The New York Red Bulls landed in Phoenix last week to begin practicing for the highly anticipated Red Bull Reto Del Sol (Challenge of the Sun), an international friendly between the Red Bulls and Mexico’s Club Atlas de Guadalajara.
The game will be at 8 pm local time this Tuesday, March 8, at the University of Phoenix Stadium and will be nationally televised by ESPN Deportes.
French footballer Thierry Henry will lead the Red Bulls on the pitch, but it will be Rafa Márquez who will garner most of the attention.
Though fans know him more as being a part of FC Barcelona, spending seven seasons with the legendary team and winning six championships, Rafa actually made his professional debut with Club Atlas in 1996 when he was merely 17 years old. He made 77 appearances with the team before leaving in 1999.
We are not going to win [this season] with just two people.
Last year, he transferred to New York and played 10 games for the Red Bulls. This year will be his first full season with the club.
Running along side with him is Thierry, who has a storied past all his own, playing for Arsenal, Barcelona, and the French national team. He was also a runner-up twice for the FIFA World Player of the Year Award.
When asked about how they would fare in Major League Soccer (MLS) this year, Thierry responded: “We are not going to win [this season] with just two people.”
He also mentioned that the international friendly against Club Atlas will be an important one since it will be the last game before their 2011 MLS starts on Saturday, March 19, against the Seattle Sounders.
Tickets are still being sold for the international friendly.