The New York Red Bulls dropped a critical result against the last place team in the Western Conference, the Colorado Rapids.
The return of Bradley Wright-Phillips did not bolster the attack, and the Red Bulls offense sputtered yet again. Despite carrying nearly every statistical advantage, the Red Bulls fell 2-0. With the playoffs fast approaching, the repercussions of the loss could be immense.
The match featured what is likely Tim Howard’s final match against his former club, but the goalkeeper did not need to flash moments of heroism, the Red Bulls rarely challenged the veteran.
The Rapids came into the match playing for new coach Robin Fraser. The former Red Bull and Toronto FC assistant took over the club this week.
The Red Bulls came out strong, but a bit sloppy in the opening 10 minutes. The Rapids ceded possession, and the Red Bulls found space in the attacking third. The Rapids waited patiently. The visitors played a physical half, and waited for chances on the break.
The Rapids opened the scoring in the 14th minute. Following a dangerous chance in the box for the Red Bulls, the Rapids broke up field. Jonathan Lewis received the ball and torched the Red Bull defenders on his way to a solo goal. The Red Bulls held the advantage through the opening minutes, but were caught upfield and exploited.
Following the goal, the Red Bulls continued pushing for an opener of their own, but struggled to keep chances on target. Bradley Wright-Phillips, Daniel Royer, Josh Sims, and Tim Parker all had great looks at goal, and all failed to keep the ball on frame. After the first half, the Red Bulls held all the statistical advantage, but trailed.
The Rapids added a second goal in the 87th minute. Again, it was Jonathan Lewis making the Red Bulls pay. A quick counter attack caught the Red Bulls out of position, and Diego Rubio sent a low pass over to Lewis. Lewis cut back and finished on his right foot. In the buildup to the goal, the Rapids Nicolás Mezquida appeared to handle the ball while on the ground, but there was no review of the play.
The loss drops the Red Bulls to 12-12-5 on the season, and a fifth loss at Red Bull Arena. Next up, the Red Bulls travel to Seattle and Portland for another short week and a creeping sense of desperation.
Serious soul searching is required.
Photo by Bill Twomey Photography