Thierry Henry, Teal Bunbury DL

First Place Red Bulls Edge Sporting KC 1-0

MLS Game #6
Saturday, April 30, 2011, 6:30 p.m. CT

English TV: KSMO
Spanish TV: Time Warner Cable Ch. 5
Spanish Radio: La Gran D 1340 AM

Red Bull Arena | Harrison, New Jersey
Weather: Partly Cloudy, 67 degress
Attendance: 20,636
Video: Match Highlights

Score:                                                                     1              2             F
Sporting Kansas City (1-4-1, 4 pts)                   0               0            0
New York Red Bulls (4-1-2, 14 pts)                   1               0            1

Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Michael Harrington, Aurelien Collin, Julio Cesar, Korede Aiyegbusi; Stephane Auvray (Milos Stojcev 64), Davy Arnaud ©, Graham Zusi; C.J. Sapong (Ryan Smith 46), Teal Bunbury, Kei Kamara

Subs not used: Matt Besler, Kevin Ellis, Roger Espinoza, Eric Kronberg, Craig Rocastle

New York Red Bulls: Bouna Coundoul; Rafael Marquez, Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Jan Gunnar Solli; Dwayne De Rosario (Mehdi Ballouchy 80), Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards, Teemu Tainio (Carl Robinson 46); Thierry Henry, Luke Rodgers (Juan Agudelo 46)

Subs not used: Stephen Keel, Carlos Mendes, Greg Sutton

 

Stats:                                       KC       NY
Shots                                         13          10
Shots on Goal                           2            6
Saves                                         5           2
Fouls                                          9          15
Offside                                       3           4
Corner Kicks                             4           6

Misconduct Summary:
NY - Luke Rodgers (Caution, Reckless Foul) 32
NY -- Teemu Tainio (Caution, Reckless Foul) 42
NY -- Mehdi Ballouchy (Caution, Simulation) 93+

Scoring Summary:
NY - Luke Rodgers 3 (Dwayne De Rosario 3, Thierry Henry 3) 22

Sporting Kansas City suffered a 1-0 defeat at the Eastern Conference-leading New York Red Bulls on Saturday. Goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen matched his season high with six saves, including the first penalty kick stop of his MLS career, but Red Bulls forward Luke Rodgers goal in the 22nd minute stood up as the match-winner.

The visiting Sporting KC, in their sixth of a 10-game road trip to start the 2011 season, outshot the Red Bulls 13-12 in the contest, but were shut out for just the second time this season after entering Saturday with the League’s top-ranked offense. The Red Bulls, now on a three-game winning streak ahead of their match with the Los Angeles Galaxy next week, posted their fifth clean sheet in seven games in 2011.

Sporting Kansas City dodged an early dagger in the 14th minute when midfielder Stephane Auvray was judged to have fouled Red Bulls midfielder Dwayne De Rosario in the penalty area. New York Designated Player Rafa Marquez stepped to the spot for the Red Bulls, but was thwarted by Nielsen who dove to his left to save the attempt.

It was New York’s second saved penalty of the season and Nielsen’s first penalty stop since joining KC last season. It marked the first saved penalty by a KC goalkeeper since 2007 when Kevin Hartman stopped Cuauhtemoc Blanco in a 3-2 win over Chicago at Arrowhead Stadium.

It would take eight more minutes for the Red Bulls to find the breakthrough following a Condoul save on Sporting KC striker C.J. Sapong. Designated Player Thierry Henry fed the ball outside to De Rosario whose sliding cross connected with forward Luke Rodgers inside the penalty area. The Englishman powered his first-time shot past Nielsen for his third goal of the season and second game-winner, most in MLS this season.

Sporting Kansas City responded with an attempt from Kei Kamara in the 24th minute, but his shot was held by Coundoul.

Nielsen was again in action in back-to-back stops, beginning in the 39th minute with a superb save to get a fingertip on De Rosario’s curling shot from 20 yards out. On the ensuing corner, he sprawled to turn away a header from Red Bulls defender Tim Ream.

