February 1, 2013
AN ENCOURAGING START
Christianson scores 1st goal and scores with the coach for his overall play
BRADENTON, Fla. -- For his first game with the Red Bulls, rookie midfielder Ian Christianson certainly acquitted himself well.
|Ian Christianson: "I obviously felt there's a lot of room for improvement. It's a much higher level."
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Besides his goal -- which turned out to be the game-winner in a 2-0 pre-season victory over the Columbus Crew on Friday -- the Georgetown University product played his holding midfielder position well, which was encouraging to new head coach Mike Petke.
"We knew what type of player we got in Ian," Petke said, who added it was "just one game though. We're not going to start handing out awards and stuff. It's encouraging to see."
Particularly te 21-year-old Christianson's overall play in the middle of the park at IMG Academies.
"He was getting his head up, switching the point of play," Petke said. "He wasn't nervous. He wasn't rattled. He sat in his position very well and that's encouraging. That's something look at the future and say, all right, we have something here, we have a starting point."
Christianson's starting point was when he was selected by the Red Bulls in the second round of the MLS SuperDraft in Indianapolis two weeks ago.
The 5-11, 155-lb. came on at the start of the second half in the split-squad game on Friday.
"I felt pretty good," he said. "I obviously felt there's a lot of room for improvement. It's a much higher level. I felt really good to get in a game-time situation with just the team. Second half going in, we didn't want the level to drop. We wanted to raise if we could. We just wanted to stay organized and not chase the game. I think we did that fairly well."
Christianson's moment of glory came in the 80th minute when he headed home a Nick Paterson free kick. "I got a great ball," he said.
In the eight days he has training and played with the team, Christianson's confidence has grown.
"Definitely it's great to have your coach put confidence in you, especially so early in the season," he said, reiterating that he had a lot in which to improve. "There's about a month left in the pre-season. Just got to keep working hard and hopefully keep progressing and keep the coaches’ confidence and come through for him."
Christianson said his first two weeks with the team have "been great."
"The coach has been talking a lot about attitude and putting in the work," he said. "As far as any team I have been a part of, the attitude has been phenomenal, The veteran guys are working harder than anybody. That just kind of motivates us young guys and sets a real good example. As far as training, it has been very sharp and guys have been tuned in. So far the two weeks have been great."