Saturday's match against the Chicago Fire wasn't exactly the best match of the season, and that definitely reflects in Week 31 Power Rankings.
On the bright side, New York can still claim a spot in the postseason with a win/draw against Kansas City on Oct. 20 and/or a Columbus Crew loss. Ideally, in an effort to avoid that play-in game, the perfect scenario would have Columbus defeating DC United and New York beating Sporting KC to leapfrog DC and claim third place in the East.
But let's not get too far ahead of ourselves right now. The team has a week off to get things back on track before SKC and reset the odometers for a run into the postseason. Until then, we'll have to settle for the following spots in the power rankings:
The Power Rankings Politburo may have lost faith with the Red Bulls. With seven games left they had five at home and two winnable road games; they’ve gone 2-2-1 to start that stretch off, and never looked threatening against either Chicago or Sporting."
ESPN Soccernet also drops the Red Bulls down to eighth overall after putting them as high as fifth last week:
"The Red Bulls didn't cough up any early goals this time, but their defense looked suspect enough in conceding two second-half tallies against the Fire. Now New York is worried about having a dreaded play-in game."
Sports Illustrated's Avi Creditor followed in suit, placing the Red Bulls at No. 8.
That wraps up this installment of power rankings. Nothing much to recap other than the fact that the Red Bulls will enter their Oct. 20 match against SKC ranked 8th overall in all three of these rankings. A win would undoubtedly help improve upon that number.
For tickets to the regular season finale at Red Bull Arena, visit Red Bulls Ticket Central or call 877.RB.SOCCER.
Minutes after Thierry Henry nearly put the Red Bulls up 1-0, Dax McCarty had a chance to do the same. To Dax's dismay, his volley attempt on goal just went wide to keep Chicago and New York locked in a scoreless tie at Red Bull Arena:
Luis Robles got the start in net Saturday for the Red Bulls' 4-1 win over Toronto FC, his first since joining the team in early August. We caught up with Luis following a recent training session at Montclair State University to ask him a few questions about his Red Bulls debut.
How did it feel to get out there at Red Bull Arena for Saturday’s win over Toronto?
Fantastic, especially since we had such a good turnout. I think the entire atmosphere and the mentality within the locker room was great going into the game.
What about the game itself? Minus that one goal, of course…
Yeah, unfortunately my first touch in MLS was picking the ball out of the back of the net (laughs). But I will say this – if those are the goals I give up the rest of my career, I think I can rest easy.
Any jitters in that first start? Did you see anything or do anything that helped put you in the zone?
As a goalkeeper, I think most goalkeepers would attest, whenever the game starts we want to get an early touch. Whether it's a save or a ball played back to them - and of course my first touch was picking the ball out of the back of the net. But I don't think that necessarily threw me off. I think I even chuckled to myself, "OK, welcome to MLS." But at the end of the day my objective is to help the team win. And outside of the goal I felt like I helped organize the defense and if that was my contribution to get three points then I'm very pleased with that.
The team went into the match against Toronto knowing they were facing a team with nothing to lose, but nevertheless three points is pretty crucial at this point in the season.
I think, especially for the team, it was important that we get three points. Going down the end of the season we needed that for position and that was our objective going into the game and I think we fulfilled our objective.
Winding down now into the final weeks of the season, what’s the team’s approach in these final three matches against Chicago, Sporting KC and Philly?
The most important thing we want to do is go into every game with the right mentality. That helps us in the future for our momentum going into the playoffs, but for sure our mentality should just be on the next game. I know that we have three really big games coming up, but of course the next one that is most important is Chicago. The table’s really tight and it seems like it’s a rivalry game and we’re at home. So for our fans, we definitely want to not only have a good performance, but get three points.
It's another one of "those" weeks this time around in Week 30 Power Rankings. One of "those" weeks, where writers have absolutely no idea where to place the Red Bulls in the 19-team table.
It helps to know that the win should, in all likelihood, push the Red Bulls up the rankings. Thankfully that is the case this week, although over the past 30 we've definitely seen an instance or two where that didn't happen.
By the way, are you as amazed as I am that we're talking about week 30? With regards to the power rankings, it's been a bit of an up-and-down ride for the Red Bulls all season long. But we certainly have some big matches coming up, starting with this Saturday's tilt against the Chicago Fire in what is bound to carry huge playoff implications. Need I also remind you that this one is not only a big one for the postseason, but also for league-wide exposure, as the two teams will kick off on NBC at 3:30pm ET. If you don't have your tickets yet, this is definitely one you don't want to miss. Visit Red Bulls Ticket Central for tickets, or call 877.RB.SOCCER.
With that said, let's get this show on the road...
OK, so MLSsoccer.com had the Red Bulls at fifth overall last week. With Saturday's win over Toronto, they now make the jump to third. This is the highest the Red Bulls rank based on the sites we include in these rankings.
Sports Illustrated ups the Red Bulls from fifth to fourth, highlighting Henry's performance as the main factor moving forward:
"After a virtuoso performance, and perhaps one of the best individual showings in MLS history, Thierry Henry left a stark reminder about how good he still is and how much he can impact a match."
The Moment: Henry's Magic
New York lands fifth overall, according to ESPN Soccernet:
"Thierry Henry put on a show in New York's 4-1 win over Toronto, tallying a goal and three assists. The penchant for conceding early goals continues, however, a worrying habit with the postseason fast approaching."
And finally it's Soccer By Ives placing the Red Bulls at seventh overall, a one-spot promotion from last week's rankings:
"If there was ever a team that needed a confidence-building win against a punching bag, it was the Red Bulls, and they took full advantage against Toronto FC. Lloyd Sam's contributions on the right wing were the most encouraging sign from the match, followed closely by a two-goal effort from the streaky Kenny Cooper, who just might be ready for another hot streak."
So to recap:
Sports Illustrated: 4th
ESPN Soccernet: 5th
Soccer By Ives: 7th
So there you have it. Week 30 Power Rankings are ranging from 3rd all the way down to 7th. Hard to make something of it, but three strong wins to close out the season can only lead to more convincing decisions on behalf of these four sites.
What's your take on the rankings this time around?
Another Thierry Henry goal, another MLS Goal of the Week nominee.
The Red Bulls' captain has already claimed Player of the Week honors. What better way to round out a great outing than to also claim the title for MLS Goal of the Week?
Vote now for Thierry to claim Goal of the Week honors. You have until 11:59 pm (PT) on Thursday to do so, so spread the word and get those votes in!
Vote online or text goal code to 22442.
Voting runs until 11:59 pm PT on Thursdays. For complete coverage of the AT&T Goal of the Week—including an archive of past winners—click here.
Already with three assists on the night, Thierry Henry sent home this beauty to close out the 4-1 win at Red Bull Arena:
Already up 2-1 heading into the 88th minute, the Red Bulls weren't about ready to leave anything to chance as they eyed an insurance goal to put this one away. The team hit pay dirt in the 89th minute when Thierry Henry worked his magic inside the box and fed a great ball to a waiting Kenny Cooper, who buried his second of the match and 16th of the season to give the Red Bulls a 3-1 lead.