By DAN KARELL
On a night that saw the U.S. Men’s National Team playing and the MLB All-Star Game taking place in nearby Queens, the New York Red Bulls turned out to face Ligue 1 side Lyon at Red Bull Arena.
In front of more than 13,000 fans, the Red Bulls tied Lyon, 2-2, in a mid-week friendly match, one that saw the Red Bulls play 22 players and give reserves Kevin Hartman, Ian Christenson, and Matt Miazga their first minutes of the season for the first team.
Red Bulls defender Jamison Olave put Lyon on the board inside four minutes with an own goal, but teammates Dax McCarty and Andre Akpan scored two goals on either side of halftime to take a lead. Lyon midfielder Yoann Gourcuff then tied the match up in the 75th minute with a shot past Red Bulls substitute goalkeeper Ryan Meara.
The Red Bulls now hold a 2-3-1 record in international friendlies at Red Bull Arena.
Here are some more notes from around the MLS Eastern Conference:
NEW ENGLAND REVOLUTION
Though the New England Revolution fell to the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night, there was one player that was likely more than happy to just be there.
Defender Kevin Alston was on the bench for the first time since the end of March after being removed from the disabled list earlier this week. Alston had been placed on the DL in May after being diagnosed for a rare but treatable form of Luekmia.
Alston didn’t play in the loss against the Rapids, and mentioned to the Boston Globe that he wasn’t yet 100 percent, but he’s back to full training and head coach Jay Heaps has stated he plans on playing Alston in the future.
Though he is second in Major League Soccer in scoring, Jack McInerney was left off the MLS All-Star Gameday roster.
Forwards Marco Di Vaio, Thierry Henry, Camilo, and Robbie Keane all beat out McInerney on the squad that will face AS Roma on July 31 in Kansas City. Also missing out was Sebastien Le Toux, who currently leads the league with nine assists.
With McInerney back from national team duty, he could make a bid to be an All Star replacement player with another goal or two in the last two weeks of the month.
In a week of player signings, one of the brightest of the group is former U.S. youth international Jared Jeffrey.
The former U-17 and U-20 midfielder made the move to MLS after six years in Europe, playing at Club Brugge in Belgium and Mainz 05, failing to break into both first teams and realizing that it was time to come home and get some first team minutes in the United States.
The Texas native made his D.C. United debut in a friendly match last Friday against Chivas Guadalajara, starting and earning praise from D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen.
In other news, D.C. United’s latest homegrown player signing Collin Martin has been loaned to the Richmond Kickers in USL-Pro for the rest of the season.
In less than six days, Toronto FC have let their captain leave the club due to salary issues.
Darren O’Dea has reportedly signed a three-year contract with Ukranian side Metalurh Donetsk after being left off the team’s trip to Sporting Kansas City last Saturday. O’Dea was in line to earn more than $456,000 this season in total compensation, a number higher than some designated players and one of the highest non-designated player contracts in the league.
Despite O’Dea’s desire to remain in Toronto, the club were not willing to renew his salary at that level, so the Republic of Ireland international decided to move abroad.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY
The night before the MLS All-Star Game in Kansas City, Sporting Kansas City defender Aurelien Collin will be hard at work.
The French MLS Best XI defender will be debuting his fashion line, aptly named AC78, on July 30 at the Kansas City Power and Light District. A number of Sporting KC players are reported to be modeling the suits designed by Collin.
Since April 27, the Columbus Crew have been without American-born but Uruguayan-raised midfielder Agustin Viana.
The 29-year-old has missed time due to a hamstring injury, but he could be making his first team comeback sooner rather than later. Viana played 58 minutes in a recent reserve match, and played the entire second half in the Crew’s friendly match against Wigan last Saturday.
Viana’s return could push midfielders Will Trapp and Konrad Warzycha back to the bench, though Viana may still be a couple of weeks away according to reports out of Columbus.
Hoping to stem the tide after two recent defeats, the Chicago Fire have been given a massive boost ahead of this Saturday’s match against D.C. United.
Veteran midfielder Logan Pause played 60 minutes on Wednesday in a reserve match for the Fire, and could be part of the 18 when the Fire welcome D.C. United. Pause has played just once since the start of June, a 26 minute performance before having to leave due to injury.
Though they’ve won two in a row, Houston Dynamo forward Giles Barnes is on one of the longest goal-scoring droughts of his career.
The Englishman hasn’t scored a goal since May 8, after he had scored two in three games, giving hope that his scoring run could improve. However, despite the frustrations, Barnes says that he feels that as long as he’s helping his teammates score he doesn’t mind too much.
“It’s a bit frustrating,” Barnes told MLSsoccer.com. “As a striker or attacking midfielder you want to be scoring goals. [I’m] still making chances, still working hard for the team and we’re getting goals in other places. As long as I’m helping the team I don’t need all the glory.”
In his mid-season “State of the Impact” address, Montreal Impact owner Joey Saputo came to the aid of the struggling club that hasn’t won in four matches.
In particular, Saputo defended head coach Marco Schallibaum, saying that they are working on an extension for the Swiss coach. Schallibaum signed a one-year contract this past offseason.
Earlier this week, there had been reports in South America that Juan Carlos Osorio, formerly of the New York Red Bulls and Chicago Fire, would return to MLS as the coach of the Montreal Impact.
What do you think of these reports? Impressed with the Red Bulls result? Do you see Alston returning to the lineup soon? Do you believe McInerney should be on the MLS All-Star gameday roster?
Share your thoughts below.