If only the Blues had been as successful on the pitch in New York as they have been off it then they would have won the Barclays Challenge hands down.
Sadly that wasn’t the case as two defeats from as many outings left Roberto Mancini’s side bottom of the pile in the four-team tournament.
Not that there were too many scowls in the camp for as many as ten top class players have yet to see pre-season action and all the youngsters on tour have been given a chance to shine and ink their names into Mancini’s notebook.
Expectation levels in terms of performance will be cranked up a notch in Atlanta in midweek and then again in Baltimore where Club America and Inter Milan lie in wait.
As much as it worked against them on the opening day the weather gave the Blues a break last night. A thunderstorm clearing the air minutes before kick-off
But it was the Bulls who began like lightning, striking in just the seventh minute after City were undone down the left by Dane Richards whose pace took him beyond Bridge allowing a stinging low cross to be turned in by the lunging Macoumba Kandji.
Only two minutes earlier the Blues had gone close themselves but a lovely passing move ended with Jo hitting the goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul from close range.
Roberto Mancini again chose to give the kids a chance to prove themselves with Dedryck Boyata at the heart of the defence alongside Ben Mee and Andrew Tutte in midfield with Scott Kay. A fifth member of the under 21 brigade, Alex Tchuimeni-Nimely played up front.
It was a last outing for some of the kids for all but three of them will return home before the Atlanta and Baltimore legs of the tour.
Emmanuel Adebayor was City’s most effective player in the opening half and brought another fine save from Coundoul who got a strong hand to it. Jo couldn’t react quickly enough to convert the rebound.
The Brazilian atoned for any tardiness in the 55th minute when he flicked home substitute Greg Cunningham’s cross for an equaliser.
Parity though lasted just a quarter of an hour before Richards scored the best goal of the weekend firing in off the bar from 25-yards out.
Adam Johnson shone in the second half for City but Nimely missed the best chance to salvage a draw in the final five minutes.
RED BULLS: Coundoul, Miller, Ream, Mendes, Hall, Stammler, Lindpere, Robinson, Richards, Henry, Kandji.
CITY: Hart (Taylor 46), Onuoha, Boyata (Lescott 63), Mee (Toure 63), Bridge (Bellamy 82), Tutte, Kay (Zabaleta 81), Ireland (Cunningham 46), Tchuimeni-Nimely, Jo (A. Johnson 63), Adebayor.
GOALS: Red Bulls - Kandji (7mins), Richards (70)
City – Jo (55mins)
BOOKED: Red Bulls – Hall (30mins)
REFEREE: Michael Kennedy (USA)