New York Soccer: Corey Hertzog

RBNY Recap: Beckerman helps RSL regain form in 3-0 win over Red Bulls

August, 7, 2011
Either winning the Emirates Cup is easy or winning against an MLS opponent is really hard.

Kyle Beckerman helped his struggling club regain their finishing touch as Real Salt Lake collected a 2-0 victor over the New York Red Bulls at Rio Tinto Stadium on Saturday. After sneaking past the Red Bulls defense, Nat Borchers connected with a Beckermann corner kick and bounced a header inside the net in the 13th minute to give Real Salt Lake an early lead.

The RSL captain then set up 17-year-old Luis Gil's first career goal in MLS in the 44th minute by intercepting a Rafael Marquez clearance on the left flank and sending a quick through ball to Gil, who calmy directed a bouncing shot inside the far post to put the home side up by two before halftime.

A Roy Miller handball in the penalty area resulted in RSL's backbreaker goal as Alvaro Saborio fired the resulting penalty shot towards the bottom right corner of the net in the 77th minute.

New York (6-6-12, 30 pts) failed to create distance against a surging Sporting Kansas City (7-7-9, 30 pts) side that lost on Saturday and gain ground following a Friday loss by the first-place Columbus Crew (9-7-7, 34 pts)and a Saturday draw by the Philadelphia Union (8-5-9, 33 pts).

Triple Threat. No player besides Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo, and Joel Lindpere has scored a goal for the Red Bulls since Luke Rodgers found the back of the net against Toronto FC on July 6.

With Dane Richards missing Saturday's match due to suspension and Dwayne De Rosario and Austin da Luz now plying their trade for D.C. United, no player besides the Henry-Lindpere-Agudelo trio that was eligible to play on Saturday has scored a goal in MLS regular season play since Mehdi Ballouchy struck early against the Columbus Crew on June 9.

John Rooney, who entered Saturday's match in the 69th minute to replace an injured Jan Gunnar Solli, and Corey Hertzog were on the Red Bulls bench and scored against FC New York in the US Open Cup match on June 28.

Play of the Game: Gil's Goal. Real Salt Lake ultimately claimed their victory by controlling the run of play and disrupting any attempts by the Red Bulls to come to life.

And that describes how Gil's goal came to be, as Marquez looked to clear a Miller throw-in only to have Beckerman meet the ball on its downward trajectory and run unobstructed towards the net before pushing the ball up to Gil. It was a quick counterattack that caught the Red Bulls on their heels, but the lethargy shown by the Red Bulls plagued them all night and left the supporters wondering whether the club was suffering from jet lag from its recent London trip.

Rusty Rost. After conceding two goals in the first half, Red Bulls 'keeper Frank Rost saw his night end at halftime as Hans Backe handed the shot stopper duties to Bouna Coundoul. Backe admitted in comments on the MSG Postgame show that it's too early to determine a pronosis for the injuries sustained by Rost and Solli, but only the German 'keeper started the match with questions about his health after enduring an injury on the flight back from London. Teemu Tainio was also unavailable to play despite making the trip to Sandy, Utah with what the club described as "flu-like symptoms."

Keep Away. Much is made about Real Salt Lake's prolific possession game on offense, but it was ultimately their ability to recover loose balls from the poor form of the Red Bulls that fueled the offensive onslaught.

RSL recovered 55 balls from the Red Bulls on Saturday according to the Opta Chalkboards, which is more than double than the 27 balls recoved by New York. No RSL defender or midfielder recovered less than three balls from the Red Bulls, while no Red Bulls defender or midfielder other than Ballouchy recovered more than three from the home side.

If you want the ball, you have to go get it. Real Salt Lake most definitely did, while the Red Bulls failed to keep up on Saturday.

Don't Come Around Here No More. Real Salt Lake's Rio Tinto Stadium has served as a house of horrors for soccer clubs great and small, culminating in a 37-match unbeaten streak that was ended by Mexican side Monterrey in the CONCACAF Champions League finale in April.

However, New York's recent futility at Rio Tinto remains intact as Real Salt Lake maintains a 2-0-1 record in regular season play against the Red Bulls since the two sides battled to a 1-1 draw in the first match of the building's history on October 9, 2008. The Red Bulls did collect a 1-0 win over the Claret-and-Cobalt in the 2008 MLS Western Conference finals to clinch a spot in that year's MLS Cup match.

After failing for the 11th time this season to collect a win outside the Eastern time zone against an MLS opponent, the Red Bulls will look to extract revenge at Red Bull Arena next Saturday against a Chicago Fire club that collected a 1-1 draw in the first leg of their MLS regular season matches on June 26 and a 4-0 victory in the US Open Cup quarterfinals on July 12. First kick is scheduled for 7:30 p.m.

W2W4: NY Red Bulls at Chicago Fire

July, 12, 2011
The Red Bulls hope an injection of youth can regain the swagger lacking in their MLS regular season play as they pay a visit to the Chicago Fire for a quarterfinal match in the US Open Cup on Tuesday.

New York finds themselves at Toyota Park after rookie midfielder John Rooney finished off derby dance partner FC New York in a 2-1 win of the US Open Cup third-round match at Red Bull Arena on June 28. However, the Red Bulls face the Fire with their heads hanging low after dropping their first shutout loss at home to rival D.C. United on Saturday and previously conceding a 1-1 draw to Chicago on June 26. Red Bulls castaway Dwayne De Rosario scored the game-winning goal in a 1-0 win for DC, while a Bouna Coundoul blunder enabled Guatemalan midfielder Marco Pappa to draw Chicago level on a soft goal.

Four-time US Open Cup champion Chicago hopes to continue its winning ways in tournament play after conceding a 2-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Saturday. David Beckham curled a corner kick into the net to answer a Cristian Nazarit header for the win, further frustrating a Fire side that has only one win in MLS play since March 30. Chicago has found more success in the US Open Cup, with three wins in the tournament that includes a third-round, 1-0 victory over the Rochester Rhinos on June 28.

Bad Timing. Due to a Monday morning thunderstorm that cut power to over 800,000 Chicago-area residents, officials changed the kick off time from the original 8:00 p.m. EDT first kick to a more daylight-friendly 6:00 p.m EDT. The match will also be streamed live on the Chicago Fire's website.

Key Matchup: Ballouchy vs. the "Best." Red Bulls coach Hans Backe already indicated his intentions to use all reserves for Tuesday's match at Toyota Park. Moroccan midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy was the only player in Backe's regular rotation to fly with the 13 players Backe invited to Chicago and is expected to start up top alongside rookie forward Corey Hertzog. Former defensive mainstay Chris Albright should also see some action at right back in his first match since undergoing hernia surgery in May.

Fire coach Frank Klopas will counter Backe's band of baby Bulls with a large part of his normal arsenal. Though that decision reflects a club initiative to mix-in regulars with reserves during US Open Cup play (having done so in two of their three matches so far), it will raise the talent level for the home side and give the baby Bulls a stern test.

That leaves Ballouchy, who has shown fantastic and frustrating moments for the Red Bulls in MLS play all season, in a situation where he must provide the polish and stabilizing play that Tim Ream and Juan Agudelo provided for the baby Bulls against FC New York.

CONCACAF Calling. Backe will rely upon his reserves as his club prepares for six matches in 19 days that includes road trips to Los Angeles, Colorado, and a doubleheader finale at Emirates Stadium in London.

With MLS All-Star First XI selections Thierry Henry and Rafael Marquez nursing injuries along with Luke Rodgers, it's tough to criticize Backe's decision to balance what little depth is at his disposal. That said, New York is 11 points behind the LA Galaxy in the Supporters' Shield race and face the same doubts of every club hoping to reach the MLS Cup finals -- and receiving the automatic CONCACAF Champions League berth that comes along with it.

The Red Bulls haven't approached the CONCACAF Champions League as a top priority to date, but the US Open Cup could become their best chance to qualify and raise the club's profile within the region. Backe didn't pack his big guns for the Fire, but he may change his tune if the club makes to the semifinal match which would take place on Tuesday, August 30.

RBNY Recap: Lil' Rooney lifts Bulls over FCNY

June, 29, 2011
If first impressions are everything, John Rooney's impression of his older brother's in-game heroics was a good start for Red Bulls supporters.

Rooney's bouncing strike from the arc stood up as the game winner for the Red Bulls during their 2-1 victory over the USL's FC New York in the third round of the 2011 US Open Cup tournament at Red Bull Arena on Tuesday. The 65th minute goal by the English rookie and younger brother of Manchester United striker Wayne Rooney followed an equalizer in the 58th minute by Corey Hertzog to cement the Red Bulls' first win in any competition since April 30.

The win also clinches a spot for the Red Bulls in the US Open Cup quarterfinals, where they will face the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park on July 12.

Playing a Kid's Game. Red Bulls coach Hans Backe fielded a side consisting largely of reserves against their derby dance partners, with only forward Juan Agudelo, center back Tim Ream, and goalkeeper Greg Sutton being among the regular contributors available for Tuesday's contest. Midfielder Austin da Luz and defender Stephen Keel also featured in the starting XI for the home side.

While Backe's decision to rest his regulars will cloud any evaluations of the Red Bulls' prognosis in the near term, it also provided an opportunity for the likes of Rooney and newly-acquired defender Mike Jones to make names for themselves. Tuesday will not be the last time anyone hears from the Red Bulls reserves, as Backe has already indicated his preference to field a similar lineup against the Fire in two weeks' time.

"It will be the same team," Backe said to Big Apple Soccer. "I just hope that we have 11 starters on July 12 because July is a killer for us. I think we have up to nine games now in July."