Boosted by the insertion of creative playmaker Ryan Smith at halftime and midfielder Milos Stojcev in the 64th minute, Sporting Kansas City did more to threaten New York in the second half. Midfielder Graham Zusi’s volley in the 61st minute went inches high of the crossbar on a cross from defender Michael Harrington and Smith made a darting run into the area in the final minute of stoppage time only to see it smothered by Coundoul for his third and final save of the match.

Sporting Kansas City's next match is May 14th at the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center.

Fast Facts:

- Sporting Kansas City is now 1-4-1 in 2011 and is currently in last place in the Eastern Conference.
- New York Red Bulls are unbeaten at Red Bull Arena this season with a 3-0-1 record at home.
- New York gained the advantage in the all-time series, which now stands in their favor at 17-16-9. The all-time goal differential is even at 54 goals scored for both teams in the all-time series.
- New York posted their fifth shutout in seven games in 2011.
- New York Red Bulls were missed their second penalty kick of the 2011 season after Thierry Henry had a pk saved by Kasey Keller.
- New York Red Bulls are a perfect 3-0-0 in 2011 when leading at halftime.
- New York Red Bulls are unbeaten at 4-0-1 when scoring the first goal in 2011.
- Sporting Kansas City is winless in five consecutive matches after opening the season with a 3-2 road victory at Chivas USA.
- Sporting Kansas City was without midfielder Birahim Diop on Saturday as he served a one-game suspension handed down by U.S. Soccer and the MLS Disciplinary Committee in the aftermath of an appeal of defender Aurelien Collin’s red card against the New England Revolution last week.
- Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls will play the return match in the season series at LIVESTRONG Sporting Park on October 15th at 3 p.m. CT on TeleFutura.
- New York Red Bulls Hans Backe, in his second MLS season, is a perfect 3-0-0 against Sporting Kansas City.
- Sporting Kansas City defender Roger Espinoza did not play for the first time in 2011 due to illness (stomach virus).
- Sporting Kansas City defender Matt Besler also did not play for the first time in 2011 on Saturday.
- Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen has played every minute for the club this season, totaling 540 minutes played in 2011.
- Nielsen made six saves on Saturday, including a stop on Rafa Marquez’s penalty kick in the 14th minute, and now has 22 saves on the season.
- The penalty stop was the first pk saved by Nielsen in his MLS career, having faced three attempts in his two seasons.
- The last Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper to stop a penalty kick was Kevin Hartman on August 22, 2007 in a 3-2 win over the Chicago Fire at Arrowhead Stadium. Hartman stopped the attempt from Cuauhtemoc Blanco in the 13th minute.
- New York Red Bulls Designated Player Thierry Henry and Sporting Kansas City’s Stephane Auvray were both born in Guadeloupe. Henry plays for the France National Team, while Auvray captains Guadeloupe.
- Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin is also a French citizen.
- Sporting Kansas City did not receive a caution or ejection for the first time in six games in 2011.
- Korede Aiyegbusi made his first start of the 2011 season and second of his career.
- Graham Zusi made his first start of the 2011 season and 10th of his career.
- Zusi suffered three fouls on Saturday, setting a new career high.
- Sporting Kansas City captain Davy Arnaud played his 224th career MLS regular season game for KC, tying Nick Garcia for second on the team’s all-time chart.
- Saturday also marked his 203rd career MLS regular season start, tying Jimmy Conrad for third on the team’s all-time chart.
- Sporting Kansas City defender Michael Harrington played the full 90 minutes on Saturday, surpassing the 10,000 minute mark in his MLS career when including postseason.
- Sporting Kansas City striker Teal Bunbury and New York Red Bulls striker Juan Agudelo took part in a weeklong Twitter contest to garner the most followers by kickoff. Bunbury received promotion from Lance Armstrong, LIVESTRONG CEO Doug Ulman and honorary Sporting Kansas City member Chad Ochocinco, along with support from the Kansas City Chiefs, Kansas City Royals and many others on Twitter.  Bunbury had 9,996 followers at gametime, more than 400 more followers than Agudelo, who will have to wear Bunbury’s Sporting Kansas City jersey for a day.
- Sporting KC has not earned a point in 2011 when tied or trailing at halftime, nor when conceding first.
- Sporting Kansas City has not recorded a shutout since October 12, 2010 in a 2-0 win over Chicago.
- Sporting Kansas City was without striker Omar Bravo, MLS Player of the Week for week one, after the Designated Player underwent successful sports hernia surgery earlier this month and is expected to miss 2-4 more weeks.
- KSMO-TV will air highlights and reaction from Saturday's match on the station's weekly 30-minute soccer show "Off the Pitch with Sporting Kansas City" on Sunday at 9:30 p.m. CT.

