|Major League Soccer|
· Int'l Soccer
Saturday, March 17, 2012 (All times Eastern)
New York (0-1-0) at Real Salt Lake (1-0-0), 10 p.m.
Sandy, UT (Sports Network) - After a tough opening match to start the season, Red Bull New York faces a stern test to try and get on track as it heads to Rio Tinto Stadium to face Real Salt Lake on Saturday.
The Red Bulls fell just short of a comeback after surrendering a two goals against FC Dallas last weekend, losing to the Western Conference club, 2-1, with New York's lone goal coming from Kenny Cooper.
Looking on the bright side, New York can certainly take some positives away from the loss. Star striker Thierry Henry hit the post on a quick free kick in the first half and Hans Backe's men dictated play late on, coming very close to finding an equalizer on several occasions.
But Henry and Backe are both well aware of the tough encounter that awaits them on Saturday.
"They are, if not close with L.A., the best team in this league by a distance," Henry said. "It is not a coincidence we didn't beat them [last season]. Not a lot of teams beat Salt Lake, especially at their place. So, it's going to be a very difficult task."
Backe echoed Henry's assessment, and offered a cursory summation of the plan heading into Rio Tinto.
"Against Salt Lake, it's about start well, defend well, find your shape and play more aggressive than we have done," Backe said. "We just have to play tougher."
Real Salt Lake is coming off of one MLS opening weekend's most shocking results. The Claret and Cobalt earned a 3-1 win over the Los Angeles Galaxy, handing the reigning champions their first home loss in league play for over a year.
It is not necessarily shocking that Real Salt Lake defeated the Galaxy at The Home Depot Center, but more so how the Rio Tinto outfit earned the win. RSL bagged three goals in the span of 12 second-half minutes thanks to an own goal from Sean Franklin, a close-range shot from Javier Morales, and a breakaway goal from Fabian Espindola to seal the win.
"I felt like we were the team that was really controlling the tempo of the match," RSL coach Jason Kreis said. "I know that L.A. had some fantastic chances to score...but really I felt like we were the team that was controlling the tempo so I am very pleased with everybody's contribution, not just the guys that came on in the last 30 to win the game for us."
Salt Lake was buoyed by the return of Morales. The midfielder missed most of last season after sustaining a gruesome ankle injury, but he returned against Los Angeles to provide the go-ahead goal.
Espindola also continued his fine form in last weekend's win. After concluding the 2011 season with 10 goals, one less than Alvaro Saborio's team lead, he netted the third goal of the match to help RSL pull away from the Galaxy.
"I think it was a game that had some great soccer like always when we play against the Galaxy," Espindola said. "We started the game trying to control the ball and them trying to get us on the counterattack and playing long balls, which is how they got their goal. We tied with an unfortunate play, but I think we played better throughout the course of the game."
03/16 16:40:46 ET
Powered by The Sports Network.