RED BULLS ROLL PAST RAPIDS, 4-1, IN HOME OPENER
THIERRY HENRY AND KENNY COOPER BOTH SCORE TWICE
Two goals from forwards Thierry Henry and Kenny Cooper lifted the New York Red Bulls to their first win of the 2012 season, a 4-1 victory over the visiting Colorado Rapids Sunday afternoon in front of 21,024 at Red Bull Arena. In New York’s home opener, the Red Bulls scored twice in the game’s first six minutes, and rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara made four saves to earn his first career win. With the victory, the Red Bulls moved to 1-2-0, 3 points, and sit tied for fourth place in the Eastern Conference.
The Red Bulls’ early offensive pressure led to the game’s first goal just three minutes in. Colorado had possession in their own end when Henry intercepted Ross LaBeaux’s wayward back pass. The Frenchman dribbled the ball into the box and warded off a defender before sliding the ball underneath Matt Pickens for his first goal of the season.
New York kept their foot on the gas pedal and quickly doubled their lead on Cooper’s second goal of the season and 50th in his MLS career. Rafa Marquez, making his season debut after missing the first two matches of the season due to suspension, played a short pass to Henry near midfield. Henry looked up and slid a through ball between two defenders and into the path of Cooper, who took a few touches before hitting a well-placed shot just inside the left post.
The Rapids’ best chance came of the first half came in the 32nd minute off a long free kick that was headed towards goal by Jaime Castrillon, but rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara kept it out with a diving save.
Henry nearly had his second goal of the game in the 51st minute. Joel Lindpere, who made his 58th consecutive start on Sunday, lofted a high pass over the defense to Henry and his effort was thwarted by Pickens.
However, a minute later, Henry doubled his account and give the Red Bulls a 3-0 lead. Referee Jorge Gonzalez called a foul on the Rapids, setting up a free kick just before the midfield stripe. Wilman Conde caught the Rapids off guard, looping a pass to Henry, who had run behind the defense. Henry made no mistake with his finish, depositing it inside the far post. The assist was Conde’s first as a Red Bull. Conde made his first appearance for New York Sunday.
The Rapids pulled one back in the 77th minute. Marquez was dispossessed by Castrillon, who deflected the ball to an open Omar Cummings. Cummings made good use of his space, setting himself up for a long-range shot from 24 yards out, which he curled over Meara and into the net.
Cooper added his second goal of the game and third of the season in the 89th minute. At the left edge of the penalty area, Henry touched a pass to Roy Miller, who dribbled in along the endline. Miller crossed to Cooper and the forward roofed the ball over Pickens to round out the scoring.