Tag Archives: Kemar Lawrence

New York Red Bulls Are the Storm

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Sunday, May 19th: 1-0 win

This may come as a shock to you: Soccer reporting is only a small part of my life. Outside of this, I’m your quasi-typical soccer mom. And quite frankly, the weather has really been cramping my style lately. So when I saw the weather forecast for Sunday, I didn’t hold back:

But it all worked out. My sons had their regularly scheduled games. I was able to go to Red Bull Arena to watch the New York Red Bulls face Atlanta United. The promised thunderstorm politely waited until I was home safe that night.

And boy, am I glad I made it!

You would always win, always win: Against the expansion team, RBNY has usually done well. Their tendency to falter in away legs– something they haven’t completely overcome– did them in during the 2018 playoffs. But Atlanta has never scored on them in Red Bull Arena. Something something fortress. I’ll let it slide.

And I threw us into the flames: The first half was mostly a whole bunch of nothing. Both teams were clearly determined to get out in front, which moved the game much like a tennis match. But in the 35th minute, Tim Parker received a straight red for a foul on Josef Martinez. Having already lost Aaron Long to injury, this match was shaping up to be a daunting task. But the team gave a collective, “hold my electrolyte squeeze bottle.”

And as it fell, you rose to claim it:  Tom Barlow, bright-eyed and full of promise. A midwestern collegian and SuperDraft pick. A powerhouse for the USL squad who had made the big time. His second outing, his third touch of the night. Substitute Sean Nealis supplied the ball to Danny Royer, who sent the ball across the face of the goal. A header that bobbled past Brad Guzan. Yes, *that* Brad Guzan. The only goal of the night, which led to Barlow being named Man of the Match.

But there’s a side to you:  Of course this match was touted as an opportunity for revenge. Particularly for Kemar Lawrence, who was injured in a match at Mercedes-Benz Arena and had to be taken to the hospital. Then a knee injury kept him out of the playoff series that Atlanta won on their way to the MLS Cup. The flu kept him sidelined for a few matches this year, and the team felt the absence more often than not. So nothing was going to hold him down in this matchup. I’ve spoken to Lawrence in the past, and he is, as they say across the pond, “cool as you like.” But he was all fired up as the game ended!

Is it the most sporting thing to do? Maybe not. But no one was hurt, and fans can have an appreciation for the passion. No one was penalized, so it clearly wasn’t that big of a deal. Now the team prepares for a midweek bout against former teammate Felipe Martins and the Vancouver Whitecaps.

You and me together nothing gets better: Also….the morning of the match, I had to drive my oldest son to his game. He just turned 15. While his team lost 5-1, he at least scored the one goal for his side. And the next night his team advanced to the semi-finals of the MCYSA League Cup.

(P.S. If you ask nicely– and buy me a drink– I’ll sing this for you at Karaoke night)

Featured image: Sylvana Budesheim

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

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Red Bull Review

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

::wakes up, yawns, stretches::

Hey guys… what’d I miss?

::Reads messages on phone::

EVERYTHING?!?!? I MISSED ALL OF IT????

Sorry, folks. I’ve actually been working 7 days a week for the past two months. I barely got to watch any of the games, let alone put together my thoughts on them.

FIVE, SIX SEVEN, EIGHT: The New York Red Bulls ended August with a 5-match run, including a double during MLS Heineken Rivalry Week. I have been critical of the Hudson River Derby as a legitimate rivalry… until I watched that 2nd half (I only got home in time for the second half… yay, my life).

It had spark. It had fight. It had technical ability and creativity on both sides. And it was a 1-1 draw. Scoring actually happened! Then they salvaged the match against Wayne Rooney and DC United 3-3. Draws during Rivalry Week actually make me giggle.

YOU’RE GONNA BE A STAR: There was an international break that RBNY actually honored, and several players were called to their national teams for friendlies. I personally went to the Ecuador v Jamaica match at Red Bull Arena with my dad, my son, and my Colorado Rapids counterpart. That was pretty great. Not getting to see Kemar Lawrence in action… less great. What can you do?

That same night, Tyler Adams, Tim Parker, and Aaron Long were about ten miles away representing the US. Huge congratulations to Aaron Long, who has taken the long way around (pun slightly intended) to his first call-up. He was never in a US Youth National team. He’s a kid from California (who had made questionable hairstyle choices in the past) who has proven himself as a strong defender and credible attacking threat, with two goals for the regular season.

NOW FOR THE BIG FINISH: With three matches left in the season, the New York Red Bulls are in 2nd place for the conference and the race for the Supporter’s Shield. Sophomore darlings Atlanta United are in the lead… but they couldn’t secure their position against RBNY. They were defeated (again) by the boys in red 2-0, even though Bradley Wright-Phillips was suspended due to yellow card accumulation and Tyler Adams was out with back issues.

