As the Red Bulls prepared for the final game in their whirlwind tour on the West Coast; a tour that had seen 14 goals over three matches, a controversial red card to Thierry Henry, GK Greg Sutton seemingly uncomfortable, a team that seems to be ripping at the seams and a Coach that was quickly running out of options.
The game seemed to lack the luster and excitement that the previous matches against Portland and Seattle had brought; at least in those games, the boys in white seemed to put up a fight. However in this match against Chicago Fire, a team with which RBNY has met 38 times, and only won 11 of those, while the Fire clinched 20 matches. A team which RBNY has never defeated at home; fans were hoping that the team would close off their tour with a win worth talking about.
The first half saw RBNY take the lead in the 38th minute with a goal from Joel Lindpere, and fans found themselves elated. Did RBNY actually stand a chance against this team? Could RBNY hold onto the lead with GK Bouna Coundoul guarding the net, after Greg Sutton’s risky play over the last two matches?
It would prove too much for Coundoul as the Fire’s Pappa found the net in the 58th minute, with a goal that could easily have been saved. And once again the social networks lit up; the fans clearly upset with their DP options. Coundoul did show why he was still on the team in the 80th minute, with a save that can best be described as stellar, and a block that would keep the Red Bulls alive in this match. Watching the game, it became clear that Luke Rodgers is sorely missed at the top. The Bulls need his energy and desire to score, hopefully alongside Thierry Henry, who seemed to be in pain yesterday as he walked off the field.
The game would end in a tie, both teams taking a point home, which places RBNY in second spot behind Philadelphia Union. More importantly though, the question of RBNY’s bench is one that needs to be explored; Backe seems almost nervous to use players that RBNY has on the bench. Sure, they may be young and inexperienced, but why even sign them if they are not to be used? Mike Jones made his MLS debut yesterday against the Fire; the youngster joined RBNY on June 18th from Sporting Kansas, and already had the chance to play on the field, while there are players who have been benched for months. The bench should be filled with options that a coach has confidence in, or is that the wrong assumption?
News just broke that Dwayne De Rosario has been traded for D.C’s Dax McCarty; as much as fans have faith in their coach, this trade has raised a ton of questions. With a team in clear disarray without their starting lineup, RBNY would trade a player that has assisted with goals, seemed to find chemistry with both Henry and Rodgers and actually seemed hungry for a win?
“In Backe we trust”- at this point fans are indifferent, with many citing the inevitable; wouldn’t it be ironic if De Ro went on to score the winning goal like Macoumba Kandji did for the Rapids after being traded from RBNY. Could it be that the bench that we thought was deep enough to hold us over in case of injury and international call ups was not so deep after all? Only the second half of this season will tell.
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