Red Bull New York: the Artists Formerly Known as….
My apologies for the dearth of posts, I’ve been traveling for work and found it hard to disguise writing these posts as me doing actual work. I’m back now though and ready to expound on last night’s match! After back-to-back draws within the friendly confines of RBA, most of the squad and fanbase is disappointed in the results as the feeling is both games should have ended in wins. LA was fortunate to have Jaime “The Panamanian Wall” Penedo in the sticks on Sunday to repel multiple efforts, saving Omar “The Most Overhyped DP in MLS” Gonzalez his blushes from a poor performance. The boys were unable to take any momentum from their quality of play on Sunday into last night’s match, and Colorado’s approach was spot-on.
Colorado came into Harrison with an astute tactical plan and executed it perfectly. Had it not been for horrendous finishing from Dominique Badji and Luis Robles’ continued brick wall impression, the unbeaten streak would have been broken. Even though the boys walked away with a tie, it felt quite like a loss. Without any further wallowing, let’s get on to the recap…
Another ugly match for the boys, as our finishing failed us, our defense was uncharacteristically shaky, and our killer instinct appeared to have abandoned us. Kljestan hit the post, Felipe dragged his shot wide on a beautiful chance, and BWP was entirely too unselfish once again. While walking away with two ties and still being the only unbeaten in the league is nice, it’s hard to shake the feeling that these feel like losses, especially when you have almost 70% possession. I know that possession does not equal goals or wins, but having the ball versus not having it, it always a plus. We need to convert domination in possession to chances and ultimately goals.
Based on the balance of play in both the LA match and last night’s tilt, the boys should have walked away with 6 points instead of 2, but that’s the cruelty of this sport coupled with the Soccer Gods’ fickle emotions. On the plus side, we’re still undefeated, on the other hand, it appears teams are finding ways to combat and counter our high-pressing tactics, and our boys’ performances last night reflect that.
Squad and Ratings:
GK Luis Robles – 7 – Once again Luis carries the team on his back and almost single-handedly ensured we actually walked away with a point. Poor marking from Grella and Sam on the set piece allowed Torres a free header leaving Luis rooted to the spot and without blame. Came up HUGE on two one-on-one chances from Dominique Badji, and without his play we’d probably be nearer to the foot of the table than the top. Absolutely irreplaceable for us.
D Roy Miller – 6.5 – Good outing for Miller after the injury layoff as he got involved going forward and didn’t allow any service from his side. He looked lively and healthy, which is exactly what we need under Marsch’s high-press tactics.
D Damien Perrinelle – 5 – This was the first time this year where I believe we saw Damien’s limitations. His lack of speed, paired with Miazga’s inability to hit a fourth, or even fifth, gear is worrying. Colorado did well to counter our high-press in their defensive third through long-balls to Badji who used his pace and strength to carve out two great chances that he, fortunately, bungled. Fortunate not to be sent off and give away a PK, in two separate instances no less.
D Matt Miazga – 5.5 – His first truly poor outing this season as he was consistently poor with his positioning, marking, and passing. I’m not sure if he took it upon himself to continually hit long balls to BWP’s head, but his decision-making was poor again.
Look at all those long balls, all unsuccessful. Needs to rein in the wild challenges, as he could have easily been sent off for a few poor tackles as well.
D Chris Duvall – 6 – Bounced back from being completely victimized by Bradford Jamieson III on Sunday, to do quite well on the right flank. Got forward well, and was able to send in a number of dangerous crosses, even if that may not have been the best tactic with the hulking centerback pairing of Bobby Burling (6’4″) and Axel Sjoberg (6’7″) towering over our attackers. Still would like to see some more ingenuity in the final third from him as it seems his forays forward tend to have the same script: overlap Sam, receive the ball, attempt to shake defender, slam cross into box/off defender.
M Felipe – 6.5 – After a fortuitous bounce off his noggin’ for the tying tally against LA, Felipe was a less fortunate last night to not bag the winner in the 65th minute, pushing his attempt JUST wide. Logged his usual workman-like shift, winning balls, linking the midfield with BWP well, just was missing that final cutting ball or incisive finishing touch to cap off a good outing for the Brazilian.