Adams has also withdrawn from the US Men’s National Team roster for their October friendlies as a result. Aaron Long will be back with the USMNT.

The Red Bulls face the San Jose Earthquakes tonight at Avaya Stadium in California. I might just stay awake to get back in the swing of things.

Featured image: Bill Twomey

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New York Red Bulls Shake It Off

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @SylvanaSoccer

Saturday, April 14th: 3-1 Win

Since the Northeast has decided to skip spring entirely, I left Red Bull Arena Tuesday night in a hat and coat and returned Saturday in a dress and cardigan. The New York Red Bulls (3-2-0, 11 points), coming off a CONCACAF heartbreak, faced the Montreal Impact (2-4-0, 6 points) with a lot to prove.

Can they put their past behind them? Will Alejandro Romero Gamarra (aka Kaku) show that he has integrated into the team? Can Bradley Wright-Phillips add to his season tally while Daniel Royer still hopes to open his account?

PLAYERS GONNA PLAY: There was no shortage of exciting soccer to be found. Wright-Phillips found the net in the 5th minute with the help of Florian Valot. After the game, both players remarked how easy it is to play with the other, a testament to the system that brought them together.

Kaku’s goal in the 57th minute was gorgeous, and I don’t think the arena could have been any louder than in that moment. The final goal, from two defenders (Kemar Lawrence to Michael Amir Murillo, 76′) sealed the deal for RBNY.

HATERS GONNA HATE: I don’t usually talk about this, because I don’t think it’s my place. I don’t think it’s anyone’s place, really. But it’s being talked about, so maybe the time has come…
Look– we’re all busy people. We have places to go, people to see. Obligations to family and friends. A lot of things in life, you don’t have time, but you make time. Maybe more people could stand to make time for RBNY. A game is 2 hours, plus travel to and from (and I’m aware the travel is the sticking point for a lot of folks). There are a lot of people who go to every game. If every one of them brought someone with them to the next game, well… it would be nice.

You know, we’re trying to do everything we can. I think this team, it’s interesting, because we do, we perform at a high level, especially here at home. You know, and it’s a fun team to watch. –Coach Jesse Marsch, when asked about the attendance.

This is my sole argument: a Red Bull game (most any MLS game, for that matter) is a good time. Nothing beats being there. If no one has ever invited you to a game, let me be that one. My father, who loves soccer and has been largely unimpressed with MLS until now, is much more likely to come to a game since I took him once. I ask everyone who reads this to do the same. There’s a 3:30pm kickoff next Saturday– a perfect opportunity.

HEARTBREAKERS GONNA BREAK: Oh, Danny Royer. Five shots, three of them on frame. Off the woodwork. Just wide.

I’m sure no one is more frustrated than Royer himself. But he’ll get there. And once the floodgates open, there will be no stopping him.

CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP: Today’s match was the first part of a doubleheader, where USL side Red Bulls II faced the Tampa Bay Rowdies. While I did not stay for the game, I would like to report that RBNYII won 5-0.

Also, today’s Red Bulls match was sponsored by Covanta, the official energy partner of RBNY. Covanta uses incinerated municipal waste to create steam for electricity, and has a facility in Newark, just across the river from Harrison. Garbage from Red Bull Arena will be transported to the Newark facility, and the entire arena will be powered by Covanta’s electricity. It’s gonna be alright.

(Do I love this song? Not really. But I couldn’t help it. Besides, I have to start using songs that are younger than the players…)

Featured image courtesy: Sylvana Budesheim

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @SylvanaSoccer

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Hydration Breaks & the End of the Dry Spell

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official New York Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Sunday, June 18: 2-0 Win

Happy Father’s Day, everybody. After spending my midday watching one of my favorite players of all time (my 9-year-old) in his last game of the season, I made it home just in time to watch the New York Red Bulls (7-7-2, 23 points) take on the Philadelphia Union (4-7-4, 16 points). Let me state for the record: I do NOT believe this matchup qualifies as a rivalry. If anything, RBNY fans seem indifferent towards Philly. That’s understandably odd, since the NY/Philly rivalry is common across other sports. But between DC United and NYCFC, there’s just no room for more animosity.

Panamanian International Michael Amir Murillo is back, as well as Jamaican International Kemar Lawrence, who was under the weather and didn’t make the Starting XI. With the heat and humidity, MLS allowed for hydration breaks during the match.

