first game at home we hit the post twice and we had most of the game and they countered us, that's what they do, they counter very well. The same thing happened in the Open Cup game, we played well but they countered us down 10 men and we messed up on that one, so we are looking to steal a result down there."

Sean Davis has been having a very exciting season for himself as he went very quickly from the USL Bulls to the senior side and of course we have to mention the brace he scored on the defending English Premier League Champions Chelsea. "I don't really think about that anymore, everything has been happening so quickly. I have already moved on from that and want to help the team right now."

So if that's true what does he think the club needs to do against the Union now that the game is going down to Philadelphia and face the Union. "We just need to be better in both boxes and be a bit more sharper, our luck will turn a bit and we need to be a bit more ruthless in the box with our chances. If we can do that then we can get the result we need."

As of right now the Red Bulls are having a solid season in league play and while it was a difficult result against the Union in the US Open Cup Quarterfinals as well as losing to the Union in the first league game this season which both were at Red Bull Arena, the club is looking to get a big win on the road and hopefully erase this little bump during a solid season this club is having at the moment.

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Monday, July 27, 2015

Red Bulls Sign Shaun Wright-Phillips to a deal


Photo by Think Football.co.uk
 
All they said was that Shaun Wright-Phillips was coming over for training and that was it. All they said was that he is visiting his brother Bradley and wanted to stay fit for the upcoming Premier League season and hoped to get signed by a Premier League club. Well after all those training sessions at Hanover it looks like Shaun Wright-Phillips will be staying with the Red Bulls as he signed  deal that will get him ready to go against the Philadelphia Union at PPL Park this coming Saturday.
 
He had two stints with Manchester City from 1999 thru 2005 and came back in 2008 thru 2011 scoring 36 goals in 218 appearances in between a time with Chelsea from 2005 thru 2008 with four goals in 81 appearances and his last club in the Premier League was with London based Queens Park Rangers from 2011 thru 2015 with one goal in 67 appearances and let's not forget his time with the English National Team as he scored 6 goals while wearing the white shirt 36 times for his country.
 
And right now the 33 year old has joined his younger brother Bradly who will come in and help the attack which at the moment has looked good with the starting eleven currently, but the fans were expecting some signings by Sporting Director Ali Curtis and the rumors were flying around that help is on it's way. I honestly don't think Shaun Wright-Phillips was one of those rumors coming in as it looks like it fell into their laps, but it doesn't hurt to have the other son of Ian Wright joining the side.
 
It looks like SWP will be starting his Red Bulls campaign by coming off the substitutes bench, but we shall see if Jesse Marsch has other ideas and plans to use SWP right away and give a few of the starters a break as there will be a trip to Montreal after going to PPL Park this coming Saturday.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Red Bulls Ousted in Penalties against 10 men Union in Open Cup Quarters


Photo by Fast Philly Sports .com
 
 
After a good road performance for the Red Bulls down in Orlando during league play it was a quick transition to Open Cup play against the Philadelphia Union and the Red Bulls wanted some revenge after their first loss at home against this Union side. Last time these two sides met in May the Red Bulls had tons of chances and couldn't convert in the first half which led the Union to counter and put two past Luis Robles.
 
This match had the same feeling again as the Red Bulls poured on chance, after chance, after chance to get that opening goal and couldn't convert. Conor Casey would see himself sent off in the 40th minute as he fouled Connor Lade at the far side of the field and the Union went down to ten men the rest of the way. That seemed to be the way the Union wanted to play as they were without C.J. Sapong as he was sent off in their 5th round match against DC United.
 
Eric Ayuk converted on a counter in the 56th minute to give the Union the lead as the Red Bulls seemed to have taken their foot off the gas a bit, but while they were in a good position to recover it was Vincent Nogueira who beat the defenders down the left side and made a fantastic cross to Ayuk who wasn't marked.
 
But the Red Bulls at the death found some life inside five minutes of second half stoppage time as Lloyd Sam converted his second of the tournament and third all time as a member of the Red Bulls. It was a header cross from Mike Grella who found Sam inside the area & as he chested the ball down, it was a quick spin and shoot for the equalizer that finally beat John McCarthy.
 
