Despite the win, The Red Bulls continue to struggle: Three Positives and Three Negatives

We’ll take the good news first. The Red Bulls snapped their losing streak and won their 100th game at Red Bull Arena. Connor Lade’s superb finish capped off a brilliant passing move that started at the feet of Alex Muyl. The win over FC Cincinnati came at a critical time with a tough stretch of fixtures ahead. Luckily, there are some positives to build on despite the recent losses.


Impressive first half

The Red Bulls bossed the game in the first half culminating in a brilliant team goal which isn’t very characteristic to the Red Bulls. It’s exactly what Chris Armas has been encouraging this season with “deliberate passing” though they haven’t always brought forth desired results. The 3-3-3-1 put several Red Bulls players in better positions to succeed and the Red Bulls looked their best in transition all season. Winning the possession battle is the antithesis to what New York is, yet they had the ball 55% of the time and completed 73% of their passes in the first half. Even with the win the Red Bulls are still last in MLS in pass percentage at a meager 67.2%

Brian White’s first start of 2019 was encouraging

Bradley Wright-Phillips’ struggles have been talked about and on Saturday he wasn’t available due a groin strain. In his place was Brian White and he had a tough test going up against one of the most physically imposing center backs in MLS in Kendall Waston. While White didn’t dominate his 1v1 matchup, he did notch an assist on a beautiful knock-down header to the primary assister Daniel Royer. He didn’t manage a shot all game but on the ball he was crisp and pesky in his pressing giving the Red Bulls a different look to that of Wright-Phillips.

Amro Tarek also had a very solid game, and it can’t be understated how important the return of Kemar Lawrence and Alex Muyl was to this team.

A win is a win

Four losses in five games going into Saturday and the Red Bulls finally got another win in the bag. Sean Davis spoke on the importance of the win post-game, “We were even missing a few key pieces, but for guys to come into the lineup, work hard, leave everything on the field, empty the tank, I think that says a lot about the mentality of the club, the foundation of the club, and I think like I said it’s important for us to build on it. But now we have to turn the page and we have to be ready for LA on the weekend.”


1 shot on goal in 90 minutes

The struggles continue in the final third and there’s no way around it. Connor Lade scoring is a great storyline considering how important he is to the team’s morale but the fact he was the savior on the night should be alarming. The top of the box remains a no-go zone for the Red Bulls which continues to put them at a disadvantage in chance creation. The Red Bulls knocked in 22 crosses all game, and only were successful on two of them.

Michael Murillo dropped

Asked post-game why Muyl started a RWB ahead of Murillo, Armas spoke solely on what Muyl brings to a game. Murillo is perfect for that role in my opinion yet he didn’t make the starting XI and that’s a worrying sign. Murillo hasn’t been very good as of late and at times lacks concentration. Chris Armas brought in Murillo late and once more he had a lackadaisical moment which almost resulted in a goal. It makes you wonder whether Murillo’s head is with the Red Bulls considering the rumors that linked him to Beskitas in Turkey.

Cincinnati hits post 3 times late

In all honesty, the Red Bulls were lucky to walk out of this game as the victor and that’s worrying. FC Cincinnati, an expansion side, came into Red Bull Arena against one of the best home sides in MLS history and nearly stole points. Things need to change quick for the Red Bulls because teams with greater pedigree will punish New York for their defensive mishaps.

Photo by Bill Twomey Photography

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