This was the performance that Red Bulls fans had been waiting for. Wilman Conde was spectacular in his debut, Dax McCarty bossed the midfield, and Thierry Henry was seemingly everywhere doing everything, particularly in the second half.
New York scored a quick strike double from Theirry Henry and Kenny Cooper in the first 10 minutes of Sunday's match as Colorado struggled to settle in at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls seemed to let their foot off the gas for most of the remainder of the first half, but came out strong in the second half attacking and defending well. Henry scored again in the 53rd minute and was looking dangerous for the majority of the half.
Their defensive play was solid and they did well pressing Colorado and getting them to make mistakes; the most critical error was allowing the Red Bulls' first goal.
The Red Bulls did falter slightly, allowing Omar Cummings to score after a bad giveaway by Rafa Marquez in the 77th minute, but the team did recover with Kenny Cooper scoring again in the 89th minute.
GK Ryan Meara
The rookie played well in his Red Bulls Arena debut. He was steady throughout, particularly on crosses. He did very well to save a well headed ball to his right in the 32nd minute. He was let down by his defense on the Colorado goal in the 77th minute and could do nothing about it.
RB Jan Gunnar Solli
Solli didn't have the best of games. He was solid at the back breaking up a few attacking movements, but his distribution was not very good. Solli gave away the ball easily on two occasions in the second half only to be saved by Markus Holgersson's interceptions. He received a 32nd minute yellow card for impeding Colorado first half dangerman Tony Cascio.
CB Wilman Conde
Strong game all around for the big Colombian defender as he imposed his will on the Colorado attacker. Distribution from the back was spectacular, including his perfectly weighted assist to Theirry Henry that set up Henry's 53rd minute goal. So good Henry called him "one hell of a difference."
CB Markus Holgersson
He had a good game. Holgersson broke up a number of Colorado attacking movements and saved Jan Gunnar Solli after poor passes in the Red Bulls half twice. His distribution was solid with a few errors, but overall very good.
LB Roy Miller
Solid defensively throughout, but was a little up and down with the ball at his feet in the first half. Played much better in the second half going forward, culminating in the beautiful move with Theirry Henry setting up his assist of Kenny Cooper.
RM Dane Richards
Richards had a lively start to the game, sending a dangerous cross across the 6-yard box that almost found teammate Theirry Henry. He had a hard time going forward as the first half went on, but worked hard pressing Colorado and winning back possession. He also had a few dangerous runs in the second half, including a 58th minute surge off a Theirry Henry through-ball that ended in a save by Colorado Keeper Matt Pickens. Substituted late in the game for Brandon Barklage.
CM Rafa Marquez
He worked hard and defended well. Generally played higher up the field then his Central Midfield partner McCarty. His distribution was largely good, but a little bit suspect at times as he searched for chemistry with the players around him in his season debut. He will bear the brunt of the responsibility for Colorado's 77th minute goal after giving the ball away easily in his own half. Marquez also received a Yellow Card for a cynical challenge to break up a Colorado attack in the 59th minute.
CM Dax McCarty
McCarty bossed the midfield and played in the hole in front of the defense for most of the game breaking up Colorado attacks. He distributed the ball well and almost found the end of a 75th minute Roy Miller cross on a surging run from the midfield. He was a live wire throughout, pushing his teammates forward when the game bogged down in the first half.
LM Joel Lindpiere
Lindpiere caused the giveaway that led to Theirry Henry's first goal. He didn't have much success going forward despite a few good plays linking up with Theirry Henry. He was largely anonymous throughout and substituted in the 85th minute.
ST Thierry Henry
The Arsenal Legend had an outstanding game despite fading a bit in the second half. He scored two goals, assisted on another, and was crucial in the build up to the final goal. His finishing was clinical and passing was spot on all game. Henry worked hard, dropping back into the midfield to collect the ball and forcing the Red Bulls' attack forward when it got bogged down. He was a little lucky to not receive a card for dissent in the 59th minute.
ST Kenny Cooper
Cooper did very well to finish his first chance in the 6th minute and his positioning was perfect for his final 89th minute goal off a Roy Miller assist in the 6-yard box. He looked active early on but largely fell out of the game after that. Showed some ability to hold up the ball, but was largely cut off and out of position throughout. He should have done better with a 59th minute Theirry Henry cross, but his first touch let him down. Later he endured Henry's wrath for failing to feed him the ball. Yet all in all, any day a striker scores two goals is still pretty solid.
LM Mehdi Ballouchy (on for Lindpiere's 85th minute)
It was almost the right place, right time to finish a Dane Richards move. He had a few good moments, but also gave the ball away too easily on one occasion. He didn't really have a ton of time to make an impression.
RM Brandon Barklage (on for Richards' 90th minute)
Not enough time to make an impression.