After an extra thirty minutes of attacking soccer it was time for the penalty shootout and McCarthy was able to play some mind games on Bradley Wright-Phillips as he shot it off the crossbar & just stopped Sam's attempt to his left while the Union were able to put away four of their five attempts to advance to the Semi-Finals for the second consecutive season and they will await for either the four time Open Cup champions Chicago Fire or Orlando City.
 
Give goalkeeper John McCarthy a lot of credit once again for the Union in this Open Cup run of his as he made some solid saves in his positioning and while the Union are not having a great league season they are making a big run once again towards the US Open Cup Final. But for the Red Bulls who played their hearts out and showed that this competition does have plenty of meaning for them and for their manager in Jesse Marsch, I expect them to have another big run next season and the players were gutted after going 120 minutes and falling in the shootout while being up a man for about 90 minutes.
 
This is the second time the club has played in the Penalty shootout and lost after winning a shootout in Columbus against the Crew back in the 2000 Quarterfinals as Mike Petke's penalty won it after Mike Lapper skied his chance over the crossbar an Tim Howard was in goal. All time the Red Bulls are 4-4 in the Quarterfinals after this match, but if there are those who still think this club still doesn't care about the US Open Cup, after that heartfelt match it's time to say that they do care about it now.
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Saturday, July 18, 2015

Red Bulls defeats 10 men Orlando City


Photo by Pro Soccer talk
 
This was the start of a quick two to three match week that we will see the Red Bulls try to earn a victory in the league at Orlando as well as advancing to the next round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup within a short period of time. But first things first it was a trip to the Magic Kingdom or at least the theme park capital of the world in Orlando, Florida as the Red Bulls tried to get a big victory on the road against a very tough Orlando City side that has plenty of fast players that work well with Adrian Heath's tactics.
 
But the Red Bulls were able to put a big clamp on the hosts for a huge two goal to nil victory and reclaim 2nd place in the Eastern Conference. It got started in the 21st minute when Mike Grella tracked the ball towards the far touch line and saved it from losing possession. A quick pass back to Felipe who moved a bit forward and laid off the ball to Sacha Kljestan. Then Kljestan got near the Orlando City area and smacked a rising shot that hit the back of the net and inside the near upper 90 for the early lead.
 
The second tally for the Red Bulls sealed the full three points inside second half stoppage time as Mike Grella hammers home the final nail in the coffin on Orlando City. It was a quick passing display between him and Winter Haven local Dax McCarty, fought off two defenders then beating Tally Hall to the far post for his 5th of the season. The Glen Cove native continues to show his solid form and beginning to show why he is the reason the Red Bulls took a chance on him and he is repaying that faith very well.
 
But watching what Orlando City has done so far they have a very explosive set of players in their starting lineup and how they use their 4-5-1 from Heath is very impressive, seeing Canadian attacker Kyle Larin putting himself into dangerous positions on the field to attack and set up shots is very impressive, but he was sent off in the 32nd minute for a hard challenge that showed studs were up. But on replay the right boot of Larin never made contact and 4th official Ted Unkle helped referee Fotis Bazakos pull out the Red Card.
 
Many other calls were questionable in this match including a goal by Damian Perrinelle that was wiped out several minutes later as he headed the ball past Tally Hall, but got wiped out because of another foul call that wasn't there. Claim of a foul on the back of Aurelian Collin that was false and once again a phantom call seems to have caught Perrinelle once again. Adrian Heath was sent off in the 74th minute as he was very upset with how this match was being officiated.
 
But for the Red Bulls it was a big three points on the road at the Citrus Bowl as over 33,000 fans came to root for the hosts and the a good number of South Ward supporters came to see their side go home happy with the win. Now a quick two day rest as the Red Bulls get ready for their rivals in the Philadelphia Union as they host their Quarterfinal match in the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Red Bulls taking a magical journey to face Orlando City

Photo by Disney.go.com
 
When you look at the current standings in the Eastern Conference you can see that the playoff spots are starting to tighten up and every single match is getting more important every single week. But after playing NYCFC twice this season as the Red Bulls defeated one expansion side to earn three points, now comes the other expansion side that resides in the vacation kingdom of the world in Orlando, Florida as the Red Bulls will take on Orlando City at the Citrus Bowl this Saturday.
 