M Dax McCarty (SUBBED) – 6 – Another semi-disappointing outing from Dax, as he was quite pedestrian against LA as well. He was lax with the ball in possession, putting a stutter in our attack’s tempo as well. While I didn’t think he had his best shift last night, I’m becoming increasingly disconcerted at the fact that Dane has been coming on for him (**ahem**, our CAPTAIN) in the last few matches.
I know Dax runs his ass off and certainly expends a ton of energy, but he doesn’t need to come off with almost 20 minutes left to go. The guy has been a late game catalyst since joining RBNY and I think it’s quite silly to sacrifice a player like Dax for an inconsistent Richards.
M Sacha Kljestan – 6 – Better from the new man, his left-footed curler had me on my feet in my hotel room shouting like a madman, but sadly luck was not on his side, seeing his drive ping the post and into Clint Irwin’s grateful arms. While he looked a bit better this time out, I’m still worried about his offensive thrust. It seems like he’s always a step slow or hitting weak passes to slow down our attacking forays. Maybe a positional switch with Felipe moving further upfield would benefit both Sacha and the attack. Felipe’s shown to have quite the engine and certainly likes to get involved in the attacking third, which would allow Sacha to pick out defense-splitting passes and see more of the field.
M Lloyd Sam (SUBBED) – 6 – A bit of a disappointment for Lloyd this time out, as Colorado did well to shut down his ability to find space on the wing, as well as when he cut in centrally to allow Duvall’s overlap. Seemed devoid of ideas in the final third, outside of his patented cut-back move. Fingers crossed this only fuels his fire and he comes out raring to go on Saturday against the Revs.
M Mike Grella (SUBBED) – 6.5 – Much better match from Grella this time out. He did very well to control the ball in the attacking third, hold it up and allow the rest of the midfield to get involved. Still not as incisive as one would hope from a winger, but he’s improving bit-by-bit each game. He’s not Thierry Henry, but he’s a workhorse, and in this system that’s invaluable.
F – BWP – 6.5 – Got himself a goal with the 30th minute PK, but outside of that, was entirely too unselfish for me. There were multiple instances in Colorado’s final third where he decided to try to connect with Felipe/Dax/Sacha/Grella/Zizzo rather than hitting a shot with the space he had. Should have finished the free header he had in extratime, but hindsight is 20/20. I still feel as if he’s stranded up top on a bit of an island; the aerial long-balls from Miazga and Perrinelle did nothing to bring him into the play, and you could see the frustration on his face at the lack of quality service. This needs to be fixed going forward, we cannot play a 4-5-1 and hope BWP makes chances for himself, that’s not the striker he is.
M – Dane Richards – 6 – Didn’t do much wrong, but then again didn’t really bring much to the table as a late spark. Should have had been clear through on goal in the 81st minute, but he limited tactical acumen showed in his inability to hold his run and stay onside.
F Sal Zizzo – 6 – Once again replaced Grella, and as the rotation has become standard, I’m inclined to just pencil in Mike Zella, or Sal Grizzo as our hybrid left midfielder every match. Didn’t quite make much of an impact on the match, maybe because he hasn’t gotten any sleep in the past few days?
MGR Jesse Marsch – Two more matches under his belt, and two more come-from-behind ties. It’s starting to worry me that his incarnation of our Red Bulls continually start off on the wrong foot and are playing catch-up. I’m convinced we would have won both of these matches had we not conceded two early goals. Something needs to change, and let’s hope Jesse’s got something up his sleeve for New England on Sunday. It will be interesting to see if he continues to use the press on the road, especially after how it fared at home.
Next Match: Saturday 5/2 @ New England – Time for revenge against Jermaine Jones and the rest of the thugs.
Hands clasped, we pray for olé…and this week’s gem comes from King Titi in a regular season match back in 2012….
Gosh I miss him….