Tactical Changes Help Spark Offense to Four Goal Outburst
The New York Red Bulls finally found their winning ways this week with a 4-1 victory in the home opener. The Red Bulls managed just one goal in their first two matches, but piled on four in their return to Red Bull Arena on Sunday against the West-leading Colorado Rapids. The win featured great possession time and defensive physicality by New York, as well as a couple timely saves by the rookie keeper from Fordham and man of the match Ryan Meara. Thierry Henry scored two goals and added a helper, while Kenny Cooper tallied two goals of his own.
Also impressive were the immediate impact of lineup changes made for the season’s third game. Kenny Cooper got the call to play with Theirry Henry and played well up top, as the two combined for all four goals. In the midfield, Wilman Conde returned from injury and was a strong presence defensively for a team that had given up far too many chances early in the season. Also in the midfield, the Red Bulls saw the return of a rejuvenated Rafa Marquez, who was suspended three games at the end of last season after a confrontation with Landon Donovan in the MLS Playoffs. All three made significant contribution to the team’s win.
The addition of Cooper to the front line and returning Marquez to his best position (midfield, after playing defense last year) helped spark an important win. Credit for tactical changes against Colorado should go to coach Hans Backe. Of course, it didn’t hurt that the Red Bulls cut down on many of the mistakes that plagued the defense and midfield in the first two matches.
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