Sunday - July 23, 2017
Home    About    Writers    Links    Contact     RSS

About the Author

Michelle Ackermann

Michelle Ackermann

Born in South Africa, soccer has always been a part of my life, and was pretty much ingrained in my genes. Journalism is my second love in life, and what better way to combine my two favorite things in life than to write about the one thing I am most passionate about. I follow the New York Red Bulls religiously, but have a deep passion for La Liga. This passion is part of the reason why I have moved to Barcelona to pursue my dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.


Frustration as the Red Bulls Defense Comes Unraveled Against the Colorado Rapids

Written by on May 26, 2011 | 13 Comments »
Posted in Colorado Rapids, General, MLS, New York RB

“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.

13 responses to “Frustration as the Red Bulls Defense Comes Unraveled Against the Colorado Rapids”

  1. Roberto Manita says:


    Sorry Michelle. Great article though.

    If I were Fergie & thinking outside the box:

    Play a 3-3-3-1 v Barça as follows.


    Use Park to do a man to man marking job on Messi (Rio can’t do that and his pressence in 2009 v FCB was wasted; he let a Messi header get past him in the box). Since Messi plays as a false 9, Rio’s presence is not required in this match. Much better to have Park cover Messi. If Park indeed has a third lung then why shouldn’t Fergie utilize it?

    FCB’s intention is to control the midfield with a diamond. If MU cannot counter this midfield supremacy the game is lost (just like 2009). In this 3-3-3-1 set-up, Rooney’s main job will be to hound Busquets, Giggs to keep an eye on Xavi, Carrick to cover the runs from deep from Iniesta, and Park to man mark Messi the best he can. ManU needs to produce a diamond formation in the midfield to reflect Barça’s diamond formation.

    And I’d use Nani and Valencia out wide left and right. I know Fergie is going to use Park out wide left to cover the runs of Alves and that makes sense to some extent. But why not use Nani to be a threat from that side and try to keep Alves as deep as possible? Not using Nani, to me, would be such a waste. Try to get the first goal instead of not trying to concede the first one. There’s a thought. But old Fergie is a pretty conservative lad when it comes to European games away from home. So I don’t expect him to change. In 2009, he didn’t use Tevez (or Berbatov or Scholes) until he was down. Now, he won’t use Nani until he is losing (and besides Rooney and Hernandez, Nani is ManU’s most potent threat). Déjà vu all over again or is it time to think outside the box?

    Thoughts anyone …

  2. Soccerlogical says:

    RM – There’s more chance of D Strauss Kahn staying celibate than Fergie playing with just one CB against a “give and go” quick passing team like Barca!

    The first goal will be key and playing with one CB against Barca is plain foolish, nothing to do with strategy, audacity or conservatism.

    Nani and Berba will prob be used as super-subs and the only question is whether Fletch or Carrick join Park in a semi holding role. I am hoping Fletch comes in. As I said, 50/50 game.

    PS Ironically, Manyoo going with 3 defenders would make them a bit more restrained as the team would be aware of their vulnerability at the back and being outnumbered on counters.

  3. Roberto Manita says:


    Just trying to think outside the box here. Also, I honestly believe Rio is a liability against such a quick front line with such a fluid & quick passing game as Barça’s. Rio was brutal in the 2009 Final and he is no quicker two years on.

    And as CR7 said after the 2009 Final, Fergie got his tactics all wrong for that game. Personally, I think whatever tactics Fergie uses will fail against this FCB team. Isn’t it curious that when ManU loses they always blame their failure to something other than the other team being better? In 2009 they blamed it on their tactics.

    The bookies don’t have this game as a 50/50. You should know that. I wonder what ManU’s excuse will be come Saturday night? Note to Fergie, those that don’t heed history are doomed to repeat it.


  4. Roberto Manita says:

    Oh, and under the 3-3-3-1 formation I proposed, since Park is asked to man mark Messi there really are four defenders (Park plus the back three).

    I know old Fergie will go with 4-4-1-1 with Park wide left and Valencia wide right. Those, to me, are primarily defensive wingers. I can see using Park on the left to track Dani Alves but what is the fascination with Valencia? Nani is a true danger man. Use him instead of the South American. Valencia just crosses the ball (from an offensive standpoint) and scores about as frequently as Anderson. Nani on the other hand would put a lot of pressure on FCB’s LB (likely Abidal) who is not going to venture forward much anyway. Therefore, more reason to start Nani over Valencia. Plus, ManU need to score to win this game (unless there is an Italian Job PK shootout of course). With Fergie’s predicted 4-4-1-1 lineup, using both Park and Valencia, I just don’t see enough offensive punch to trouble Barça. He’s going to overlook his offense again (this time benching Nani), to his detriment (again).


