After three straight defeats in the MLS, New York Red Bulls received a shot in the arm with an emphatic victory over Italian giants Juventus.
Head coach Hans Backe must be hoping that a 3-1 second-half mauling of a Juve side that included Alessandro Del Piero, David Trezeguet and Fabio Grosso will help lift his team ahead of Wednesday’s US Open cup tie with Colorado Rapids.
The fact that Backe fielded a number of reserves might give the Swede a selection headache in the coming weeks, but the entertaining, end-to-end match meant that both Red Bulls keeper Greg Sutton and his opposite number, former Red Bull Salzburg stopper, Alex Manninger, were kept busy between the sticks.
The game got off to a slow start with the Bianconeri’s best chance of the first half not coming until the 41st minute when Del Piero, streaking down the left, beat Sutton with a blistering shot, only to see it ricochet off the post.
"It may have been the best shot I’ve ever had that didn’t go in." –Irving Garcia
Three minutes later, a patient build-up almost produced a goal for the home side. Jeremy Hall fed John Wolyniec, who played a diagonal ball across the box to Conor Chinn. Trapping the ball neatly, Chinn’s shot forced Manninger into a save.
Whatever Backe said in the Red Bulls dressing room at half time must have worked, because in the 50th minute, a poor Juve clearance fell to Irving Garcia about 25 yards from goal.
Garcia hit an immaculate shot that swerved past Manninger only to ping off the post. The rebound fell to Jeremy Hall who slotted home from the edge of the six-yard box.
“It may have been the best shot I’ve ever had that didn’t go in,” Garcia said after the match. “Mainly because it was against Juventus.”
Five minutes later, Roy Miller made a surging run and hit a beautiful cross directly into the path of Chinn in the penalty area. The rookie forward took one touch and rifled a shot into the back of the net.
As the Juve fans began to head to the exits, Sinisa Ubiparipovic played a ball wide to second-half substitute Dane Richards on the right wing. The speedy Jamaican winger squared the ball to Juan Pablo Angel, who hit the back of a wide-open net.
A stoppage time goal from Amauri gave the visitors a late consolation. “This is a good game for us,” said defender Carlos Mendes. "Good to win any game, but especially when you’re playing a great team like we did today."
The Red Bulls face Colorado Rapids in the cup on Wednesday before travelling to Massachusetts to take on New England Revolution in the MLS on Saturday. For more on the team, check their official website.