Sene, reserves show promise in Red Bulls CCL victory

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

In context, the New York Red Bulls dominated a side in CD FAS that were already decimated by a pair of losses in CONCACAF Champions League group play, coming off of an unforgiving run of matches while suffering the loss of their head coach due to work permit issues.

That still does not take away from the performance put in by the club — particularly amongst the team reserves.

The Red Bulls dominated their Tuesday night encounter against FAS; a match whose 2-0 scoreline failed to tell the story of the evening. New York had several opportunities to put the El Salvadorian club down, but their rusty reserves failed to find their finish.

That’s not to cast a negative light on the club’s accomplishments. For their lack of game fitness, several of the seldom used Red Bulls looked spry — especially for a group that hasn’t seen much action.

Fans got their first taste of Saer Sene; a promising forward who just joined the club in a trade with New England for Andre Akpan. Yes, he looked rusty at times, and missed wide open opportunities, but finding a goal and performing for 90 minutes after an extended injury layoff is certainly an encouraging sign.

“Sene tonight, he could’ve had three or four goals. He took his goal very well, and he needed a little bit more time to get in shape, but he’s very close to being there. I think 90 minutes for him tonight was crucial to get that game shape,” head coach Mike Petke noted. “I mean his touch is phenomenal. His first touch, his ball skills, his ability to separate himself from a defender with the ball, he’s very good. I think the more minutes he gets in a game and the more practice time he gets he’ll be more comfortable.”

“He’s definitely a handful,” keeper Ryan Meara added. “I remember playing him when he was with New England and I was happy when we got him a couple weeks ago. It was nice for him to get his first goal. I think as he gets [fitter] and a little sharper, the sky’s the limit for him.”

Meara enjoyed a solid night in his own right. The seldom used backup keeper registered the first Red Bull shutout since June 8th, a 2-0 victory over New England. Of course, his ability to find minutes is hampered by the man in front of him. Luis Robles has been on fire all season long. However, the young Fordham product relished the opportunity.

“Yeah, I mean, I don’t think we really missed a beat,” he said. “We train together all the time so, even though maybe we don’t have that much real game experience together, we know how each other likes to play so it was a pretty smooth transition for us.”

Both were standouts in a night that was tailor made for fringe players.

“We are really happy because Damien [Perrinelle] made his debut, Eric Stevenson made his debut, Sene made his first goal, Peguy [Luyindiula] dropped into midfield with Eric, and Lloyd played two 90 minute [matches],” Tim Cahill said after the match. “The fitness is there as well. And Armando, who everyone thought was never going to play again, played outstanding again tonight and we then seen Ryan as well.”

That experience and result — particularly in the midst of the Red Bulls six-week, congested calendar — is something the club hopes to carry with them into September’s gauntlet.

“Overall, I am really happy because I said to the boys, play for a bit of pride in ourselves,” Cahill continued. “I am really pleased because it gives the boss a bit of depth. When we play any team in the Champions League, these players are playing to keep a spot.”

  • Love Cahill’s take on Armando. LOL

  • sosa

    Even Cahill acknowledges the fan hate for Armando, heh.