QUOTES

SPORTING KANSAS CITY MANAGER PETER VERMES

On the match...
I thought in the first half they were having too much of the ball up the middle channel against us. We made a change in the second half, an adjustment, which I thought clogged the middle at that point, and it wasn’t easy for them to come out anymore, and it made it more difficult to mark our guy. In the second half, we were right around the box, we got a couple really good sniffs here or there. But in the end we didn’t have the finish.

On the team’s response in the second half...
It’s always good that you finish off and you battle, but you want to get a point if not three. I think that we gave up a little too much in the first half. But after saving the penalty, we should have had a little bit more to control that middle and we didn’t. But the response was good for the second half. And that part’s good, don’t get me wrong. Mentality, attitude, all that’s good, because in this league, the statistic for team’s scoring first and winning is very, very high. I think actually what happened to us is we got stronger as the game went on, and that’s a good sign.

On starting the season on a long road trip...
It’s always nice when you can come home. But I would say excluding tonight, the five games we played prior to this, having three red cards in five of those games, that does not make it easy for sure. I’ve been through this already with a number of questions, at the end, all three are ridiculous. But it’s something that you have to deal with, it doesn’t help that we don’t get a chance to come home. We lose the recovery aspect.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY CAPTAIN DAVY ARNAUD

On the match...
Obviously it’s not the result we wanted. I thought the first half they were the better team and kind of deserved the lead. But I think we were the better team in the second half. We didn’t really give them anything, but we couldn’t find that goal to get back into the game.

On the second half...
We made a little tweak with a couple things at halftime with the way were playing. I think we were a lot better. It’s unfortunate that we came in at halftime down a goal, but like I said, first half they were the better team and got the goal, and unfortunately when we were the better team, we couldn’t get that goal.

On the team’s slow start to the season...
It’s not the start we wanted obviously. We’ve let some points slip away that we shouldn’t have. It doesn’t feel like we’ve had a lot go our way so far. The performance last week in New England, although we didn’t win, was good. And then tonight I thought the second half the way we played, we deserved to get a point. But we just need a couple things to go our way, and things will start to turn around.

SPORTING KANSAS CITY FORWARD TEAL BUNBURY

On the match...
It’s disappointing, it’s another loss for us. I felt like we played well as a team. In the first half there were some little mental errors that we made. Overall I think it was a good performance by us, but unfortunately we got the loss.

On the team’s extended road trip...
It wears on you. It’s tough for the players to recover when you get back. It’s like, you get back, recover a little, and then you’re flying back out somewhere. I think we’ve dealt with it fairly well, we just have to start performing to out potential. That’s what it comes down to.

NEW YORK RED BULLS HEAD COACH HANS BACKE

On tonight’s match...
Good first half, where we should have killed the game; definitely going into halftime two or three nil. Second half I don’t really know why, they forced us to do a lot of kicking and we struggled to get a hold of the ball. The good sign is that when you are under pressure, you can defend the way we did throughout the whole second half and have a clean sheet. We only allowed them to have one or two chances, that’s a good sign. But of course we have high expectations and if it was a different game I would have likeD one or two more goals in the first half.

On Luke Rodgers’ and Teemu Tainio’s injuries...
The problem we had is that we had to switch both Luke (Rodgers) and (Teemu) Tainio at halftime. Tainio with groin problems early in the game and Luke, he was very sore at the back of the knee. You saw the injury yesterday evening, so he was a question mark coming into this game to start.

