MLS Notes: Red Bulls tie Pumas, Ekpo signs in Norway and more

MLS Notes: Red Bulls tie Pumas, Ekpo signs in Norway and more

MLS- Colorado Rapids

MLS Notes: Red Bulls tie Pumas, Ekpo signs in Norway and more

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HenryPumas (Reuters Pictures)

While it was Thierry Henry's return that drew most of the attention during the New York Red Bulls' friendly against Mexican club Pumas UNAM, it was unheralded rookie Ryan Meara's play in goal that emerged as a talking point.

With a two-man race underway for the Red Bulls' starting goalkeeper job, Meara stood tall in the face pressure from the top-flight Mexican opposition and made a number of top-notch saves to post a clean sheet in the 0-0 draw at Chase Field Thursday night.

Henry, who had his first MLS preseason game action since returning from his loan to Arsenal, had an early chance at a go-ahead goal denied by Pumas goalkeeper Alejandro Palacios. The Red Bulls had few opportunities after that, but experimented with their formation in the second half and operated out of a 3-5-2 to generate more chances. The best chance came in the 54th minute, when Dane Richards' cross was just out of Joel Lindpere's reach at the goalmouth.

With the draw, the Red Bulls are 1-1-3 in the preseason and turn their attention back to the Desert Diamond Cup, where they'll face the New England Revolution on Saturday night. 

Here are a few more notes from around MLS:

EKPO SIGNS WITH MOLDE

Former Columbus Crew central midfielder Emmanuel Ekpo has officially departed MLS after signing with Norwegian club Molde FK. Ekpo was out of contract with the Crew following last season and was not expected to rejoin the club.

Ekpo, who reportedly signed a three-year deal with Molde, played in 32 games and started 29 for the Crew last season, his fourth with the club. The Nigerian international will join U.S. youth internationals Josh Gatt and Sean Cunningham at Molde, which will participate in the qualifying rounds of the UEFA Champions League this summer.

Ekpo scored a goal in Molde's preseason friendly against Spanish side Estepona on Thursday, a game in which Gatt played the first half.

RAPIDS FALL IN HAWAII

Despite a late flurry of action, the Colorado Rapids fell to Japanese club Yokohama FC 2-1 in the Hawaiian Islands Invitational Thursday night.

Drew Moor tallied the goal for the Rapids in the 73rd minute, slicing a 2-0 deficit in half after Hiroaki Namba scored in the 57th and 64th minutes. The Rapids continued to push for the equalizer, a task that became more difficult when Wells Thompson was sent off in the 87th minute.

Moor finished off a corner kick from Colombian left back Luis Zapata, who signed with the team on Thursday and played all 90 minutes. Moor and Marvell Wynne started in central defense, while Japan native Kosuke Kimura, who played against Japanese club opposition for the first time, manned the right back slot.

The Rapids will wrap up their trip to Hawaii on Saturday with a match against Australia's Melbourne Heart, the club for which former D.C. United and Philadelphia Union midfielder Fred serves as captain.

TIMBERS OUTLAST OSU

Hanyer Mosquera seems to be fitting in just fine with the Portland Timbers' back line.

Mosquera got his head to a corner kick to score the only goal as the Timbers topped Oregon State University, 1-0, Thursday night. Following in the footsteps of Portland centerbacks Futty Danso and Eric Brunner, who were constant threats on set pieces in the club's inaugural MLS season, Mosquera broke a scoreless deadlock by connecting with Kalif Alhassan's corner kick in the 84th minute.

The match was marred by injuries for the Timbers, who saw Danso and recent signing Franck Songo'o exit with ailments. Danso was kicked in the face, while Songo'o injured his right knee. According to The Oregonian, neither injury is considered to be serious. New Designated Player signing Kris Boyd did not participate in the match for Portland.

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What did you think of the Red Bulls' performance against Pumas? What do you make of Ekpo signing with Molde? Do you think the new-look Rapids can succeed in the West this season? Think Mosquera can become a dominant MLS centerback?

Share your thoughts below.

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