The youngster celebrated his U.S. international callup with a first MLS goal.HARRISON, N.J. - In front of a reported 20,982 attendees at Red Bull Arena, Juan Agudelo propelled the New York Red Bulls past the Seattle Sounders with his first professional goal. The opening night victory for New York was a positive introduction to a season in which they are predicted to be among the championship contenders. Simultaneously, after a defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy earlier in the week, the Sounders end their first week of the season with a disappointing zero points and zero goals scored.
The first chance of the night came in the 5th minute to Colombian Designated Player Fredy Montero. The Seattle forward was somehow found alone just inside of the Red Bulls’ penalty area, but Montero’s touch failed him - a rarity on the evening - as he bumbled the ball into Greg Sutton’s arms.
Agudelo had his first significant contribution of the night when he drew a penalty from Jhon Kennedy Hurtado in the 8th minute. Thierry Henry collected a headed clearance from Hurtado before playing Agudelo around the Sounder centerback and into the penalty area. Agudelo accelerated to beat out Hurtado, who then clipped the young forward when Agudelo cut back across him. Henry had a wonderful opportunity to erase his 2010 woes, but Kasey Keller, sprawling to his left, saved the Frenchman’s low penalty.
Seattle’s response to the penalty came in the 16th minute when Montero chipped a pass over New York’s backline for fellow Designated Player Alvaro Fernandez; however, Sutton came out large and blocked the Uruguayan’s dinked volley. No significant opportunities would occur for another thirty minutes as the Red Bulls controlled the ball without threatening Seattle.
The two Seattle Designated Players would generate a pair of chances before the half expired. After a lull made by a Dane Richards injury in the 39th minute, Fernandez slipped Montero through RBNY’s back four. The striker fired his effort hard at the near post, but Sutton batted the strike into the middle of his penalty area and collected the ball after a brief scrum. The connection would come again in stoppage time when Fernandez crossed on the ground to Montero, whose instant control allowed him to cut past his marker and chip a shot off the goal frame.
Agudelo’s 70th minute goal was preceded by 25 minutes of relatively chanceless soccer. In the 57th minute, Leo Gonzalez brought down Agudelo, but Rafael Marquez’s freekick was blocked by Seattle’s wall. Two minutes later, Mehdi Ballouchy couldn’t direct on frame a Marquez corner that dropped into the Sounder penalty area. Soon afterward, Tim Ream played Dane Richards past the Seattle backline with a wonderful pass, but the Jamaican’s shot was blocked.
The winner would come in the 70th minute when Teemu Tainio played an aerial pass through the heart of the Sounder backline. Agudelo out-muscled Gonzalez before rifling a powerful shot with the outside of his foot past Kasey Keller.
There would be another lull in opportunities until substitute Tony Tchani snapped a late Marquez corner kick on Keller’s frame. The ageless goalkeeper sprung across the goalmouth and just barely tipped the header over the crossbar.
Seattle’s final and best opportunity arrived late in stoppage time. A freekick was rolled to Fredy Montero, who struck a wobbling shot from distance at Sutton. The Canadian parried his save to the feet of Lamar Neagle, who sent the rebound over the open frame. Moments later Jair Marrufo whistled for the end of the match and a Red Bull win.
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