SEATTLE– Riding a first-half Macoumba Kandji goal and a strong defensive effort, the New York Red Bulls went 2-0-0 in MLS Regular Season play with a 1-0 win over Seattle Sounders FC at Qwest Field Saturday night. The Red Bulls, who are at the top of the Eastern Conference with six points, snapped a MLS record 27 regular season game road winless streak with the victory and earned their second-straight shutout.
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Sounders FC midfielder Brad Evans tested Bouna Coundoul early with a low shot, but the goalkeeper went down to catch it. Moments later, Red Bull Joel Lindpere had an attempt from 15 yards out go high.
Despite being under early pressure from the hosts, the Red Bulls went in front in the 21st minute. After New York earned its first corner of the match, Lindpere’s delivery was knocked down in the box by Seattle’s Leo Gonzalez. Kandji was a step ahead of his man and fired it off the underside of the crossbar and into the net.
Sounders FC looked to equalize immediately. Steve Zakuani hit a shot on goal from outside the penalty box and Coundoul pushed it over the bar. Soon after, Zakuani was able to get free in the box but could not get a clear header on frame off a Freddie Ljungberg delivery. Kandji nearly made it 2-0 12 minutes from the break when his shot from a Sinisa Ubiparipovic through ball was parried away by Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller.
Keller was again called upon in the 53rd minute. Ubiparipovic found a streaking Kandji, who hit a low cross to Angel. Keller went full extension to block Angel’s one-time effort. Fifteen minutes later, Zakuani was able to get space in the box and fired a right-footed shot that Coundoul tipped away. Moments after, Tyrone Marshall was left unmarked at the back post but couldn’t nod a Ljungberg free kick on target.
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Dane Richards had a great chance to put the game away the game 10 minutes from full time, knocking a shot from a Danleigh Borman cross wide right.
New York head coach Hans Backe was not on the sideline for the match. Backe had stomach pains Saturday morning and was taken to a local hospital to get checked on before returning to the team hotel. Though it was not anything serious, after consulting with medical specialists, it was determined that it would be best for him to rest at the hotel rather than attend the match.
During the winless streak away from home, the Red Bulls went 0-20-7. The team’s last road win was on May 10, 2008 – a 2-1 triumph over the Los Angeles Galaxy at The Home Depot Center. It is the team’s first opening road win of the season since it defeated the Colorado Rapids, 3-1, on April 30, 2005. It was the Red Bulls’ first-ever win over Sounders FC after going 0-1-1 against Seattle last season.