On keeping pressure on Sporting Kansas City...
We tried… I think we succeeded in the first half, in the second half we couldn’t press them enough. We were too late and like I said, we just looked fatigued, we weren’t sharp enough in our passing game and our movement. We have to analyze a little bit and see if we have done something wrong this week because we were so much sharper the last two or three weeks.

On Luke Rodgers’ nose for goal...
Normally he doesn’t score that much if you look at his record, I don’t think he… perhaps he has had an average of seven or eight goals a season, if that much. But like I said last year, I think he will fit in well in this league with his pace and he is so lively, he will open up space for other players because he’s a guy that can run for 90 minutes and he is technically good enough to combine with (Thierry) Henry, they can use each other’s combinations. Normally he is a good finisher if you look at training sessions and things like that, so he will be an important player for us.

NEW YORK RED BULLS FORWARD LUKE RODGERS

On what it is like to be the goal scorer, opposed to a setup man as he has been in the past...
It’s nice to score goals. When I was at Notts County, I was playing up front with Lee Hughes and he was the league’s top goalscorer and I was always contributing, but it’s nice to be scoring as well. You’ve got Thierry on 3 (goals), I’m on 3 (goals), Agudelo is on 2 (goals). It’s good. It’s good competition. I think if you have three strikers like that always want to score and always want to do well, it only benefits the team and hopefully we will be where we want to be at the end of the season and that’s in the final, obviously winning the Cup.

On if he thinks the buildup is becoming more precise...
Yeah, it’s nice. I think we’re a team that counterattacks very fast to get into the box and score goals. Fortunately enough it came off tonight. It could have been me or Thierry (Henry). It was just one of them goals again, right place right time.

On if he can win the Golden Boot...
Don’t put any pressure on me. Obviously it would be nice but I am not even thinking about that at the minute. I just want to play as many games as I can and get my fitness back up to where it should be.

NEW YORK RED BULLS MIDFIELDER DWAYNE DE ROSARIO

 On the team coming together...
I think every game slowly, there’s more and more improvement, more understanding of each other. But I’m happy we got the win, that’s the most important thing.

On the team defending more in the second half...
I definitely felt that we were doing a lot of defending in the midfield. But their movement was very good. Obviously they played with two holding midfielders, so that means two guys to cover. But we still were able to get the result. Again we had a lot of chances we could have buried, give hats of to the keeper, he did make some crucial saves. The main thing is, we’re going to play a lot of teams that play similar to that, high pressure, and it’s good to see we defended the way we did in the second half to get the result.

On how the team dealt with the game’s physicality...
The main thing is, we kept our composure. We tried to stick to our task, and that’s to continue to keep the ball on the ground, create chances. Like I said, we did that. The keeper did make some great saves, we had a penalty early on that unfortunately we didn’t finish. But the second half we showed a resilient effort in defense in limiting their chances.

NEW YORK RED BULLS DEFENDER RAFA MARQUEZ

On his missed penalty kick...
I took a few steps toward the ball and the goalkeeper usually moves and I was waiting for that to happen but I put it as far into the corner as possible but the goalkeeper didn’t move and actually made a good save.

On the quick restart that led to the goal...
Yeah, I saw Thierry (Henry) and immediately I saw his movement so I just got to the ball and touched it as soon as possible. It was just a matter of being aware of what was happening.

On the difference between the first and second half...
Obviously in the second half they were pressuring a little bit more and that makes our game a little bit more difficult to play.

On if he would like to continue to take penalty kicks...
Yeah, that always happens. I (would) take the responsibility to take another chance.

On the team’s defensive mindset tonight...
It was a little bit complicated today, but we’ve been maintaining our shape and form on the back and this is the third game in a row that we haven’t conceded a goal so that’s important for us on the back end.

On what he sees in Teemu Tainio that makes him so valuable to the team...
Yeah, he’s a very important piece of the team. He is the one that balances the entire squad on the field so when he is not around, we always miss him.