  5. soccerlogical says:

    RM – I think you are underestimating how dynamic both Park & Valencia are. As for Ronaldo’s quote regarding getting tactics wrong.. Fergie deployed those tactics to suit Ronaldo’s ego and individualistic playing style so Cronaldo’s quote was quite contradictory and ironic to be honest.

    Between Park, Giggs, Valencia, Rooney and Chicharito there is enough skill to get at least one goal against Barca’s defense while at the same time containing the best attacking team of the decade.. perhaps ever.

    A 0-0, 1-1 or 2-2 score at halftime would suit Manyoo as they have more options on the bench than Barca who basically just have Afellay to come in and shake things up.

  6. Roberto Manita says:


    Don’t underestimate FCB’s bench. Besides Afellay, they can bring on an attacking LB (Adriano) and thereby have two offensively minded wingbacks, play Thiago as another creative midfielder (if they are behind), Bojan can be used (he’s had a down year true, but still is very quick and can score), and Pep can change formation depending on the circumstances.

    I don’t think Mr. Fletcher will play (or at least start). I say his game v Blackpool and he is not back to his standard yet. So that gives ManU the following likely midfield and attackers:
    I think you overestimate this ‘vintage’ ManU team. Giggs is 37. Carrick is a fine passer but I don’t think he is quick enough on his feet for the requirements of this game. Park and Valencia are not dangerous enough against the team they will be facing Saturday. Nani should start over Valencia. At least Nani can score. Sure Valencia can track back and cross the ball. But who exactly is Valencia going to cross the ball to? I know the Mexican can jump but he is 5’9″ and Rooney is about an inch taller. Are these two ManU frontmen going to beat Pique and Puyol (or Abidal) for headers? I don’t think so. Therefore, this game begs for Nani’s skill set on the right side of midfield. Not Valencia’s. But Fergie will go for Valencia. Good. I’m glad. This four man midfield is no match for FCB’s. None. Busquets and the three Balon d’Or finalists (when you add Messi dropping as a false nine). No contest in the midfield whatsoever. None. Midfield is ManU’s weakness and it is FCB’s strength. And as the saying goes, games are won in the middle.

    I know finals are usually cagey affairs and this one probably will be too. But I don’t see the goals coming from the likes of Park, Valencia, and Giggs like you do. Maybe you are getting too much Anglo-centric info of a rather optimistic and biased nature?

    ManU’s best chance to nick a goal are on the counter attack and from set pieces. These are two things that Real Madrid do better than ManU and what happened there (even in the Bernabeu)? And the Bernabeu surely offered more of a home field advantage to FCB’s opponent than Wembley will to ManU. So any minor homefield advantage effect will be negligible at best (more like a red herring to my eyes).

    Why not try to score first and think outside the box if you’re Fergie? ManU must score first to win this game. Barça on the other hand can overcome not scoring first. Barça is not Blackpool …


  7. Soccerlogical says:

    RM – I have been out of University for a long while so no person or media source influences my opinions anymore. When given a chance, Park and Valencia are more than able to put one in the back of the net.

    Granted Madrid on paper (and perhaps statistically) are better on set pieces and counters than Manyoo BUT it will take a real team effort to contain and defeat this special Barca side, something difficult to produce when CRonaldo is on your team (i.e. RM ’11 and MU ’09).

    I think we are both repeating ourselves here.

    Here’s my somewhat vague prediction:
    United or Barca win in ET either by goal or PKs, producing one of the most exciting CL Finals since its inception.

    What’s yours?

  8. Roberto Manita says:


    I believe much of the media have used CR7 as the scapegoat for MU’s 2009 failure v FCB (formation to utilize his skill set, his selfishness, etc.) and I believe this is a red herring too. But can any sober man honestly tell me that they would rather have Hernandez in their lineup than CR7? Please.

    And on top of that they don’t have the services of Carlito this time. And although Scholes was past it in 2009, he is set to retire now (and there is nobody in their squad that can pick a pass like Ginger can … nobody).

    Simple math from this tells us MU are a weaker side than 2009.

    FCB, albeit without Eto’o and an ineffective Henry (for that game), are a stronger side for this 2011 Final than in 2009 if only because their defence will have their two first choice FBs this time (Alves and Abidal).

