Red Bulls Put Rapids in Deep Freeze

By: Lucky Ngamwajasat

Three observations from the Red Bulls’ 1-0 win over the Rapids Saturday:

1. Cold Can’t Contain Red Bulls

Conditions for the Red Bulls‘ home-opener were more conducive to a January football game at Lambeau Field than an early-March soccer match. With temperatures plunging near 20 degrees, finding a way to stay warm was just as important as finding a way to get three points.

Nevertheless, the home side looked sharp and vibrant throughout the second match of the season. New York’s vaunted attack created plenty of chances and could have easily had one or two more goals. Colorado managed just three shots in 90 minutes and Luis Robles only had to make one save, as the Red Bulls completely dominated the game. It paid off late in the first half when the Rapids’ Eric Miller turned in Sal Zizzo‘s low cross into the back of Colorado’s net.

2. Howard a One-Man Fortress

The only reason the Red Bulls were unable to run up the score on Colorado was the brilliant play of Tim Howard. Making his season debut, the former MetroStars goalkeeper was outstanding in net and made key saves to deny New York when it looked like the home side was destined to score.

Howard made seven saves for the Rapids in his return home to New Jersey and the US international goalie still has plenty of matches ahead of him in the future, even at 38-years-old.

“You know, I know Tim well from my days with the National Team, and I’ve seen enough of him to know how good he is and how talented and athletic,” Red Bulls coach Jesse Marsch said after the match. “He’s a big-save keeper. So I wasn’t surprised to see that.”

3. Flipping the Script 

After being eliminated from CONCACAF Champions League play earlier this month, there were concerns that the Red Bulls would start slow out of the gate like they did last year. However, the Red Bulls have managed to assuage those fears with two wins despite not being at their very best.

“It’s something to build off of,” Robles said. “Obviously last year at 1-6, that wasn’t an ideal way to start the season. Nonetheless, the belief was there. We continued to work at it and finish strong, and that’s why we were able to win the East in the end.”

After just two matches, New York is the only team in the Eastern Conference that hasn’t dropped points yet.

Up Next: At Seattle

The Red Bulls will trek across the country and face the defending MLS Cup champion Seattle Sounders in a nationally televised match at CenturyLink Field. Seattle recorded a point in a 2-2 draw with Montreal Saturday.