Play of the Game: FCNY's Go-Ahead Goal. The Red Bulls largely dominated possession throughout Tuesday's match, but could not break through in the first half against an efficient FCNY back line that did not miss a beat while defender and team captain Sam Stockley served a one-game suspension for receiving a red card in the club's second-round match.

When Owen Morrison opened the scoring for the visitors in the 56th minute, it raised concerns about the same old Red Bulls that have conceded leads to fine and feeble MLS sides over the past two months. Morrison caught Sutton on his heels with a strike from distance that tucked itself inside the top corner of the near post.

Unlike the Red Bulls' recent efforts, Morrison's goal seemed to unlock a sense of urgency in the home side's attacking efforts. Hertzog would answer the goal less than two minutes later with a strike past FCNY 'keeper Steve Diaz, while Rooney doubled it up with the game winner in less than 10 minutes of Morrison's breakthrough. The Red Bulls' back line kept disrupting the FCNY passing lanes to stifle their attack, giving Sutton little to do for the rest of the night.

Morrison's strike incited the Red Bulls to finish off their guests. It's a description that hasn't fit the home side for quite a while.

New Faces. Tuesday's match featured a great deal of new blood from the ranks of the reserves, but they may not be the only ones adjusting to call Red Bull Arena home in the near future.

Before the match, Red Bulls GM Erik Solér indicated that the trade that brought midfielder Dax McCarty to New York should also free up resources to acquire more depth in the coming weeks.

“The trade with DC is a straight one," Solér said to "We’re ending up with some money as Dax’s salary is less than De Ro’s. We’re going to do more moves in the summer. Money under the cap is good for us.”

The Red Bulls will train at home for a few days before taking yet another transcontinental road trip to face the San Jose Earthquakes at Stanford Stadium on Saturday (10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN3, ESPN Deportes).

W2W4: NY Red Bulls vs. FC New York

June, 28, 2011
It's derby day at Red Bull Arena as the New York Red Bulls welcome FC New York of the United Soccer League on Tuesday in the inaugural match-up between the two Big Apple clubs.

The two NY sides kick off as part of the 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup tournament, which is the oldest soccer competition in the United States and features both amateur and professional sides that are affiliated with US Soccer. The US Open Cup winner -- which has consisted of MLS clubs in 14 of the last 15 years -- receives an automatic berth in next year's CONCACAF Champions League tournament.

Tuesday's match provides a pit stop for the Red Bulls, who were originally scheduled for a four-game road trip due to conclude this Saturday at San Jose. While the US Open Cup does not factor into the MLS Standings, the Red Bulls will likely play for their first win in any competition since April 30 after a soft Marco Pappa goal drew the Chicago Fire level for a 1-1 result on Sunday.

FC New York will take the pitch at Red Bull Arena after defeating the Pancyprian Freedoms 3-2 on penalty kicks at Belson Stadium on June 21. Goalkeeper and Queens native Steven Diaz saved a spot for FCNY in Tuesday's match by keeping a clean sheet against the Freedoms in regulation.

However, FCNY will be without team captain Sam Stockley after the English defender received a straight red card for a rough tackle in the second round match against the Freedoms.

Reserve Met. Red Bulls coach Hans Backe indicated that he expects to field mostly reserves in Tuesday's third round match against FCNY. Backe will likely have a few familiar faces at his disposal -- most notably forward Juan Agudelo and center back Tim Ream, who returned from international duty on Monday -- but will rest many of his regular players in advance of the club's upcoming weekend road trip.

“It will be mostly reserves,” Backe said to “Ream and Agudelo [could be] in because they haven’t played that much, but mostly reserves. Even if I still feel that it is a priority to play the Open Cup, with this schedule - San Jose away on Saturday - we just need to be smart.”

Who's Minding the Store? While Backe will give a good look to the likes of 2011 draft picks Corey Hertzog and John Rooney, he will have a decision to make with regards to his shot stopper.

Both Greg Sutton and Bouna Coundoul have received criticism for the mental lapses that resulted in less-than-stellar results at Seattle and Chicago respectively. Backe may elect to give one of them an opportunity to shake off their poor performance, or turn to reserve 'keeper Alex Horwath in order to let Sutton and Coundoul rest. Whatever Backe decides, the pundits' gaze will focus squarely on whoever lines up between the goalposts on Tuesday.

Gracious Guests. When FC New York president Doug Peterson introduced the plans for his club's inception in 2009, he also laid down a challenge to the Red Bulls for an annual Grapple for The Apple competition.

His dream will be realized on Tuesday, but could quickly turn to a nightmare if his club finds itself just happy to play at Red Bull Arena. FCNY manager Paul Shaw recognizes that his players will need to remain tough in resisting the star power and polish of the MLS side lining up against them.

"There may be periods in the game where we feel very comfortable, where we think, 'This is OK,'" Shaw said to the Wall Street Journal. "And that's where the better teams and the better players will hurt you."