Red Bull New York: the Artists Formerly Known as….
So, after two bye weeks bookending big wins against the Scum at home and Columbus Crew SC on the road, the Bulls were back on the road to visit DC once again.
Sidenote: MLS schedulers, what was going on in your brains? Two bye weeks within the first four weeks of the season, and showcasing the league’s most heated rival twice in the first five weeks? Just seems like shoddy scheduling to me, especially since the rivalry will be put on hold for four months, until August at RBA once again. Rant over and back to the subject at hand, the Scum.
While this match wasn’t the prettiest, nor the best executed by the boys early in this landmark season for MLS, we got a result. On the road, that’s what matters. On top of that, being down two goals and seeing our boys rally back for a point shows an immense amount of heart. Especially the way in which the tying goal was scored:
You have to love Lloyd Sam’s dedication and hustle to get to that ball. It’s a simple thing, but ensuring you follow your, or your teammate’s, shot is a selfless way to make your own luck. Coming in the 90th minute, the match was capped off on a high, here are the rest of the performances from the boys on Saturday:
Squad and Ratings:
GK Luis Robles – 6 – Can’t be faulted for either goal, as Dax lost Kitchen on the first goal, and the midfield didn’t do enough to challenge him outside the 18 on his second. Sadly that’s sometimes how keepers’ games go. They don’t see much of the ball most games, but when you’re faced with only 5 shots on target and 2 are undefendable, many will tend to say it was a poor performance. It was far from that, and we all know better than that. Let’s hope the defense does more to help Luis out against San Jose on Friday.
D Kemar Lawrence – 6.5 – Speed, speed, and more speed. Man, this kid has legs. Is he a bit raw and lacking a bit of technical skill? Sure. But in this league, speed can be absolutely deadly, and he uses it perfectly to contain his opponent. Works his butt off every game and in Marsch’s system, that goes a LONG way.
D Damien Perrinelle – Bagged his first MLS goal sparking a comeback for the boys and was steady at the back. Despite the two goals coming directly down the middle of the pitch, he wasn’t at fault for either. Once again showed off his ability to read the game and anticipate passes, making the sustained high-pressure offense once again cause problems for DC’s backline.
D Matt Miazga – 7 – Once again ALL over the field intercepting balls and clearing dangerous play. He’s really grabbed a hold of the spot with Zubar gone and it will be interesting to see if he holds his spot against the Quakes.
D Chris Duvall – 6 – Another decent runout from Duvall, but we’re seeing him become a little slide-tackle happy. There were a few occasions where he went into tackles a bit too recklessly for my liking. Needs to lock it down defensively a bit more as his role going forward seems to be slightly diminished under Marsch so far.
M Felipe – 6.5 – Quiet night from the Brazilian in terms of affecting attacking play, but showed his worth once again in the gritty areas of the midfield. Tied – with Damien Perinelle of all people – for the most fouls suffered in this match with 3, all of them came right in the middle of the pitch (screengrab courtesy of MLSSoccer.com/Opta):
This ultimately slows the game down to protect our backline when they’re exposed for a counter and is a vital piece of tactical nous that goes a long way to retaining possession. This is one of the most underrated things that Felipe does – he works to control and retain the ball for the squad, so we can continue to push our attack up the field, while camping out in the opposing half. While I did like and appreciate everything Eric Alexander did for us, Felipe does all of that and more, but better.
M Dax McCarty (SUBBED) – 6 – Lax on defending Perry Kitchen when he stuck in his first-half header, but otherwise the reliable metronome in the middle of the park. Lacked a bit of the creative flair he’d been showing up until this past week hopefully the return to the friendly confines of Red Bull Arena will bring out the vintage Ginger Ninja we all know and love.
M Sacha Kljestan – 6 – Well worked free-kick at the death to provide Sam the opportunity for the game-tying goal, but he’s still a little too slow on the ball/releasing his teammates. Although he did begin his career in MLS, the league has evolved since he left for Belgium, and here’s hoping he’s just finding his feet. He couldn’t have a better central midfield duo to help prop him up during his transition period though.
M Lloyd Sam – 7.5 – A livewire throughout, and exemplified the fight that’s in this squad with his hustle in the 90th minute for the tying goal. I’ve been saying it throughout all of the match reports so far, but Lloyd is flourishing this year. Keep your eyes peeled because the Englishman is going to have a stellar year.
M Mike Grella (SUBBED) – 6 – He seems to have an off game for every game he plays well. While this could be seen as a detriment, if we can get his counterpart, Zizzo, to do the same but on the opposite schedule from Grella, we could have a nice little rotation at left mid. That being said, he wasn’t bad, it’s just that some of his decision-making is a bit too risky, especially when he’s trying to beat someone off the dribble at half field. It’s a nice thought Mike, but let’s try to do that in the attacking third so we don’t get countered incessantly, mkay?
F – BWP – 6.5 – No goal this time out, but he’s still showing us what he means to this team. Works his butt off every night and sets the tone for our attacking press. I loved his attempt to break Lassiter/Wondo’s record – well he’s turned that duo of record holders into a triumvirate – but I’ll gladly accept a lower haul for BWP if he continues to integrate himself into the attack as he has so far. Last year we were akin to a two-headed dragon – Henry and BWP – if one of those heads gets cut off, the danger our attack posed was severely depleted. This year, with goals coming from all over the pitch, and a sharp BWP waiting for defenses to give him a yard of space, we’re on track to be an even more dangerous squad.
M – Dane Richards – 6 – Didn’t do anything wrong when he came on for Dax, which was a shock in and of itself, but didn’t have much of an effect on the play. It must be said that he looks much more calm and collected on the ball when he’s in possession, he seems to have upped tactical acumen during his stint abroad.
F Sal Zizzo – 7 – Replaced a fizzling Grella and wasn’t able to conjure up much else in his 25 minutes on the pitch. The pooling of Grella and Zizzo on the left has paid some dividends, now only if Zizzo would put his finishing boots on when he’s on the pitch, we’d be in business.
MGR Jesse Marsch – Two comebacks in back to back matches? Well done Jesse. Do I like the fact that we’ve gone down first both times? Of course not, but if he’s got the guys on his side like it surely seems he does, and the system continues to work to the squad’s strengths, the sky’s the limit!
Next Match: Friday 4/17 – SJ Earthquakes – Red Bull Area – 7PM
Hands clasped, we pray for olé…being in different conferences, the MetroBulls don’t often play San Jose with regularity like the rest of the Eastern Conference, but here’s a gem from Dane Richards from the days after the Quakes’ reincarnation in Houston as the Dynamo:
Gosh he runs funny doesn’t he?? Like he’s hiding a loaf of bread down his shorts! This one sent us to the 2008 MLS Cup Final – which we promptly lost to an underwhelming Columbus side….