The dreams and wishes of New York City soccer fans came true Saturday, as the Red Bulls opened up their new soccer only stadium, Red Bull Arena.
No longer will they be forced to walk a game played on artificial turf, on a narrow field, in an empty stadium. Now they have their own stadium on a field that was slightly too narrow. Now they have their own 25,00 seat stadium that will be the envy of all the other MLS teams.
Saturday night, the New York Red Bulls christened their new stadium with a 3-1 win over Santos of Brazil in front of a sold-out stadium.
Joel Lindpere goes into the history books as scoring the first goal in Red Bull Arena when he scored off the rebound of his own free kick in the 11th minute, Mike Petke added a goal in the 43rd and Dane Richards made it 3-0 two minutes later. Germano headed in a consolation goal for Santos in the 90th minute.
New York was without its star Juan Pablo Angel, who missed the game through injury and already their is speculation as to what European star will join Angel in New York. Two possibilities are Barcelona’s Thierry Henry and Real Madrid’s Raul Gonzalez. All Red Bulls sporting director Dietmar Beiersdorfer would say on that is:
“It should be the beginning of a new era in New York soccer,” Red Bulls sporting director Dietmar Beiersdorfer said. “For sure we are also working on one other player maybe to strengthen our team.”
The Red Bulls averaged only 12,491 fans for league home games last year and MLS needs a successful team in New York. Red Bulls Arena is one sign that MLS is committed to making soccer successful in the U.S.’s biggest market.