Head coach Hans Backe of the New York Red Bulls will once again be leading a short-handed team Thursday when the Red Bulls face the Seattle Sounders. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)

Red Bulls Schedule: New York Beaten By Seattle Sounders, 4-2

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Sounders 4, Red Bulls 2: New York Suffers Third Defeat

The New York Red Bulls came back from an early two-goal deficit, but eventually succumbed, 4-2, to Seattle Sounders FC in front of 46,065 at CenturyLink Field. New York’s Dane Richards, playing in his first match after returning from CONCACAF Gold Cup duty, put his name on the scoresheet in the first half. The loss was only New York’s third of the season, as it stayed on 23 points off a 5-3-8 record and is tied atop the Eastern Conference with the Philadelphia Union.

The Sounders took the lead in the 11th minute. A Seattle corner kick was knocked out of the box to midfielder Erik Friberg, who cut it to his right foot and curled a shot past a screened Greg Sutton and into the back of the net. Seattle then doubled its advantage a minute later on a similar play, as Osvaldo Alonso’s left-footed volley from a Stephen Keel corner kick clearance deflected into the goal.

New York brought the game back to 2-1 in the 31st minute. Joel Lindpere slid it to Richards, who took a couple of touches before rifling an attempt from the corner of the penalty box that goalkeeper Kasey Keller got a piece of and could not keep out. The goal was Richards’ third of the 2011 campaign.

The Red Bulls drew level and gained momentum in the 58th minute thanks mainly through the efforts of defender Jan Gunnar Solli. De Rosario found the Norwegian on the right wing and Solli drove it towards goal, putting it between the legs of a Sounders defender and slinging a low pass into the six-yard box that Zach Scott put into his own net.

In the back and forth encounter, Seattle took the lead for good nine minutes later. Leo Gonzalez’s corner kick to the near post was nodded on by substitute Roger Levesque and into the goal. Levesque got his second with 12 minutes to play, blocking an attempted Sutton clearance at the top of the box, rounding the goalkeeper and knocking it into the empty net.

The Red Bulls continue their four-game road trip when they take on the Chicago Fire on Sunday afternoon at TOYOTA Park at 2 p.m. ET (TV: ESPN; Radio: WQBU 92.7 FM).

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