    So the math says that this FCB side is better than in 2009.

    Total math equals a stronger FCB and a weaker MU than 2009. And the 2009 Final ended 2-0 FCB. This is why I say that Fergie has to think outside the box this time. If both sides play to their potential then there can be only one outcome. One. MU need some good fortune here me thinks. The one thing I do fear is Barça overconfidence. Barça were favourites in 1994 v ACM. They ended up losing that game 4-0 because they thought they won the game before it started. Hopefully, Pep (being on that side) won’t let this happen.

    You may be right. We might be rehashing some old stuff and going a bit in circles here. But I just cannot see, for the life of me, what you are seeing. If the two teams played ten times I could see FCB winning six times, MU twice, and two draws (or something along those lines). 50/50??? Pleeeeeeeeeease.

    Enjoy the match though Mr. SL. You Yanks are a lucky lot. You get one hour extra of pre-game and a full post game show which us Kanucks don’t get. Sit back, feet up, brews back, and enjoy Barça’s 4th UCL trophy presentation ceremonies. It will be a final to remember no doubt.


  9. Soccerlogical says:

    RM – I can honestly say that I would rather build a “TEAM” around a fully fit and firing on all cylinders Kaka than Ronlado. Even though I believe Ronaldo to be the 2nd best player in the world.

    “If the two teams played ten times I could see FCB winning six times, MU twice, and two draws (or something along those lines). 50/50??? Pleeeeeeeeeease.”

    – I don’t understand the logic in that statement, especially as this is a one off game. So your statement from a logical perspective backs up my prediction of very close match does it not?

    And you still having given any sort prediction!

  10. Roberto Manita says:


    Cagey first half much like most major finals these days (0-0 HT). Can’t see this MU side extending this FCB side to ET though (let alone PKs). Two second half goals from FCB and the same final score as 2009. I wouldn’t be surprised if this game is very similar to the first leg SF of RM v FCB (very cagey, very tactical, hoping for a spectacular match and yielding much less, a sending off of a ManU player, and two second half FCB goals … just not two as late as against RM).

    Even though I expect it to be a cagey affair and to be a bit of a let down it is still an historic match that is not to be missed. Likely ManU candidates for the red card are Rio, Vidic, and Roooooooney. Iniesta and Messi to score.

  11. Roberto Manita says:

    The statement is quite logical actually. Like a lot of pundits have said the same thing. Play this game ten times and many say FCB win six or seven. Therefore, we cani have a 50/50. Sheer logic. Crisp, clean, and no caffeine SL. True, MU stands a better chance in a one off match than over two legs. That’s what I said about RM whom I fear to a much greater extent. I am glad we played RM over two legs than a simple one off match. 50/50 match??? Naw, cani see that. Nor do the bookies. And the line factors in the fact that the match is being played in Wembley. 50/50 is a coin toss. This is not a coin toss. Subjective odds would be more like 60/40 (conservatively) but more like 66/33 (2/1) for FCB realistically (given all the conditions).

    On a side note, a Hungarian (my old homeland; or my mother’s motherland) has been selected to officiate the match. He also did the SF of the WC last year (ESP v GER). Another Hungarian did the 1994 WC Final in the USA (BRA v ITA). Magyars used to be the land of very good footy teams, now they are the land of very good officials. How times have changed.

  12. Roberto Manita says:

    I would say that this ManU side has over achieved to a great extent. That is a feather in their cap. But the only reason this side had to pull so many matches out of the fire late on (some would say they were rather lucky this year while others would credit their intestinal fortitude) is quite simply because they lack the quality of teams from 2009 and prior (coincidentally, sides which had CR7).

    Come Sunday, they will realize their inadequacies in midfield and go after the likes of Sneijder (instead of say the likes of Parker and Adam).

  13. jpt says:

    I realize nobody’s focused on the Red Bulls right now . . . but didn’t the lose to San Jose last year in the playoffs? As I recall, San Jose beat us, and Colorado beat San Jose.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

House Rules

Please refrain from posting comments that;

  • Attempt to demean, intimidate or bully fellow readers
  • Are racist, sexist, homophobic, sexually explicit, intolerant or otherwise abusive
  • Includes language likely to offend or attempts to try and circumvent this request
  • Could be considered spam

The House reserves the right to delete any such comments and to block further participation on the site.

Soccer Report Extra
© copyright 2010. All rights reserved.
Designed and Developed by:
Bills'eye + Underscorefunk Design