Monday Morning Gaffer

A hot 'keeper, confidence and new home field help RBNY steal win

Macoumba Kandji

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

It is widely accepted that New York’s 2-1 win over
FC Dallas at Red Bull Arena on Saturday was a game that was for the
taking for the visitors. Holding the edge in nearly every offensive
category, FC Dallas failed to put New York away time after time as
goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul played perhaps the best game of his MLS
career.

Four things to take from Saturday night’s Red Bulls win:

Bouna Time – This much is true, Coundoul will
frustrate New York fans. There will be moments like last week’s own goal
against Chivas USA and then there will be games like Saturday night
where he puts the team on his shoulders. Time after time, Coundoul was
world class for the Red Bulls. Without Coundoul, Backe said “we could
easily have lost this game.”

If Coundoul doesn’t win Player of
the Week honors for his brilliant seven save performance, something is
wrong.

The Midfield Needs Work – Sliding Mac
Kandji from forward to left mid only exacerbated the fact that this team
lacks a true winger and that Kandji is a forward and needs to be in
front of goal. On the other side, Dane Richards continues to puzzle, a
player capable of the sublime but who often misses the easy pass.

Joel
Lindpere can only do so much centrally, and FC Dallas decided to shut
down Lindpere and make the Red Bulls beat them with their other
attacking players.

“We didn’t control anything in the
midfield,” Backe said about his team being content to get rid of the
ball too quickly when they won it away from FC Dallas.

Red
Bull Arena Still Has It
– Even with 13,667 fans on a cold
April night, the crowd looked and felt so much better than it would
have in cavernous Giants Stadium. The turnout should be better with
Philadelphia making the trek north this Saturday. But even half-full,
Red Bull Arena is still a nice homefield advantage for New York.

The
visitors liked it, with Eric Avila comparing the game’s feel to an EPL
match. For 90 minutes, even after the FC Dallas goal, the stadium
still had a buzz about it.

Despite The Negativity
– Last year it took until August 23 for New York to win its third game
of the season, so forgive Red Bulls’ fans for some giddiness over the
result, no matter how badly the team played. This was the type of game
that last year, the team wouldn’t have won and most likely would have
been run off the pitch in 2009.

Defender Tim Ream said that
Backe told them at halftime that they weren’t playing up to standard
and to “be aggressive and not be tentative. Just attack, attack,
attack.” Last year, the Red Bulls would have caved-in after a clunker of
a first half.

“It’s funny what confidence does for you, it
brings the best out in you,” FC Dallas Head Coach Schellas Hyndman said
of the difference between the New York of last year and this year.

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