Normally when you think expansion sides or first time teams coming to play, you automatically think that this will be a piece of cake and the win will be an easy one, but not so in MLS as Orlando City have been competitive and fighting for points from start to finish. Some might have forgotten that Orlando City use to play in the USL league and won several championships before making their financial promotion to MLS.
 
Adrian Heath who manages this side along with owner Phil Rawlins have made great strides from their first match of this clubs existence in Orlando before they moved the club as the original Austin Aztex who now have their own side back in the USL league this season going up from the PDL. Kaka was a solid move to have him play to start the 2015 season and since this club has been playing in the USL and now in the refurbished Citrus Bowl as a temporary home till their new stadium is finished being built, the people of Orlando have been supporting there club and it shows in their attendance record.
 
So how will the Red Bulls try to take on this big challenge since these days you can't call Orlando City an true expansion team since the have been competitive from their true existence that started in the USL. "It's a very good team and as an expansion team they have done really well." said head coach Jesse Marsch, "I have a lot of respect for what they accomplished so far and I know how hard that is. The big key for them is Kaka as he has meant a lot for them at the start and how he has already bought into the system they are trying to run."

"(Kaka) has been fun to watch as he keeps getting some good passes from the backline and then he vision is incredible. He can dribble the ball on you, set pieces, or just fire balls from anywhere on the field, so it's going to be a full team effort to try and stop him on the field."

But Lloyd Sam knows about taking on sides that were promoted for the first time when he played back in England against sides that have reached the next level in English football. "It's difficult to face a new team because you don't know what to expect, but looking at the table, they have done alright for themselves. It's just like any away game in this league, you know it's going to be tough so it's hard to know what to expect but you got to do your best."

But the one player who is excited to head back down to his backyard so to speak is Captain Dax McCarty as he is a Winter Haven, Florida native and not far away from Downtown Orlando it's self. We've seen that special video of him during the offseason hanging out at his parents house and driving around the area, it should be a special time for him to soak up all that atmosphere as a Central Florida native.

"Not sure how many friends and family are coming over but I know all my friends are Orlando City Season ticket holders. 50 people are coming over & it definitely means a lot to me as the soccer presence was non existent since the Mutiny and the Fusion left. What Orlando City has done in MLS now and in USL Pro then it gave them plenty of success and I was blown away for the amount of fan support they have gotten. I will take a moment to take in the atmosphere and cherish what has happened here."

Being born and living inside the NYC tri-state area I have always been proud representing this area and calling it my true home, but to be honest Orlando has always been a second home to me as I have visited the city many times and as a fan of Disney movies & cartoon as well as visiting Walt Disney World many times in my young to adult life, I have made several friends and have family that lives not to far away from the theme parks.

While I am very happy and excited for the city of Orlando that has not only embraced the game, but they have also showed that they want to excel in the league and earn a trophy one day. But once again we shall see what will happen at the Citrus Bowl and see if these two sides will make a match out of it.
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Saturday, July 11, 2015

Red Bulls Demolish Super Slumping Revolution

Brad Penner of USA Today
 
 
After going four and two in that six game stretch for the Red Bulls, thankfully they were able to recharge their batteries and get themselves ready for this big I-95 match up against their other big rivals from Boston in the New England Revolution, but there would be one glaring omission from the game as Jesse Marsch was informed late in the afternoon that he was suspended by the MLS Disciplineary Committee because he was sent off by referee Juan Guzman at Columbus. That vital piece of information was late and the media was informed about two hours before the match began.
 
So what are the Red Bulls going to do about it? A three goal destruction within the first twelve minutes of the game and it made the New England Revolution look silly and making them look at themselves as their start of the match just fell into pieces. Jay Heaps was screaming all night inside his technical area as it all went horribly wrong for him and his squad.
 
The first goal of the match came in the 4th minute as Lloyd Sam was allowed to walk towards the end line on the far side and had so much room that he flicked the ball across the area and Bradley Wright-Phillips headed in his first of the night and 7th of the season. In fact that goal was a mirror image of the goal he scored against NYCFC at Red Bull Arena on May 10th.
 
So after Sam helps on a goal he decides to score one 6 minutes later as he would slot the ball past Bob Shuttleworth with some great passing by Wright-Phillips & Mike Grella to make it 2-0 Red Bulls & then Wright-Phillips would convert his 2nd of the night and eighth of the season in the twelfth minute to make this start special. 
What a fantastic pass from Dax McCarty as he quickly served a fantastic ball that put Wright-Phillips into a perfect position inside the Revolution area. He not only beat his defender, but he caught Shuttleworth off his line and as he saw that,Wright-Phillips shot the ball in front of the keeper and inside the far post.
 
