Harrison, NJ—Playing in cold weather, the New York Red Bulls kicked off the 2010 MLS season by defeating the Chicago Fire, 1-0, in front of their boisterous fans of more than 24,000.
Last week, Joel Lindpere, the Estonian international who had the first goal in the Red Bulls' first game at Red Bull Arena, a 3-1 win over Santos, scored the winning goal at the 40th minute.
Along with Lindpere's performance, Bouna Coundoul played marvelous all night with acute awareness and well-timed saves.
Coming off a 7-0-3 preseason record, the Red Bulls displayed cohesive ball control and were able to trap the Fire when it mattered most. This game also marked the first official win for new manager, Hans Backe.
The Fire, managed by new manager, former El Salvador coach Carlos de los Cabos, played its first official match since Cuauhtemoc Blanco left after three seasons for Mexico’s Veracruz. Chicago played well and out-shot the Red Bulls 17-11, with an astronomical 13-5 shot difference in the second half.
Early in the first half, the Fire almost took the lead when former U.S. national team star Brian McBride had a beautiful 18-yard bicycle kick that bounced off the post. This is a team still adjusting to loss of Blanco.
In addition to Blanco's departure, goalkeeper, Andrew Dykstra made his first official MLS start after the Fire released Jon Busch earlier this week. For the past two seasons, Jon Busch was the team's starting goalkeeper.
New managers, new season, new acquisitions resulted in different results for both clubs.
Last year, the Red Bulls were humiliated 3-1 against the Seattle Sounders and the Chicago Fire throttled FC Dallas 3-1. The season is extremely early but for the Red Bulls, they needed this win because they have a tough schedule for the next three weeks. The team flies off to face the Seattle Sounders next week, followed by Chivas USA, before returning home to face FC Dallas on April 17, 2010.
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