In the end, it was simply not “Our Time”.
At least, not yet…
The 2018 New York Red Bulls season was one for the ages, one for the history books.
Epilogue: 2018 RBNY Season
In the beginning, early in February, fans wondered how this season was going to turn out, especially with CCL play about to commence. Will their team manage to get a goal, never mind a win in a tournament that’s not been too kind to MLS sides in recent memory…
Three important questions were asked before the season started…
“How would the defense hold up?” supporters pondered as the game approached shortly after training camp, enter Tim Parker. Came on board via trade that sent the league’s notorious antagonist and fan-favorite Felipe to Vancouver. Hopped off a plane in Mexico and made an immediate impact.
That question was soon answered when a young and fearless team marched down to Tijuana and punched one of Mexico’s storied sides in the mouth for all to see – and excite the fanbase like never before.
However, CD Guadalajara put on a masterclass defensive effort smothering RBNY’s vaunted high-press offense to deny them a place of the CCL championship game.
The 2018 U.S. Open Cup would also give the supporters a heaping dose of angst, after shellacking a disinterested NYCFC 4-0, they stumbled in Chester against their usual tormentors Philadelphia Union, 2-1.
“Can we compete in the regular season?” Well, how does the following sound to you:
- 21 clean sheets
- 19-2-2 at home, no opponent has scored a goal against them since August
- A cumulative record of 28-11-7
- 30 different players, 29 different starters
- 71 points in the regular season
- Two players with over 15 total goals
- A goal differential of +36
- The longest losing streak was just 2 games in March and April
- Won their third Supporter Shield in six seasons
Simply put, they didn’t just compete in the regular season, they dominated.
And as for the third and most important question of “Can this team… Finally, after years of trying, win the East?” I’m sure you already know the answer by now.
Which will explain why most fans will view this season as an epic disappointment in spite of the accomplishments. In their view: No cup, equals no glory. And to be honest, it’s pretty hard to disagree with or even attempt to argue the subject after watching their team fail at the attempt for now 23 consecutive seasons.
There will be anger, frustration, doubt, dread, declarations of not renewing season ticket packages, and everything else that comes with a team having their season ended in the most painful way possible despite all the hype and all of the promise, but the good thing about deep playoff runs is that the postseason is a relatively short one. Training camp begins in late January. Not much time to dwell on what happened last year.
One fine season, hopefully, sooner rather than later, the coach will figure it out. The players will figure it out. The Front Office will figure it out.
My only wish is the fanbase continues to push the Front Office to build on what they have, and keep them doing the right things by them, and ultimately, going in the right direction.
The fanbase may be fractured and furious at times, but truly loyal. Come early Spring, they will return once again to The Cathedral of Football with renewed hopes and dreams of their heroes finally capturing the elusive prize.
They will do so at home, on the road, in sports bars and of course, in cyberspace. And they will do so hoping that season is finally THE season.
In other words, the show will go on.
Photo by Steve Hamlin