A friendly between Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls and Sweden's Malmö FF was anything but friendly in the final preseason scrimmage at IMG Academy. The match was indistinguishable from a regular season game with the level of physicality displayed by the two top squads. However, Malmö was able to get on the board quickly when midfielder Erik Friberg netted a goal within the first two minutes of play. The match went back and forth for another 25 minutes before New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry scored a goal in the 27th minute with an assist from forward Fabian Espindola.
After halftime, Malmö FF began subbing out its starters, while the Red Bulls began the second half with a complete lineup change. Playing against New York's younger players and trialists, Malmö regained the lead in the 52nd minute when striker Darden Rexhepi scored to bring the tally to 2-1 in Malmö's favor. That score remained in place all the way up until the 86th minute when forward Amando Moreno tied the game up at 2-2. The tie did not last long, because one minute later, trialist Raphael Domingues took advantage of a defensive breakdown for the easy score, and a 3-2 Red Bulls victory.
"They were a very organized team, we knew they would be - a very disciplined team, but after the first 10 to 15 minutes of the game, we got control of the game," remarked head coach Mike Petke on the match. "The so-called reserve second team-trialists, they came to play. They were eager and hungry, and showed it in the second half."
It was the second win for the Red Bulls during their stay at IMG Academy, and the culmination of a successful preseason training period that afforded them the opportunity to play a non-MLS team.
For defender Kosuke Kimura, the first Japanese-born player to ever play in the MLS, it was a rewarding experience to train at IMG Academy.
"It's a great facility and great to have the opportunity to come out here, train every day," Kimura commented. "The fields are unbelievable and with the [weather] like this, it's huge for everybody and I think everyone should take advantage of [IMG Academy]."
Kimura continued: "To have D.C. United, Columbus Crew and Malmö all here has been great, and I think we need to keep spreading the word to bring more people here to have bigger scrimmages like this in the preseason."
More photos from the match: