No Silver Bullet for New York Red Bulls

With the 2-1 loss at home against Minnesota United FC, the New York Red Bulls are still looking for solutions. Running a 4-2-2-2 formation, manager Chris Armas combined youth and experience to forward a distinctly Red Bull style of play. But with this the third loss in a row, there is still something missing.

What’s Working

Youth was certainly a positive force for the Red Bulls. Danish international Mathias Jorgensen went sixty minutes in his first start. He created a number of chances during his stint on the field. Cristian Casseres Jr. made a huge impact in the midfield.

Casseres’s goal in the 70th minute was his first for the MLS side. Homegrown midfielder, Sean Davis, held down the midfield in a way that has been lacking previously. Although Alex Muyl had to come off in the first half, his injury was a result of doing his primary job: getting in the way of play and applying pressure off the ball.

Speed is still an important element for the Red Bulls. The ability to drop back when necessary is key to the high press style of play. Tim Parker and Kemar Lawrence were notable for their ease of movement against Minnesota.

What Isn’t Working

Possession in play is unfamiliar territory. Rather than force the turnover, the team was trying to string together a larger number of passes. The offense, meant to be in charge of creating chaos near the opposing goal, has struggled as a unit. Meanwhile, the defense cannot prevent the chaos in their zone. This is what had led to three out of the past four goals scored on the Red Bulls.

There is also an unsettling lack of cohesion during the attack. More often than not, a cross or lob meant to be an assist is a step too far away or too high for the leap. If it could be traced to a single player, that would be an easy solution. But the issue is plaguing several players.

What Now?

With the changes to the playoff format, the ‘less important’ cross-conference game is still rather important. Minnesota United have found their way, while RBNY seem to be losing it. Now the team must focus on Sporting KC, who has figured them out before. If the high press style is no longer a surprise, the Red Bulls need a new bag of tricks.

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

About Sylvana Budesheim

Wife, mom, teacher, soccer aficionado. Sometimes wrong but seldom in doubt.

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