Photo by Howard Smith of ISIphotos.com
BY MIKE NASTRI
Manchester City's roster features a laundry list of high-priced players, but it was Red Bulls winger Dane Richards who stole the show on Sunday.
He set up a goal and scored a beautiful game-winning goal to give the Red Bulls a 2-1 victory against Manchester City in New York Challenge action at Red Bull Arena.
"As Kandji drew the defenders toward him, I just asked him for the ball," said Richards. "I just remembered the Santos game, so I just struck it."
The Clemson product was a man on fire against City, beating his defender and serving dangerous crosses into the box all afternoon. Richards created the first goal after burning Wayne Bridge and playing a perfect ball across the goal mouth to a streaking Mac Kandji.
"I see Dane take off so I just timed my run and went to the defender's blind spot," said Mac Kandji. "He [Dane] couldn't put it any better."
Man City knotted up the match on an identical goal in 55th minute. Greg Cunningham served a ball to Jo, who slipped past Tim Ream for the equalizer.
The Red Bullls finished up a successful New York Challenge with a victory over a depleted Man City team. City didn't looked too enthused to be participating in the tournament. Many of the players on the pitch might not be wearing the powder blue for much longer.
"That's normal," said head man Hans Backe. "All teams, the big ones, go for excuses; that they were in preseason. They still want to win games. I've been in the same situation in Manchester City going for preseason training camps, and remember, they're only 3 weeks ahead of the league start."
"We had very good possession and looked very composed on the ball. Another good experience for our players to play the big guns and get the results, even if we switched a lot of players."
The Red Bulls new star had a relatively quiet afternoon. Thierry Henry still produced some magic after beating his defender Dedryck Boyata, but he pushed the ball wide on the tough angle. Henry isn't fully fit after taking a few weeks off following the World Cup. Playing two games in four days had an affect on how the forward performed.
"For me it is preseason," said Henry. "It still feels kind of weird because I'm in preseason [form] when the guys are in midseason [form]. I'm trying to work hard and get back into shape and try to help the team. But, I will have to say today I was feeling a bit heavy. But, I wanted to go out there and be part of the team."
The pairing of Henry and Angel will continue to wait for another game. New York's first DP was available but didn't play on the went conditions with his ailing ankle. The dream strike force has a chance to finally come together in Henry's first MLS match against the Dynamo on July 31st.