For 135 of out 180 minutes this year at Red Bull Arena, the New York Red Bulls have been held scoreless in MLS. Saturday night, might be one of those performances they’ll want to forget entirely.
RBNY were missing 4 key starters due to international play, but they managed to create little against Orlando City who conceded in 19 out of 20 matches since manager James O’Connor took over last year.
Outside of one great chance off a corner early on the Red Bulls couldn’t do much going forward and it started at the back. The fullbacks usually play a big part in their attacks, but on the night were ineffective. Connor Lade left the match 26 minutes in after suffering a hamstring injury which meant Alex Muyl had to move to left back. Despite Muyl’s makeshift performance, RBNY couldn’t build out from the back for most of the night. He and Kyle Duncan weren’t effective when going forward which allowed Orlando to settle in.
In addition to the backline, the midfield struggled to create chances as well. Vincent Bezecourt had a big game last week against San Jose filling in for Kaku, but didn’t create any key chances on Saturday night. Sean Davis and Marc Rzatkowski couldn’t make much of an impact on the game either. Some credit should go to Orlando for congesting the midfield and slowing the game down which forced the Red Bulls midfield into a lot of errors.
” We have to look at our own performance,” Rzatkowski said. “We did not do well with the ball. Overall, we had some bad giveaways, but it didn’t create chances for them. I feel like we were not confident enough with the ball and we didn’t create chances for us.”
Perhaps the biggest key in the match RBNY failed to accomplish was winning the second ball. Goalkeeper Luis Robles talked about the teams failure to win the second ball in the match and how it affected the game.
“From my vantage point, we didn’t win enough second balls and those hustle plays – they got the better part of us.,” Robles said. “Of course, tactics are one thing, but for me, not necessarily being a tactician, and being more of a guy that looks for guys to fight, especially at home, and someone that’s willing to put it all on the line. To me those are very important for us to be successful in.”
Then there’s the case of Bradley Wright-Phillips. BWP has been the Red Bulls best player over the past few seasons and even though it’s early he has been struggling. He did manage to score against San Jose last week, but his age looks like it’s showing. By his standards, he’s missed a lot of chances early on this year that he’s expected to score. On Saturday night he was ineffective for a large stretch of the match and if he is finally slowing down, the Red Bulls need others to step up and carry the load.
Omir Fernandez could be one of those people, after coming on for Lade, the midfielder put in one of the better performances for the team before being subbed off due to injury. Fernandez’s skills and trickery helped earn RBNY some free kicks and some chances going forward. Although they wouldn’t amount to much on the night, Fernandez might have earned himself some more playing time going forward.
Outside of set pieces, the Red Bulls didn’t have any creativity on the night and were punished for it. Manager Chris Armas said they need to move on from the performance, get back to work and be better for next time.
“How do you move on from a performance that wasn’t so great?” Armas said. “You get back to work. We won’t harp on this. There’s little things in there. We can be sharper. We can all be better on the night. The staff and the players, we can be better.” We come in Monday and we come ready to work, and with a humility and knowing we can get better.”
Photo By Bill Twomey Photography