At the moment the depth of the backline is a bit thin, Centerback Karl Ouimette is with Canada, Kemar Lawrence is with Jamaica & Roy Miller is with Costa Rica at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, so who do the Red Bulls need to help plug some holes? Why none other than Anthony Wallace who plays right back and he was able to get on the score sheet.
  
Several months earlier he scored the game winner for the USL Red Bulls 2 side as they were tied at two with the Pittsburgh Riverhounds ad when the 90th minute struck at Red Bull Arena, the Brooklyn native ripped a match winner from the far corner outside of the area at Red Bull Arena and splashed it inside near post for a big match winner. 
 
In the 56th minute McCarty would earn his second assist of the match as he laid off a rebound ball to Wallace and from 25 yards away lashed at it and took a deflection of Jose Goncalves and rolled innocently past Shuttleworth's right side replenishing the three goal lead and for the first time this season, the Red Bulls have scored four goals in one match.
 
Denis Hamlett who was the interim manager for the night ran the ship as Jesse Marsch was in a suite at Red Bull Arena watching the game helplessly, but after the first fifthteen minutes of the match I think he was able to relax and enjoy the rest of the night. But for Hamlett this was his first win since his time as Head Coach of the Chicago Fire for two seasons from 2008 to 2009.
 
"I thought our guys came out on the right mindset from the get go, they were aggressive and on attack mode." Said Hamlett, "The first 15 minutes were probably the best played all year, weathered the storm in the second half, got a goal and finished the game well with three points under our belts." 
 
And now they will turn their attentions to expansion side Orlando City as they travel to the Magic Kingdom and come back to face the Philadelphia Union as the Red Bulls host their US Open Cup Quarterfinals match three days later.
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Thursday, July 9, 2015

Red Bulls readying themselves for Revolution Clash

Photo by Matthew Kremkau 

It was a long stretch of games for the New York Red Bulls that had to feel satisfying for them as they went 4-2 including two wins in the US Open Cup that included defeating the New York Cosmos and their new local MLS Rivals NYCFC in league play. But very soon after this entire week of rest and training that will be soon under their belt, the Red Bulls will take on a New England Revolution team that has been slumping since Jermaine Jones went down with a sports hernia injury on June 12th.
 
"We need to respect them and always know that they will be up for this game against us." Said Dax McCarty, "It's a rivalry game, it's a team we've played against a bunch in the past. They always let us know they are in the game, when we went to Gillette Stadium earlier in the year they bullied us a bit with their physicality and it got to us and we got frustrated by it. We weren't in the game earlier enough and we need to make sure we have to match their physical presence and be ready for them." 

But the matter at hand in this game against the Revolution is one single point. That's what separates these two sides at the moment in the standings as the Revs have 24 points while the Red Bulls have 23 and while this will be a hotly contested game for both sides  
"It's never an easy game against the Revolution, they will try o hit you on the counter whenever they have the ball" Said McCarty, "facing players like (Teal) Bunbury, (Juan) Agudelo & (Charlie) Davies will be a challenge for us as they are great players. These guys are physically gifted and scored a great goal against us in the playoffs last year and scored a great goal against us this season. We need to make sure that we have guys covering for each other if one gets by, someone needs to back that teammate up. They relish a physical challenge against defenders and as a defensive midfielder you need to help out your backline."
  
"Jermaine has been an impact player for the Revs and now that he isn't there with injury it's looked drastically different" Said head coach Jesse Marsch, "But what's more important is that they still have dangerous attacking players, very physical in the attacking third, they cause a lot of fouls and a lot of strong attacking runs, our guys need to be ready for this challenge that's coming up. When you play against them they deliver a lot of crosses and they move up Bunbury & (Chris) Tierney to get at the end of them." 

So once again another rivalry game going up and down the I-95 Corridor as the Red Bulls and the Revolution will head on over to Red Bull Arena this coming Saturday and we shall see who will either leapfrog or put some distance on one another. All I know is that another Boston Vs. New York Rivalry is back on the sports calendar.
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