Photo by ISIphotos.com
(It has been a roller coaster few weeks for Jeremy Hall and the New York Red Bulls. A week after pulling off a memorable upset win over the Seattle Sounders at Qwest Field, Hall and the Union endured a less pleasant return to the West Coast last weekend, losing a 2-0 decision to Chivas USA.
Hall discusses the road trips in his newest SBI Player Diary. He also discusses his old friend and former roommate Nick Zimmerman, who joined the Philadelphia Union last winter, and who will be visiting Red Bull Arena for the first time when the Union faces the Red Bulls later this month.
Here is the latest installment of his Player Diary.)
By JEREMY HALL
We just finished our first road swing of the year, with two away games out west to try and to put an end to the road losing streak. Our streak came to an end in Seattle, in a hostile environment against a very well-coached and tough team this proved to be a huge win. Having a packed stadium of 36,000 Seattle supporters screaming and chanting makes Qwest Field a tough place to play.
We knew as a team that if we wanted to get three points on the road we were going to have to do what we had been doing in all of our previous matches, which was staying connected and organized as a team for 90 minutes. I think we did that for the most part. Bouna came up with a couple big saves for us that kept us ahead. It was definitely a great and entertaining game in which both teams had good looks at goal. But in the end we came through with the 1-0 win on a goal from Mac Kandji. Let me tell you, it’s so nice coming into the locker room after a game and seeing smiles and hearing laughter. This is something I would definitely love to get used to after every game.
We then traveled back home, training and preparing for another cross-country trip against Chivas USA. Chivas was looking for their first win of the year, with us looking to stay perfect on the year. Usually flying Continental Airlines, it’s a good thing I set up my airline miles account. It was a very long week having flown coast to coast on two different occasions. These long flights can take a toll on the body with jet lag. I usually bring along movies and my ipod to somewhat avoid the boredom of these long flights. We did have Direct TV on our flight to Seattle, which was nice, but not to LA.
We suffered our first lost of the season against Chivas USA. From the opening whistle we just did not come out to play and were second to the ball. Coming into halftime we talked about what needed to change to steal away some points on the road. We all thought this was manageable.
An early second-half goal had us chasing the game from then on, while pushing numbers forward to get the equalizer a 90th-minute goal sealed the game for Chivas. Jesus Padilla ran onto a long pass from Zach Thorton that I didn’t think would get through and slotted it home. This was our first lost this year and yes, we were all disappointed because we knew that wasn’t the team we have been all season. The good thing about soccer is that we have another game this week, Saturday at home in front of the best fans in MLS, where we want to get back to our winning ways.
One subject I wanted to touch on in the diary was Nick Zimmerman leaving the Red Bulls. On draft day in 2009, I was keeping up with the later rounds on the draft tracker. And at the 44th pick, in the third round, the Red Bulls selected Nick, a friend and former club teammate in Florida. He texted me saying, “See you in NY”. From that point I think we knew that we were going to be roommates. Nick and I were already friends before the draft so when we both got selected it was a no brainer that we were going to be living together. We did everything together and everyone took notice of it. If you knew where Nick was you definitely knew where I was and vice versa.
This offseason, when the protected and unprotected list came out and I saw Nick unprotected, I was shocked. I was actually in Dallas at a movie with my girlfriend and her family when he texted me saying that he got picked up by the Philadelphia Union. I also got a bunch of texts from teammates and fans and reporters asking me what I was going to do without Nick being there, ha pretty funny.
It was so bad that I went into Subway this preseason and the worker (Saladin) even asked me where Nick was. I can admit I was a little upset about that, we had a nice little set-up going. We even had to cancel our show “Real Life of Nick and J,” I thought we had two solid shows! There are so many stories we could tell but that would take up way to much time. I will tell you that we did have some competitive ping-pong games as well as HORSE on our mini-hoop we had in the living room. We liked to call it “taking it to the streets”. We can probably quote and act out Bad Boys 1 and 2, Black Knight, High School Musical 3 and many more.
Nick and I are still close and still talk every week. I think he misses me more than I miss him. We are already trash talking about playing each other in a couple weeks when Philadelphia comes to Red Bull Arena (on April 24), so it should be fun.