Observations, highlights from MLS FirstKick; FCD over RBNY


FRISCO, Texas – A few thoughts on FC Dallas’ 2-1 win over the Red Bulls on Sunday at a sold out park.

  • Kenny Cooper helped enliven the Red Bulls attack upon his entrance Sunday, as the visitors pushed FC Dallas late for the equalizer. His production in limited minutes sets up some interesting scenarios going forward. Juan Agudelo, who got the start over Cooper on Sunday, will be away soon for U.S. Olympic qualifier duty – but that’s only for a few weeks. By then Luke Rodgers will surely be back and ready to contribute. You would think, anyway.  And in all honesty, the Cooper-Thierry Henry pairing looked like a better fit than Agudelo-Henry.  Red Bulls manager Hans Backe said as much, too, that Cooper’s ability to work the higher channels fits with Henry’s tendency to drop back into midfield. They hooked up for the Red Bulls’ only goal, with Henry springing Cooper. So, we’ll see.
  • Classy move, by the way, from Cooper: He ran back to midfield after scoring against his old club without a big celebration.
  • Backe didn’t have much of an update on Rodgers’ visa situation except to say this: whenever the stranded striker does get back into the country, Backe will feel OK about playing him straight-away. Would Backe have played Rodgers today if his striker had arrived only yesterday? Backe said he probably would have.
  • FC Dallas quite possibly could be without both starting outside midfielders from Sunday for its next contest, and that’s not great news.  Brek Shea could be at the U.S. Olympic camp by then; Caleb Porter will reveal the roster this week and summon the players in short order from there to begin CONCACAF qualifier prep. And Fabian Castillo left after 30 minutes Sunday after taking a knock; FCD manager Schellas Hyndman said a few minutes after the match that he didn’t have a full report as yet.  Ricardo Villar isn’t half the influence David Ferreira can be in terms of creating through the Dallas midfield, so the attack already could be stretched to produce quality chances and service for Blas Perez.  Just one game into the season and FC Dallas’ depth is already being serious tested.
  • Hernan Pertuz looked quite capable in his first run-out at center back for Dallas, alongside Ugo Ihemelu. Pertuz and Perez were two of the better MLS debutantes this weekend. FC Dallas’ new Panamanian striker played up front all by himself in a 4-5-1, managing the tough assignment quite well in a Man of the Match afternoon. He just missed connections on several chances, but worked his set-up role like a real pro.
  • Young Red Bulls goalkeeper Ryan Meara wasn’t bad at all in his first pro outing. Heck, the kid was playing college soccer about three months ago. I talked to him for a few minutes, asking about the communication along the back line, especially considering center back Markus Holgersson was another MLS debutante on Sunday. “It’s kind of hard to say.  I was having some problems with the crowd noise myself,” he told me. He said it’s just something he still needs to get used to.  And that certainly makes sense: They probably weren’t drawing crowds of 20,000-plus at Fordham. (He seemed like a nice fellow, by the way.)
  • As for Thierry Henry? He’s quite the competitor. Looking quite upset off about the loss, and in no mood for chit-chat, he barely acknowledged reporters’ questions. He would say only something along the lines of, “We lost, 2-1, and that’s about it.”

Highlights of the match are below. Enjoy.

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