The Red Bulls (2-0-0) hadn't won a regular-season road game since May 10, 2008, and surprisingly prevailed.
Sounders FC fans had to feel somewhat confident Saturday hosting a team that hadn’t won a Major League Soccer road game in two years.
But a rocking crowd of 36,066 left Qwest Field disappointed after New York stunned Seattle 1-0 behind a first-half goal by forward Macoumba Kandji.
The Red Bulls (2-0-0) hadn’t won a regular-season road game since May 10, 2008, and surprisingly prevailed without the guidance of first-year coach Hans Backe, who missed the match due to stomach pains.
New York’s winless streak of 29 road games (0-21-8) was a league record.
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Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller, however, said this year’s Red Bulls are nothing like past teams.
“It’s night and day between that team and last year’s team, the way they’re organized and fighting for one another and the way they worked hard,” Keller said.
The visitors took a 1-0 lead in the 21st minute when Kandji gathered a loose ball in the Sounders FC penalty box and fired a shot that bounced off the bottom of the crossbar past Keller into the net.
Red Bulls newcomer Joel Lindpere set up the goal with a corner kick, but no Seattle defender was around to clear the ball before it reached Kandji.
“We’ve got to do a better job of clearing the first ball swung in,” said Sounders FC coach Sigi Schmid, whose team had shut out four of its past five opponents at home.
The Sounders FC (1-1-0) had several chances to score throughout the game, and set a team record with 12 corner kicks, but could never break through despite taking 17 shots. The finishing was reminiscent of the team’s late-season struggles last year.
Seattle’s best chance came in the 69th minute when forward Steve Zakuani darted through the New York defense and fired a shot that was saved on a diving effort by goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul.
“Coundoul came up with a couple of big saves,” Schmid said.
In the 71st minute, Tyrone Marshall’s header of a free kick went just wide. Five minutes later Freddie Ljungberg missed wide with a header of his own.
“This was still one of those where we should’ve had the game and been out of here with three points, or at least a point,” said midfielder Brad Evans. “This will probably be one of those where you look back and think we should’ve had that one.”
Last year, the Red Bulls finished 5-19-6, by far the worst record in the league. Their 27 goals scored, with just three coming on the road, were also MLS low marks.
The road win for New York was even more impressive considering Seattle’s home dominance, which included a 7-2-6 record at Qwest Field last season and a record-breaking year in attendance.
“We knew we weren’t going to go undefeated,” Zakuani said. “We were going to lose a game at some stage. And we’ve lost now. It definitely hurts, and we’re going to go home and think about this. Losing at home in front of the fans is never good.”
• Pat Noonan made his Sounders FC debut in the 56th minute as a substitute for Roger Levesque. Rookie David Estrada, the team’s first-round draft pick out of UCLA, made his debut in the 83rd minute after making the 18-man game-day roster for the first time in his career.
• Two Seattle regulars that had been battling injuries this week started: Ljungberg (lower back) and defender James Riley (hamstring).
• Seattle reserve Taylor Graham and technical director Chris Henderson have each played for New York in the past.
• Sounders FC plays at Real Salt Lake next Saturday in the team’s first road game on the regular season.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Red Bulls 1, Sounders FC 0
|New York||1 0 — 1|
|Seattle||0 0 — 0|
First half — 1, New York, Kandji 1, 21st minute. Second half — None. Goalies — New York, Bouna Coundoul; Seattle FC, Kasey Keller. Shots — Seattle 17, N.Y. 10. Shots on goal — Seattle 5, N.Y. 4. Saves — N.Y. 5, Seattle 3. Fouls — N.Y. 22, Seattle 9. Corner kicks — N.Y. 3, Seattle 12. Offsides — Seattle 3, N.Y. 2. Yellow cards — Ljungberg, Seattle FC, 10th; Petke, New York, 35th; Kandji, New York, 62nd; Riley, Seattle FC, 63rd. Referee — Kevin Stott. A — 36,066 (32,400)
New York — Bouna Coundoul, Jeremy Hall, Tim Ream, Roy Miller, Mike Petke, Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards, Seth Stammler, Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Danleigh Borman, 79th), Juan Pablo Angel, Macoumba Kandji (Conor Chinn, 93th+).
Seattle FC — Kasey Keller, Tyrone Marshall, Leo Gonzalez (David Estrada, 83rd), James Riley, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani (Sanna Nyassi, 76th), Osvaldo Alonso, Freddie Ljungberg, Roger Levesque (Pat Noonan, 56th), Fredy Montero.