BRADENTON, Fla – The New York Red Bulls have improved their 2013 preseason record to 2-0-0 following a hard fought win over 19-time Swedish First Division champs Malmo FF by a score of 3-2.
The game was played in front of a small crowd at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida on Thursday afternoon. New York started pressing the Malmo midfield and forwards from the very first whistle, but fell to an early strike by former Seattle Sounder midfielder Erik Friberg in the 3rd minute. Friberg took a low pass from Matis Concha and drove to the top left corner of the box and drove a powerful strike across the net of Luis Robles for his first goal of the preseason campaign.
The Red Bulls quickly composed themselves and dominated the midfield with skillful one touch passing up until the 27th minute, when Red Bulls superstar Theirry Henry received a smooth pass across the penalty area from Fabian Espindola and played a first touch ball into the bottom corner of the net to tie the game at one all.
New York continued their strong game of pressing Malmo up front, controlling the midfield, and getting the ball out wide for a majority of the remainder of the first half to keep the score knotted up at 1-1.
Following eight half time substitutions, New York continued with the same game plan, but were once again exposed on a series of play in the 53rd minute when Dardan Rexhepi found some space with the ball at the top of the box and drove a low shot under the arms of a diving Robles to give the Swedish side a 2-1 lead.
Possession continued to go back and forth with the Red Bulls maintaining a strong midfield presence, as well as a very strong and physical back four, up until the 86th minute when they found themselves an equalizer from the foot of Red Bulls Academy product Amando Moreno only three minutes after being subbed onto the pitch. Amando controlled a long cross into the box with his chest and followed up by driving it low into the back of the net.
It only took another two minutes for New York to find a late game winner from the Brazilian trialist Rafhael Domingues. Domingues created space courtesy of an excellent run and received a beautiful through ball from Marius Obekop and finished with a deft touch into the lower right corner of the net.
New York will face their third test of the preseason on February 13th when they take on MLS side Real Salt Lake, a fixture in the 2013 Desert Diamond Cup held in Tuscon, Arizona.
Scoring Summary:MAL: Erik Friberg 3’ NY: Thierry Henry 27’ MAL: Dardan Rexhepi 53’ NY: Amando Moreno 86’ NY: Rafhael Domingues 88’
Red Bulls (First Half) – Luis Robles, Kosuke Kimura, Markus Holgersson, Jamison Olave, Heath Pearce, Dax McCarty, Tim Cahill, Lloyd Sam, Juninho (Ruben Izquierdo* 36’), Fabian Espindola, Thierry Henry
Red Bulls (Second Half) – Luis Robles, Kosuke Kimura (Rafhael Domingues* 79’), Markus Holgersson, Tyler Ruthven* (Andrew Ribeiro* 79’), Connor Lade, Marius Obekop*, Michael Bustamante*, Ian Christanson*, Ruben Izquierdo*, Brandon Barklage, Josue Martinez, (Amando Moreno 83’)
Malmo FF – 27-Johan Dahlin (25-Robin Olsen 46’), 34 Alexander Blomqvist, 3-Matias Concha (35-Pawel Cibicki 64’), 20-Ricardo Ferreira, 21-Erik Johansson, 8-Erik Friberg, 6-Markus Halsti (17-Ivo Pekalski 46’), 10-Jiloan Hamad, 11-Simon Thern (33-Emil Forsberg 46’), 7-Magnus Eriksson, 9-Dardan Rexhepi (19-Benjamin Fadi 64’)
* – Guest/Un-Signed Player
You can follow Brian Dowling on twitter @DoubleGNYRB