Well, it’s been quite an underwhelming and frankly disappointing few weeks here in MetroBull land. After the come-from-ahead loss to Seattle and a drubbing at the hands of the Dynamo, a win was what the Bulls needed. It came in the US Open Cup at home against the Atlanta Silverbacks, where Sean Davis was impressive in capping off the 3-0 with the final goal, and an impressive 45 minutes to boot. Many Red Bull cognoscenti thought that was to be a catalyst for a return to winning ways in the league, alas the Soccer Gods certainly were not on our side. Two missed penalties, a red card from a usually cool-as-a-cucumber Kljestan:
and two counter attacks from Vancouver was all it took to dump us back on our butts.
To be honest, I won’t even go into ratings for the Bulls this time around as I’m too disappointed and there weren’t many displays on the pitch worth lauding. Disappointed in the fact that our most clinical striker can’t finish TWO gift-wrapped opportunities, that Kljestan would allow Waston’s thuggish techniques to frustrate him, and disappointed that Marsch and Co. showed no discernable reaction or push to try to win the damn game at home. This match would have been an entirely different beast if Kljestan doesn’t get himself thrown out. Even after that missed penalty, there was a goal to be had for the Bulls; once we went down to 10 men and gave up the opener not even five minutes later, that scenario went out the window. I can’t, and won’t, defend
I can’t, and won’t, defend Sacha in this case, as there’s obvious video footage of him elbowing, trying to kick, and then stepping on Waston’s toe, BUT we can point at Waston’s deplorable dive and simulation of what clearly did not affect him in the least. The hardest blow of them all didn’t cause him to budge, yet Sacha kiiiiind of stepping on his toe was the fatal blow, causing the giant to tumble to Earth. Sacha probably weighs 160 pounds soaking wet with rocks in his pockets. Waston is a 6’3″ beast and is likely closer to 200 pounds, let’s stop pretending you were hurt, or even effected, by Kljestan at all and focus on your smarmy, child-like embellishment. Apparently Waston’s weak spot is his big toe, target that spot and you’ll be good…take note New England.
In this post-match interview, Robles says he thinks they reacted well after the first goal – I’m sorry but I have to disagree wholeheartedly. There seemed to be an audible groan bubbling up from the squad after the first was scored, as if to say “why us?!” for our rapidly declining fortunes in the match – well, recent matches would probably be more accurate. Yes, this game can be frustrating, but at the same time, we HAVE to take our opportunities when we get them. We will certainly not be creating the same number of chances this year with Henry and the player “gravity” he exerts over defenders, sucking them out of position. Without Henry’s ‘pull’, there’s much less space for BWP to operate in and find the gaps he found last year, making finishing the chances we get this year that much more important. This leads me to Marsch, the man tasked with creating a system from which we can create these chances and stop other teams from creating them. First of all, when you’re down a goal, and a man, you shouldn’t really be looking to make a change in defense. Outside of the two counters, the backline looked pretty sharp this time out – notice how Ouimette was absent from a decent backline performance?
I understand that this was only Zubar’s second start since the first match of the season and Marsch may have wanted to limit his minutes to 60-70, but when you go a man down 10 minutes in, that plan goes out the window. Zubar was visibly upset to be taken off, probably because he was playing quite well and knew we were pushing for an equalizer, not someone to lock down the back. I know Abang was put on at half for Zizzo for some attacking impetus, but to throw away one of your only two subs left on a defensive alteration is just bonkers to me:
Abang did bag a goal, quite well-taken to be honest:
And staked his claim for more minutes, or even a shift in the team tactics to start up top next to BWP. Hunger and the desire to prove something could be huge motivators for Abang, as well as Manolo Sanchez, a 2015 SuperDraft choice and another late game addition. Sanchez was very sharp at the end of the match, almost snatching a winner off a counter as well, and is giving RBNY fans some reassurance that there are other options off the bench beside Dane. Even though these guys are making a name for themselves with the Baby Bulls in the USL, our lack of squad depth is eye-searingly obvious. With NYCFC set to unveil Andrea F**KING Pirlo on Friday, our squad looks even more like the beat up old Fiat (the old incarnations, not the shiny new remodels) next to the rest of the league’s squads rides that other ownership groups are modifying and tuning constantly. While ManCity Lite awaits the arrival of their other two DPs, we’re over here trialing youth national team busts, and English Championship youth-team discards. I know Curtis came in with his behemoth plan to create a “synergistic, dynamic, energized” squad on a budget, but I had no idea we’d be shopping for players at Dollar General and Big Lots for f**k’s sake. Can we at least take a look in Wal-Mart or something??
Not much time for the Bulls to lick their wounds as they’re back on the pitch come Wednesday night against RSL. Let’s hope the toll of their physical matchup against Sporting last night and a cross country flight is enough for our boys to gain some sort of advantage. Time to pick ourselves up out of the muck and get our heads straight before Saturday’s epic clash against Man City Lite in the Bronx. I surely hope we don’t go in there and lay an egg like we did this past weekend, there’s a lot going into the derby match – pride, urgency, team morale. Let’s hope the Bulls show everyone that New York City is RED!
Next match: Wednesday June 24th- 7PM @ Red Bull Arena
Hands clasped we pray for olé….No video this time around as I couldn’t find visual evidence of it, but my favorite goal against RSL has to be Dave van Den Bergh’s winner in the Western (yes, WESTERN) Conference finals in 2008 to send us to our first, and only, MLS Cup appearance so far. So wherever you are, thank you Dave, you had the speed of a Dutch canal boat and the left foot of a God!