Red Bulls Back to Winning Ways

Solid finishing and defending give New York 2nd victory of the season
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Monday, April 15, 2013

Branded Bulls – column on Red Bull NY (RBNY – NYRB) & the New Jersey area soccer scene.

After a dismal performance at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Illi., it was New York Red Bulls manager Mike Petke and the team getting ready for a much better showing against their hated rivals in DC United for the second time this season. But this time around it would be at the confines of RFK Stadium in our nation’s capital.

The main culprit of the club’s current problems is throwing away points that it should’ve had when starting out like a house on fire. Goals galore to start a match soon lead to a sputtering defense towards the end. But this time around it looked like, at least for the moment, those problems have been solved.

After 2 consecutive matches coming off the bench with a sprained right MCL, Thierry Henry started for the first time since the home opener against DC United at Red Bull Arena. He converted another masterful strike from distance in the 29th minute. Dax McCarty received the ball at midfield and attacked the DC area, but decided to hold the ball up and found Henry behind him.

When Henry got the ball, he started to play with the defense as he made 2 cuts and, when he felt he was settled, he ripped a shot that found the inside of the near post. DCU goalkeeper Bill Hamid made a diving effort, but he couldn’t catch it on the bounce. It was 1-0 for New York with a second one coming very soon.

Originally, it was believed Jamison Olave was coming over to the Red Bulls in the offseason for his strong defense. And many probably thought he was going to be a punishing force on opposing strikers. Yet it never looked like he was going to add that much to the score sheet.

Well he has converted 3 goals within the first 7 games, and this latest one was a doozy.

After taking a short corner in the 36th minute, Juninho crossed the ball from the far side of the field and it was headed down by Brandon Barklage. But Olave came out of nowhere and redirected it inside the far post and Hamid looked deflated.

At the half, it was wondered if there would be any doubts creeping in to this squad, but as the whistle blew in the second half, RBNY proved to be stable.

Solid defense finally came and DC barely made a dent. The one chance that many thought would come was in the 71st minute on a free kick. RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles made a diving save and allowed a rebound that was stopped by him, then cleared by McCarty. But after that chance for DC, nothing damaging came his way.

This match saw the return of Roy Miller at leftback and for once he looked solid, calm and it looked like he knew what he was doing. Nothing complicated, no wild challenges and no bookings either. What we also saw was a complete mental performance from the Red Bulls as they earned their second clean sheet of the season, both of them against DC United.

A strong contingent of Red Bull supporters came down to support their side and got a positive performance. And for the last 10 to 15 minutes of the match, Petke actually removed his sweater to delegate the end of the match and earned his first road win while at the helm of RBNY.

While this was the second win in 3 matches for the Red Bulls, it actually felt like a real must win for the club that has been leaving points late on the field.

Has New York finally broken its mental hurdle? Will it string together some wins in April and May? We shall see when Sporting Kansas City and the Revolution come over this week to Red Bull Arena before a road trip to BMO Field in Toronto.

NEXT UP: April 17 – New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting KC, Red Bull Arena, New York. 7:30 p.m. EST, MLS Live.

Daniel FEUERSTEIN

Nationality:
USA
College:
Ramapo College
Club Domestic:
Red Bull NY
Club Foreign:
PSG, ManU, Maccabbi Haifa
Original New York Cosmos fan, reborn soccer fan since 1994 USA World Cup. Feuerstein’s Fire podcast host. Covers NY Red Bulls for SN, and promotes all levels of American soccer from both sides of issues.
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