Three 2007 season is three weeks old and the New York Red Bulls have yet to concede a goal. After two wins in a row, Bruce Arena's Bulls have played some good stuff, but their defense has been most impressive, shutting out some of the league's top goal scorers last year: Carlos Ruiz and Kenny Cooper of FC Dallas, and Houston's Dwayne De Rosario and Brian Ching of Houston.
So what's different this year? "We're just working harder, working more as a team, talking more and demanding more out of each other," said central defender Jeff Parke. Maybe the Bulls are fed up with being labeled the league's perennial underachievers. "I think the whole team is gritting down and biting their teeth a little bit," winger Todd Dunivant said. "It's something that we stressed all preseason, that we had to get things right in the back...as a team right now we're not giving up a lot of chances, which is great."
Coach Bruce Arena, who's now had a full offseason to organize his players, credits the addition of Ronald Wattereus for settling his back line. "I think the leadership in goal has been good and our back line is maturing." Arena also singled out the performances of Todd Dunivant and newcomer Hunter Freeman for shutting down the Dynamo's flank play on Saturday. Houston, which had a man up for much of the game, failed to seriously test Wattereus the whole game.