NY Monday Gaffer: Anemic offense needs help

Though the attack is sputtering, the back line is looking solid

Saturday night saw New York disappoint against D.C. United in a 0-0 tie. It was a bad game offensively for the Red Bulls, who forced United’s Troy Perkins into just three saves. For Perkins, it was just his second shutout of the season.

There’s no need to fear, Red Bulls fans: aide is on its way …

Four things to take from Saturday’s tie:

1. The Atlantic Cup is half full – New York took the Atlantic Cup, given to the winners of the derby, for just the second time since the trophy's inception in 2002. Despite the tie to last-place United, the Red Bulls still have 11 points from their last five games, which is not a bad stretch of results. The Red Bulls are still in second place after the tie, but head coach Hans Backe said that the team isn’t there quite yet. “It would be naïve to think we could dictate and control every game,” he said. “We have to take it step by step.”

2. The midfield struggles – Backe called United “very organized,” but the Red Bulls held the majority of possession and shots. This was just a game where the team couldn’t click. One goal would have opened things up for New York. Time after time, the Red Bulls pushed into the attacking third only to stutter and stall. The midfield needs some extra love this week. “We just need to focus on getting this right this week in practice,” Dane Richards told MLSsoccer.com. “We will. We just need to work on it a bit more.”

3. Solid defensively – Forward Juan Pablo Angel praised the back four for keeping a clean sheet, and the unit has now conceded just two goals in five games. In four of those games, Carlos Mendes has been starting as center back. Tim Ream enjoyed another fine performance alongside Mendes. “Defensively, it was probably our best complete game all year,” Ream said. “Against Colorado [last week], we had a first half lapse, and in the second half we held it together. Tonight, we held it together for the full 90.”

4. Oh Henry! – With his buddy Steve Nash on hand watching the game and pregame comments by sporting director Erik Solér concerning one, if not two, Designated Player signings, the Red Bulls will have reinforcements coming in this summer once the transfer window opens. A first player, which appears to be Thierry Henry, will be announced on Thursday. While he wasn’t as enthused earlier this week when he spoke to MLSsoccer.com, Backe said a Friday morning phone call with Soler had him optimistic about another big name joining the team. “I’m rather confident that we can bring in two Designated Players,” Backe said. The coach did confirm that one of the targets is not LeBron James.

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