New York fought back from an otherwise lopsided match to beat the Crew 2-0 in Bradenton, Florida. The victory is New York’s first with Mike Petke at the helm.
New York started the match with Thierry Henry and Josue Martinez up top, Lloyd Sam and trialist Ruben Izquierdo on the left, with Dax McCarty and Cahill in the middle, Luis Robles in goal and Brandon Barklage, Markus Holgersson, Jamison Olave and Roy Miller on the backline. Both Fabian Espindola and Juninho Pernambucano were held out of the match for undisclosed reasons.
Don’t try to read into that lineup; the Red Bulls are still in conditioning mode as they try to catch up to a late starting offseason and it showed. The Crew, who have two preseason matches under their belt, took charge of the tempo early and often. It wasn’t until both teams made wholesale changes that the Red Bulls found the net. Second round draft pick Ian Christianson clinically nodded home a Nicki Patterson (trialist) feed in the 80th minute and Kenny Cooper did the honors of rounding the keeper for the second notch of the morning.
In the end, it isn’t about the result. Rather, New York was looking to test their fitness and gauge the skill of some of their assets. Barklage was a pleasant standout, playing a physical role on the right side of the team’s defense. Cahill was equally assertive in the midfield along with McCarty. Christianson showed well in the second half, and was perhaps man of the match well before his opening notch. Away from those players, it is difficult to gauge the ability of individual players in a match like this.
New York’s second preseason match comes this Thursday against Malmo FF.