A key for RBNY was to contain attacking midfielder Chris Pontius, who has scored more goals against the Red Bulls than any individual opponent. They also had to look out for CJ Sapong, who scored a hat trick in the last meeting of these sides. A major obstacle for the team is that while the Red Bulls go 1v1, the Union seem able to double- or triple-team attackers. Red Bulls have no choice but to play the ball into traffic, which prevents them from finishing their attack. All too often, striker Bradley Wright-Phillips ends up behind the defenders as teammates Alex Muyl and Felipe cross the ball towards him. Additionally, RBNY had made great progress in years past on their set pieces, but it just doesn’t yield any results this season. There is an implication that some variety is in order: Captain Sacha Kljestan steps up for most free kicks and corners.

As Murillo gets an increasing number of starts, he is clearly showing the talent that makes him a Panamanian international. Without Kemar on the left, the ball is played up the right channel, and Murillo owns that entire space.

In the 22nd minute, Pontius proved once again how dangerous he can be; however, RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles got a hand on a ball in his 156th consecutive appearance (a previous report by yours truly implied his streak was over when he did not appear in the Open Cup match vs NYCFC—his record is only for regular league matches). A call of offside on the subsequent corner kick caused a Union goal to be called back.

Kemar Lawrence comes in at the start of the 2nd half for Aaron Long, who rolled his ankle and could not continue. Knowing he was unwell, this development was disconcerting, but Lawrence quickly showed that he was feeling fine. Then the advantage increased: Union midfielder Derrick Jones received a straight red in the 53rd minute for a dangerous foul on Felipe, who is the most fouled player in the league. Unfortunately, RBNY could make no progress for more than 30 minutes of play against a team of 10.

Argentinian midfielder Gonzalo Veron was subbed in for Daniel Royer (84′). He doesn’t get many minutes, and it’s not clear why. Especially when he clearly changes the game. He created a chance almost immediately after coming on, but nothing came of it until the 87th minute, when BWP *finally* got in front of defenders and scored, ending a 524-minute goalless streak on the road). Then came an almost carbon-copy goal from BWP in the 92nd minute. Veron was a factor in both goals. Sounds like he’s a real game-changer…

In more pressing matters, the next installment of the Hudson River Derby will be played against NYCFC at Red Bull Arena this coming Saturday. As for the Union, they come back to RBA on June 28th for the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt Open Cup. I’d like to see more of what I’ve been seeing.

Featured image courtesy: New York Red Bulls facebook

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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A Homecoming Dance to Remember

Sylvana - NY Red Bulls
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, April 29: 2-1 Win

The New York Red Bulls (5-3-1, 16 points) faced a revitalized Chicago Fire (3-3-2, 11 points) at a well-attended Autism Awareness Night, amid discussion about supporter’s group sanctions, continued injuries, a legendary Designated Player (Bastian Schweinsteiger, World Cup and Bundesliga champion), and the return of previous RBNY captain Dax McCarty.

I still remember the moment I learned McCarty had been traded to the Chicago Fire.

An English teacher by trade, I treasure that Dead Poets Society reference. So I cleared my schedule when I learned the date of McCarty’s return to Red Bull Arena. There were many posters and signs for “The Ginger Ninja,” and he was up to the task of bringing the excitement that made him a fan favorite in RBA. But it was the home team who struck first: Striker Bradley Wright-Phillips scored off a cross from Dani Royer (37’) and brought the crowd to their feet. BWP’s 73rd career goal, he just keeps building his resume as a future all-time club legend.

As expected, Schweinsteiger was a force to be reckoned with, even after a head-to-head collision with defender Damien Perrinelle left them both bleeding and momentarily out of the game. But it was the interaction with midfielder Felipe that made a lasting impact. Head referee Hilario Grajeda had to pull them both aside in the first half, ultimately issuing a yellow card to Felipe in the 81st minute.

While Goalkeeper Luis Robles made 4 huge saves, his most recent run of clean sheets ran out in the 59th minute with a strike from Fire forward Nemanja Nikolic, with the assist from—who else?—Dax McCarty. Though Robles argued a missed foul by David Accam, there was nothing to be done except applaud RBNY’s former hero and charge on.

RBNY Designated Player Gonzalo Veron, in his first appearance since he was sidelined by injury, came on for Alex Muyl in the 65th minute and tried to make his presence known, a welcome sight for many fans. But it was defenders Kemar Lawrence and Damien Perrinelle who had the breakthrough moment, with Lawrence scoring his first RBNY goal this season in the 71st minute. The home team was able to hold on for the remainder of the game, including 5 minutes of stoppage time to give them all 9 points in their run of home games this month.

And although it was a bitter pill to swallow, Dax McCarty returned the love he had been given by remaining on the field long after the final whistle, signing autographs and taking selfies as if he was home. And in a way, he still was.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

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Subscribe + get caught up: Weekly Dispatch 2017