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Red Bulls Draw Season Opener

It was a bit of rocky start to the season for the New York Red Bulls.

Jamie Squire/Getty Images

Jamie Squire/Getty Images


It was a bit of rocky start to the season for the New York Red Bulls. At times they looked good and at times they looked bad. Of course it will take time for all of the new comers – players and coaches alike – to settle in but a 1-1 draw on the road in Kansas City is not an awful way to start a new regime.

The first half was the kind of first half you’d expect in the opening match of the season. The two teams were basically getting their legs under them again and getting a feel for the other side. There were a few good chances for each team, including a tough curling shot by Sporting Kansas City’s Seth Sinovic resulting in a terrific save by Red Bulls keeper Luis Robles.

In the second half the action really started to heat up. There were two goals (one for each side), a sending off, and a lot of tense moments that could have easily led to a second goal for either team.

Starting with the goals: Ike Opara got the scoring started in the 51st minute when he headed home an unstoppable shot from six feet out that Robles had no chance of stopping. Just three minutes later however Lloyd Sam played hero for the Red Bulls as he found himself with a lot of room just outside of the 18 yard box and sweetly curled home an equalizer past SKC’s Luis Marin.

In the 71st minute things really started to get interesting as Matt Besler received his second yellow card of the match resulting in his immediate ejection. From there on the Red Bulls should have controlled play, and for a little while they did. They had some good chances, got the ball deep, and gave the SKC defenders a hard time. Their best chance was when the goal scorer Sam had a chance inside the box. The defender went sprawling past him and Sam tried to slot the ball in the far side of the net but took it on his weaker left food and his shot fell just wide.

In the waning minutes of the match Dom Dwyer nearly scored a couple times for SKC as the Red Bulls held on for dear life. Dwyer just missed directing a ball in from a cross in the 89th minute and had a shot blocked in the 91st minute as the Red Bulls were scrambling to recover on defense.

All in all a draw on the road is not the worst result for the Red Bulls but it was clear that Bradley Wright-Phillips struggled without Thierry Henry to link up with. It will take some time for Sacha Kljestan and Wright-Phillips to get their partnership ironed out and the defense will have to tighten up, especially on the wings.

The Red Bulls will get their next test on Sunday March 22nd for their home opener against D.C. United. The match will kick off at 5:00 pm on ESPN 2.

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