Lindpere's rocket flushes the Fire, 1:0
March 27, 2010
Yes, last week's friendly versus Santos was the official opening of Red Bull Arena. But tonight, seeing Metro, in their Red Bull-crested uniforms, line up against an MLS opponent, the hated Chicago Fire, brought it to a new level. Oh yeah, it's Red Bull Arena. It's real, alright. And it's all ours.
The first "real" goal at RBA? The same person who scored the first "friendly" one, Joel Lindpere. This time, the Estonian international rifled home a shot into the upper left corner in the 40th minute, giving Metro a 1:0 victory. This is New York's first win over Chicago since 2007, when Juan Carlos Osorio was still in charge of the Fire. Juan Carlos Osorio? Remember him? Great note-taker? No? Moving on...
"Clever" Hans Backe kept basically the same lineup from last week's friendly; Bouna Coundoul in goal, Roy Miller, Tim Ream, Mike Petke, and Jeremy Hall on the backline. Carl Robinson's injury forced Sinisa Ubiparipovic to move to his more customary central position, with Danleigh Borman making a surprising start on the left. Lindpere and Dane Richards rounded out the midfield, with Juan Pablo Angel and Mac Kandji up front.
Ubiparipovic almost broke through early on, just missing heading in a corner, with an empty half a net in front of him. After taking the first 20 minutes of the match to settle, Metro owned the rest of the half. Crisp passing throughout the midfield did not lead to much until the 40th, when Lindpere pounced on a loose ball outside the box and wrote his name into Metro history books once again.
Chicago attempted to make tactical adjustments in the second half, and had their share at chances. Coundoul made a huge save off a short-range free kick, but had his share of brain lapses, coming out too far on more than one occasion, and had a goalpost to thank once, and a Fire miss into the open net for the other.
On the other end, Angel looked not fully recovered, Kandji still needs to better his decision making, and Richards... well, we're nitpicking. The referee did miss an obvious penalty, a clear two-handed push on Dane inside the box.
Tony Tchani joined Miller, Ream, and Lindpere in making their Metro debut by entering the game in the 90th minute.
At the end, a nerve-wrecking 1:0 victory, and a great way to open Red Bull Arena. Yes, this team is a work in progress, and yes, if one chooses to nitpick... But we won't. We'll enjoy the win.
Lineup: Coundoul, Miller, Ream, Petke, Hall, Borman, Ubiparipovic, Lindpere, Richards, Kandji, Angel. Subs: Wolyniec, Tchani.