“We started very well in the first 15 minutes, we looked hungry, really had a lot of energy”- Coach Hans Backe, this would summarize the game that brought fans a scintillating first half, and a second half that left little to the imagination.
On the first Wednesday home game for the New York Red Bulls, 18,081 fans came out to support their team, a team that seems to be veering off course after 4 consecutive wins and a much fresher tie-loss-tie combo to both Los Angeles squads and Houston.
In order to recoup a winning mentality and some much needed momentum RBNY had to face a bitter and everso recognizable foe, the Colorado Rapids, currently in 6th place in the MLS Western Conference and the team that ended their MLS Cup hopes in the first round of the playoffs last season.
The first half brought two teams who seemed eager to play, and by the 27th minute, Rapids found the net through the boot of Jeff Larentowicz, through a very questionable penalty. One that Backe said was definitely not a penalty kick, as it was clearly outside the 18 yard line.
This forced RBNY to attack, and they found Thierry Henry in the 29th minute, assisted by Dwayne De Rosario and Joel Lindpere. Rapids attacked without hesitation and it paid off, as merely 3 minutes later, Larentowicz found the net yet again, assisted by Pablo Mastroeni.
The excitement was evident throughout the stadium as fans were entranced by the back and forth which would end a minute later as Luke Rodgers equalized for RBNY in the 33rd minute. The last time 4 goals were seceded in 6 minutes was on March 28, 2009 when San Jose played Houston.
The score at halftime was 2-2 and would remain that way throughout a tedious second half that brought sheer frustration as RBNY could not seem to finish plays.
“It was a little bit sloppy” is how Coach Backe described it, stating that the team needs to be more creative. Furthermore, he said that the team did not look sharp in the second half and that there was no rhythm in their attacking game.
The Colorado Rapids seemed defensively too strong for RBNY, shutting down every play close to the goal, while finding their way to the goal in an effortless manner. Rapids had 10 shots on goal, double that of New York; a team that seemed defensively strong merely two weeks ago.
Medhi Ballouchy, who played his second full game of the season against the Rapids, stated that he believed the missing element is the movement of the ball from everyone.
Furthermore, he believes that the team needs to be more patient instead of forcing it when close to the goal. He chuckled as he admitted that going up against his old team was intense, and that he was looking forward to trash talking, but was just content with being able to play as he hasn’t started in quite some time.
Regarding his position on the field, he stated that he would prefer a spot in the top 3, but once again, just being content with playing said that whatever the coaching staff thought the best position for him would be, that he would work on it. “I am the last person to complain about playing”, so perhaps he will keep moving around until the ideal spot is found for him.
The game brought some frustration to both the fans, and Coach Backe as no team likes to lose at home, but some new tactics may be explored following the breakdown of RBNY’s defensive line.
With the next match against MLS new comers, the Vancouver Whitecaps, this Saturday the 28th in Vancouver, RBNY will be able to defend and maybe run away with 1st in place in the East.
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