Newly acquired forward Sebastien Le Toux scored in his Red Bulls debut as New York played Seattle Sounders FC to a 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena on Sunday afternoon. New York earned its 32nd point of the season off a record of 9-5-5 and moved solely into third place in the Eastern Conference, while Seattle improved to 8-5-7 and 31 points and is in third place in the Western Conference.
In the 11th minute, goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, who was acquired by the Red Bulls on Friday from the Los Angeles Galaxy and made his team debut Sunday, was first called into action. Seattle midfielder Brad Evans played a give-and-go with Eddie Johnson, and Evans was in behind the Red Bulls’ defense. Gaudette charged out and got a piece of the shot, deflecting it enough so that the New York defense could clear.
But the visitors took the lead in the 16th minute on Alvaro Fernandez’s second goal of the season. Defender Adam Johansson had the ball inside New York’s half on the right flank, and sent a looping cross into the box towards the far post where Fernandez had made his run. The Uruguayan connected with it right out of mid-air, knocking it past Gaudette with his left foot as he slid to ground.
However, the Red Bulls didn’t trail for long, as Le Toux burned his former team and leveled the score in the 24th minute. Forward Kenny Cooper tried his luck from distance, and goalkeeper Bryan Meredith made a diving save. Le Toux was first to the rebound, slotting it into the bottom corner for his fifth overall goal of the season. The Red Bulls acquired the 2010 MLS Best XI selection on Friday from Vancouver in exchange for Dane Richards and allocation money.
Both teams had another great chance before the whistle blew for halftime. In the 32nd minute, Johnson tried to curl a shot from the left side of the box towards the far corner, but Gaudette did well to parry the ball away. Right before the break, Red Bulls defender Markus Holgersson got his head to a Thierry Henry corner kick and the ball stayed out after bounding off the crossbar.
The Red Bulls took their first lead of the match in the 61st minute. Defender Brandon Barklage played a pass along the ground to Lindpere, who was behind the Seattle defense. Sounders defender Jeff Parke caught up to Lindpere, but the Estonian cut the ball back onto his left foot and fired a low shot from 20 yards out that wrong-footed Meredith and found the back of the net.
Right after the Red Bulls took the lead, Seattle coach Sigi Schmid went to his bench and brought in Fredy Montero, and the move paid immediate dividends as Montero evened things up in the 67th minute. Johansson played the ball down the right flank to Evans, who looked up and found Montero streaking into the box. The Colombian deposited the chance with a one-timer shot that rolled into the lower left corner of the goal.
New York nearly regained the lead in the 75th minute. Dax McCarty headed a Henry corner kick on target and the ball was cleared off the line by Johansson. Roy Miller almost won it at the death on another corner kick, but couldn’t keep his effort on frame.