It was a far cry from California weather as a crowd of 14,208 at Red Bull Arena saw a New York team’s goal scoring troubles end on a miserable rainy Saturday night. The teams entered the game level on 5pts.
A few eyebrows were raised as the home team started rookie English striker Luke Rodgers, preferred over Juan Agudelo this week. Thierry Henry was listed as questionable with Achilles problems but was named in the side despite the poor weather conditions. Rodgers is generally regarded as Red Bull’s 3rd striker, but any doubters were quickly quieted as Rodgers netted two goals within the first quarter hour of the match.
“He’s been working hard in training,” said Red Bulls center back Tim Ream post match. Rodgers brought a bulldog like work rate that matched teammates Teemu Tainio and Joel Lindpere.
In addition to his hard work, Rodgers worked well with Henry, forging a nice partnership up front for New York, exploiting the San Jose backline relentlessly for almost 90 minutes (Rodgers was substituted for applause toward the end of the match).
“I felt sharp and fast,” Rodgers reflected. He went on to describe his goals as “luck and instinct”.
While two goals and a 2-0 lead in the 87th minute were certainly enough for all three points, Rogers collected a long pass, squared up to the net and assisted on Thierry Henry’s first goal of the season.
Manager Hans Backe said of the French legend, “You could see he feels fresh. He set up chances and was composed on the ball”.
The Red Bulls collected a home win and now have the luxury of three on form strikers with the likes of Rogers, Henry and Juan Agudelo. They may need another big performance when they head to DC on Thursday to take on United.
This was a fully comprehensive victory for Red Bulls with the starting XI all performing well. They will be very pleased with the result and San Jose will be happy to go back to the golden state for a clash against Chivas.
On a rainy day in New York, it was the perfect storm for Luke Rogers and the Red Bulls.
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