Red Bull New York opened proceedings at the brand-new Red Bull Arena in the best possible fashion with a comfortable win against their visitors, legendary Brazilian side Santos.
It didn’t take long for the Red Bulls to give the huge crowd in the $200m stadium something to shout about, with new signing Joel Lindpere thumping a strike at 11 minutes to make the score 1–0 and adding his name to the history books as the first-ever scorer on the new ground.
Fittingly, goal number two, just before half time, came from a real club legend – veteran defender Mike Petke, wearing the captain’s armband. One of his teammates underlined the importance of the goal for the player and the fans alike.
“Seeing Mike score, to him, this is a dream come true,” Bouna Coundoul, the Red Bulls goalkeeper, said. “He was with the team in 1998 and then left, and is now back.
“He is a local – he loves this team. To see him score like that, it was special for all of us.”
"Through the good times and the bad, this is where I wanted to be." –Mike Petke
Petke himself also expressed his pleasure and excitement, not only at the goal, but also about the exciting future for the club at their new home.
“Through the good times and the bad, this is where I wanted to be,” he commented ahead of the game.
The Red Bulls even had time to take a 3–0 lead into the break, as Dane Richards made it a first-half treble for the delirious fans to celebrate with a long-range effort. Santos managed a consolation goal from Germano in the game’s dying moments, but it was the Red Bulls’ support that went home thoroughly satisfied.
“It was a sign that we were playing well,” Richards said of the atmopshere in the sellout crowd. “Hopefully, they all come back!”
Keep up with the news ahead of the first mach of the MLS season next week against Chicago Fire at the Red Bull New York website.