To everyone's surprise, the New York Red Bulls, $14 million in the hole last season (according to various reports), synonymous for years with underachieving, are looking like the best team in Major League Soccer in 2007. For that, a huge shout out has to go to Coach Bruce Arena, and for several reasons. The additions of Claudio Reyna in center midfield and Ronald Waterreus in goal have made a huge difference for the team defensively. Reyna's leadership in the middle of the park -- his passing, tackling, and excellent positioning -- combined with Waterreus' steady presence in goal have had a calming, confidence-building effect on the back line, which has been impressively organized in its first four games.
The addition of Hunter Freeman at right back has also proved to be a good
one. His thumping strike in the 79th minute ensured yet another hard-fought victory for the Bulls, who were severely underhanded up top after Clint Mathis' controversial dismissal on Sunday. Indeed,
Jozy Altidore looked a little isolated up front, and the Bulls labored to make many meaningful attacks from open play. Then again, so did Dallas, which seldom got in behind the Bulls back four, and
when they did, Waterreus stopped the FCD attacks confidently. It was another great win from a team that finally -- finally -- is looking like a unit. The undefeated, un-scored upon Bulls, now 3-0-1,
are all alone at the top of the Eastern Conference. They also have a new league record: 360 minutes without conceding a goal at the start of the regular season.