Frustrating Loss for New York

Lone goal by Sporting KC silences Red Bulls in a unique Wednesday contest
by Daniel Feuerstein   |   Thursday, April 18, 2013

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

Every single year preview reports declare what team is going to be a tough side for the MLS season. More often than not, many point to the team that wears the light and dark royal blue – Sporting KC – to climb to the top of the league. Nearly every time SKC plays, it frustrates its opponents to no end.

Well once again Sporting did that to the New York Red Bulls on Wednesday night. It was all defense, defense and some more defense for the most part, but in the 13th minute, SKC’s Aurelien Collin outmuscled Jamison Olave and got his head on a Graham Zusi free kick at the near side to score the lone goal of the game.

Once that goal went in, it was all catch-up and frustration for the Red Bulls, who were trying to find an equalizer and had at least 2 solid chances from Thierry Henry. Four minutes after Kansas City scored, a Juninho free kick was punched away by SKC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen but right to Henry for the rebound chance that was also stopped.

But late in the second half it was a bad miss-read by SKC’s Matt Besler, who allowed Henry to break through with a great cross from Roy Miller. Henry attacked the net, but he shot it past Nielsen. The ball went just wide of the near post and that would signal that the night would not be theirs.

“That’s a good team we played,” said Red Bulls manager Mike Petke. “Kansas City is a very good team, on both ends of the ball. We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy game, I wasn’t happy with the first half. I thought we were stepping too late to almost every play defensively and I thought we were trying to do way too much offensively when we were on the ball.”

But what does it mean when SKC faces a side that is one of the toughest in the league and you haven’t allowed a goal in over 500 minutes of play since March 9th at Toronto FC?

“I don’t remember, but it only means one thing,” said Sporting manager Peter Vermes. “It means that if we score and we don’t give anything up we got 3 points and at the end of the day that’s the most important aspect of it.”

Vermes also offered a comparison between goalkeeper Nielsen and veteran Tony Meola.

“I always considered Tony to be the best big game guy, extremely consistent, would do the business all the time,” Vermes said. “Jimmy has the same qualities and sometimes is not easy too, playing for us; when in certain games you don’t give up many chances and then all of the sudden he has to be ready in the 88th minute, that’s a tough way for a keeper to play over a course of the game.”

But maybe the toughest thing that a keeper has to take on the pitch is a hard shot right in the shoulder/face area, which Nielsen did on Wednesday night. As he frustrated Juninho to no end by time wasting in the second half of stoppage time, Juninho ripped the ball right at Nielsen and was shown a straight red. He will miss the next home match against the New England Revolution that is 3 days away.

But for the Red Bulls, even without Juninho, they hope to get back to their winning ways against the Revs.

NEXT UP: April 20 – New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution, Red Bull Arena, Harrison, N.J. 7 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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