HARRISON, N.J. — New stadium, new attitude, new result for the New York Red Bulls.
Estonian midfielder Joel Lindpere scored on a sparkling 19-yard shot in the 40th minute of his Major League Soccer debut, and New York opened the season by beating the Chicago Fire 1-0 Saturday night in the first official match at $200 million Red Bull Arena.
"I thought Seattle last year was unbelievable. Toronto is always unbelievable. This brings it to a new level with the noise that's generated underneath the roof and echoing," Red Bulls defender Mike Petke said. "It's the way a sporting event should be."
It was 39 degrees at game time, 34 degrees cooler than the previous Saturday when the stadium opened with a 3-1 exhibition win over Brazil's Santos. Perhaps that's why there were pockets of empty blue seats at the 25,000-seat, two-deck stadium, where attendance was announced at 24,572.
There were few good chances before the goal by Lindpere, a 28-year-old signed last month on a free transfer from Tromso in the Norwegian Arctic.
"It was my weather. I hope it stays like this," Lindpere said before quickly adding — "just kidding."
New York goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul made a leaping save to deny Mike Banner on a free kick from just behind the arc in the 61st minute, then stopped Baggio Husidic on the rebound. He made an easy stop on Patrick Nyarko's 10-yard header in the 79th.
Former U.S. national team star Brian McBride nearly put Chicago ahead in the 23rd minute with an 18-yard bicycle kick that went on a hop off the post to Coundoul's right. Chicago outshot New York 17-11, including 13-5 in the second half.
"I think we caused a few more problems. Unfortunately, we didn't get that first goal," McBride said. "Defensively, I thought we were very solid. We still created a few opportunities, and I'm sure we can create more."
Lindpere, who has five goals in 74 appearances for Estonia, scored after he brought the ball downfield and played it to Danleigh Borman on the left. Borman's cross was chested out by a defender to Lindpere, and the left-footed player sent a right-footed shot over rookie goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra, who leaped and may have gotten a fingertip on it.
"I hadn't thought he had a right foot," Red Bulls coach Hans Backe said.
"I don't have," he said. "It's for walking."
The game marked the MLS debuts of both coaches: former Notts County manager Backe for the Red Bulls and former El Salvador coach Carlos del los Cobos for the Fire.
The 24-year-old Dykstra got his first MLS start after the Fire released Jon Busch, who had played every league match the previous two years. The Fire was playing its first official match since Cuauhtemoc Blanco left after three seasons for Mexico's Veracruz.
Forward Collins John, signed to pair at forward with former Fulham teammate McBride, entered in the 54th minute for Salvadoran midfielder Julio Martinez, who also made his Fire debut. McBride said it felt a little like a Craven Cottage reunion.4 comments on this story
DYNAMO 1, FC DALLAS 1: At Frisco, Texas, Atiba Harris scored in the 38th minute and FC Dallas tied Houston. Harris dribbled around Dynamo defender Bobby Boswell and curled a right-footed shot from 15 yards away into the right corner of the net. Two minutes earlier, the Dynamo took a 1-0 lead after Mike Chabala scored his first career MLS goal in the 36th minute. Chabala took a sliding shot from the top of the penalty box with his right foot that landed inside the left corner of the net.
CREW 2, TORONTO FC 0: At Columbus, Ohio, Guillermo Barros Schelotto scored one goal and assisted on another to lead Columbus. The Crew went ahead in the 29th minute. Andy Iro was 7 yards in front of the goal when he took a free kick from Schelotto that started near the right sideline. Iro headed the ball toward the left post and the ball skipped once before crossing the goal line. Schelotto got the insurance goal in the 87th into an open net after goalkeeper Stefan Frei collided with Crew defender Danny O'Rourke on the fringe of the penalty area.
WIZARDS 4, UNITED 0: At Kansas City, Ryan Smith had a goal and an assist in his Major League Soccer debut for Kansas City. Smith, who left English side Crystal Palace earlier this year when his contract expired, assisted on Davy Arnaud's first-half goal for a 2-0 lead and made it 3-0 with a putback in the 54th minute.
GALAXY 1, REVOLUTION 0: At Carson, Calif., forward striker Edson Buddle linked up with Landon Donovan for a goal in the sixth minute, and the Galaxy held on the rest of the way to open the 2010 season with a victory. Donovan, who recently returned from a loan with Everton FC of the English Premier League, whipped in a free kick from the left side, and Buddle rose well to head it home.