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Red Bulls Still Need to Earn Their Fans
New York Times, April 28th, 2008 4PM

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The New York Times' George Vecsey calls Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls "the distinctive sports franchise in town." And that's not a good thing, not when the "distinction" is being trophy-less from a region not known "to coddle second-raters." It may be early days in the 2008 MLS season, but Vescey says Sunday's dismal attendance of 9,053 at cavernous Giants Stadium has as much to do with the Red Bulls' history as its typically mediocre 1-1-1 record heading into the match against the San Jose Earthquakes.

His point: every other New York-area sports team has won something, even the hapless New York Jets (albeit in 1969). Meanwhile, the Red Bulls have won just one playoff series in its 12-year history, in 2000, when they were still called the MetroStars. "Given the single-ownership structure of M.L.S., you would think the powers would have found a way to manipulate personnel so that the news media capital of the world would have a winning team," Vecsey says.

Nevertheless, there's still hope for this season. After throwing everything but the kitchen sink at the Earthquakes on Sunday, the injury-depleted Bulls still managed to pull away with a 2-0 victory. They left it late though, relying on the power and strength of 18-year-old sensation Jozy Altidore, who drew a penalty in the 77th minute and then converted an insurance goal in stoppage time. Still, it will probably take a string of consecutive wins for New York fans to get excited about the Bulls. Meanwhile, as Mike Magee, who converted the game-winning penalty, said after the match, "I get to play the game I love. I don't need fans."

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