Lindpere says New York midfield needs work

The return of Carl Robinson should help a midfield under pressure

Joel Lindpere

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

In his post-match comments following Saturday’s 2-1 win over FC
Dallas, New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe panned the effort in
the midfield. Citing an inability to hold possession, Backe compared
the game’s up-tempo feel to a basketball game. And he wasn’t pleased.

Now, the Red Bulls head into Saturday afternoon’s fixture against
Philadelphia hoping to control the midfield and win the possession
battle against the expansion club. Backe stated on Tuesday that he is
hopeful that midfielder Carl Robinson, a second-half substitute against
FC Dallas, will help solidify the midfield and be a calming presence.

If Robinson’s knee, injured in the late-March friendly against
Santos, doesn’t have significant swelling, then Backe is hopeful to see
the former Welsh international in the starting XI against the Union. 

Backe said that the midfielder’s knee was drained of fluids on
Monday and that he will be watching to see how Robinson responds to
training on Thursday and Friday. If he does well, the player should be
able to start against Philadelphia.

Saturday night, the Red
Bulls midfield struggled to control the ball and provided too few
scoring opportunities for their coach’s liking. Forward Juan Pablo Angel
said that despite the struggles, “we’re still winning football games”
but he is hopeful that with time, the attack will begin to come

“There’s a number of new players, there is also a new
way and new shape that we’re trying to play this year,” Angel said. “We
have not created the chances we should.”

The team’s struggles
were on both sides of the ball, so to speak. Defensively, the midfield
couldn’t contain the visitors’ attack.  Joel Lindpere told that the team’s struggles were largely due to the 4-5-1
formation employed by FC Dallas. The fact that the Red Bulls midfielders
were outnumbered overwhelmed them.

“We started off very well
against Chicago and then at Seattle, we played what I think was very
well,” Lindpere told “Then against Chivas [USA] and the
last game, it wasn’t so good. We didn’t seem to be as strong in the
midfield or organized enough.”

In his postgame press conference,
Backe likened the first 10 minutes against FC Dallas to the team being
“paralyzed.” Simply put, Backe said the team has “to start better.” It
is a point not lost on the team, and Lindpere said that the midfield
worked on their organization on Tuesday in practice, in particular,
their cohesiveness.

Robinson, who Backe said is the missing
component to stabilizing the midfield, agreed.

“On Saturday, we
were a bit too open as a team,” Robinson said. “We conceded too many

Kristian Dyer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.