New York Red Bull general manager and sporting director Erik Soler released this statement today regarding New York’s 3-3 tie against the Portland Timbers Sunday night.
“We have carefully reviewed the film of our match against Portland last night and I can safely say that the level of refereeing was absolutely below the standards of what is required for a MLS match and completely unacceptable. First, the red card given to Thierry Henry was inexplicable. There was no violent conduct on his part whatsoever and this decision was made by a linesman who was more than half a field away. Second, in any soccer game, there is no way that one team can draw 20 more fouls than the other team, especially in a match where one team drew just five fouls. I have never seen this occur in my 30 years in the game.
We are aware that U.S. Soccer and MLS are working hard to improve the officiating in this country and we support those efforts wholeheartedly. However, if we want to continue increasing the level of play, we cannot let these types of refereeing performances occur. We look forward to speaking with the League to appeal Thierry’s automatic red card suspension and expect that it will be rescinded so that he is available for our match Thursday in Seattle.”
The Red Bulls also released these early pregame notes before their Thursday date in Seattle:
RED BULLS CONTINUE ROAD TRIP IN SEATTLE THURSDAY: The Red Bulls play the second game of a four-match road trip on Thursday night when they take on Seattle Sounders FC at CenturyLink Field at 10:00 PM ET in a nationally televised showdown (TV: ESPN 2; Radio: WADO 1280 AM).
New York enters the match unbeaten in its last six contests, thanks to a dramatic 3-3 draw with Portland on Sunday night. The Red Bulls looked destined to lose their third game of the year, trailing 3-1 in the second half. But, a goal from Thierry Henry and a Dwayne De Rosario stoppage time penalty earned the Red Bulls a crucial point in the standings. The Red Bulls own a record of 5-2-8, with 23 points, one point ahead of the Philadelphia Union, which hosts Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night prior to the Red Bulls-Sounders affair.
Seattle edged Toronto FC at BMO Field 1-0 on Saturday. The teams seemed headed for a scoreless draw until Seattle forward Fredy Montero scored on a spectacular free kick in the game’s waning minutes. Seattle is unbeaten in its last four matches, earning eight out of a possible 12 points with two wins and two draws during that span. Sounders FC sits in third place in the Western Conference on a record of 6-4-7, 25 points.
Since Seattle joined MLS, the Red Bulls have gone 2-2-1 against the Sounders. In both teams’ season openers earlier this year, New York took a 1-0 win at Red Bull Arena on March 19 with Juan Agudelo finding the back of the net in the second half. Last season, the teams each earned a 1-0 victory over the other on the road. On April 3, 2010 at the previously-named Qwest Field, New York rode a Macoumba Kandji first half goal to victory. In the return fixture on May 15 at Red Bull Arena, Montero came off the bench to score the game’s lone goal late in the second half. Of the five goals the Red Bulls have surrendered to Seattle all-time, Montero has notched four of them.
NEW YORK-SEATTLE CONNECTIONS: Sounders FC defender Jeff Parke was drafted by New York with the 60th selection in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft. Parke played with the club until 2008, and his 132 regular season appearances ranks fifth on the club’s all-time list. Seattle selected Parke in the third round of the 2008 MLS Expansion draft, but did not sign with the team until the 2010 season after a one year stint in Vancouver.
Sounders FC Technical Director Chris Henderson spent the final season of his 11 year Major League Soccer career with the Red Bulls in 2006. That season, Henderson played in 32 matches, starting 29, and registered three goals and one assist. Sounders goalkeeper Terry Boss spent the 2008 and 2009 seasons with the Red Bulls, but did not appear in a regular season match. Taylor Graham of Seattle was a member of the Red Bulls in the 2006-07 seasons. During his stint in New York, the defender played in 15 regular season games, making 9 starts and registering one assist.