New York, NY- After losing the first two matches of the 2012 Major League Soccer season, the New York Red Bulls finally showed their horns as they stampeded the Colorado Rapids 4-1 in their home opener at Red Bull Arena.
Leading the way for the Red Bulls was team captain Thierry Henry and former Portland Timbers forward Kenny Cooper who combined to produce all four goals. With each scoring two goals, the 21,024 fans in attendance for at least one match had reason to visualize the potential success of their club.
In a tribute to Bolton Wanderers midfielder Fabrice Muamba, who is recovering from a cardiac arrest suffered on March 17, 2012 in FA Cup competition against Tottenham Hotspur, the Red Bulls wore a t-shirt which read Get Well Soon Muamba. Anyone in attendance on Sunday could easily recognize the serious and determined attitude the Red Bulls players displayed in their body language.
After losing back-to-back road matches to FC Dallas and Real Salt Lake by a combined score of 4-1, the Red Bulls needed every inch of home-field advantage in order to secure a win over the Colorado Rapids. Along with the cloudy and cool weather flowing throughout Red Bull Arena, the enthusiasm of the South Ward which consists of the Viking Army, Empire Supporters Club and the Garden State Supporters was infectious and served as a reminder that MLS has returned to the NY/NJ area.
Chanting loud and proud must have played a role in the Red Bulls overall performance because Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper each scored a goal within the first six minutes of the match. In the third minute of the match, Thierry Henry opened the Red Bulls goal register when he passed by Rapids defender Drew Moor and blasted the ball past GK Matt Pickens to give the Red Bulls a 1-0 advantage.
Minutes later, former Timbers forward Kenny Cooper made it 2-0 in the sixth minute. For a club that appeared clueless in their first two matches, the Red Bulls ball movement was crisp and fluid. Defensively, the quartet of William Conde, Markus Holgerson, Roy Miller and Jan Gunnar Solli were able to prevent the Rapids from advancing the ball and have a serious shot towards the back of the net.
Also playing inspired for the Red Bulls were their midfielders of Dane Richards and Rafa Marquez. Coming off a year where they underachieved, both players were aggressive and defensively sound. Solid as a rock, Joel Lindpere brought his fire and passionate style of soccer which many fans have come to appreciate over the past two years.
After the first half, the Red Bulls had a 2-0 advantage and they were able to build a 3-0 advantage when Henry scored his second goal of the match in the 53rd minute. Despite Colorado's goal to make it 3-1 in the 77th minute when Omar Cummings capitalized off a Marquez turnover, the Red Bulls were never in serious threat.
With the Red Bulls comfortably leading 3-1 within the closing minutes, Kenny Cooper made it 4-1 in the 89th minute. Minutes later, Henry missed his opportunity of a hat trick. Despite his missed attempted, the South Ward gave him his due as they chanted Henry in unison.
With the Red Bulls (1-2-0) winning their first match of the season over the previously undefeated Colorado Rapids (2-1-0), the Red Bulls will have an opportunity to win their second match of the season when they face first-year MLS club, the Montreal Impact (0-2-1). With intentions of seeking their first win of the season, the Impact will travel to Red Bull Arena on Saturday March 31, 2012 for their 4 p.m. showdown.
Other MLS Results from the Weekend
Seattle Sounders (2-0-0) won 2-0 over the Houston Dynamo (2-1-0).
New England Revolution (1-2-0) won 1-0 over the Portland Timbers (1-1-1).
Columbus Crew (2-1-1) won 2-0 over the Montreal Impact (0-2-1).
Real Salt Lake (2-1-0) lost 1-0 to Chivas USA (1-2-0).
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (2-0-1) battled D.C. United (0-2-1) to a scoreless draw.
Sporting Kansas City (3-0-0) won 2-1 over FC Dallas (1-1-1).
Cesar Diaz is a freelance writer for several online soccer publications. If there's a soccer topic you believe needs to be written about, please feel free to contact him. Easily approachable, you may contact him at CoveringSoccer@gmail.com and @CesarDiazNYC.