Monday NY Gaffer: Sending a message to MLS
New York Red Bulls’ latest win – this time a 4-0 romp on the road against D.C.
United last Thursday night – certainly sent a message. The Monday Gaffer takes
a look at the Red Bulls and the themes for head coach Hans Backe’s club after their
second straight impressive shutout performance.
Henry –Thierry Henry picked up where he left off after the win over San Jose, scoring
the first two goals of the match against DC and assisting on the third. After
injury concerns last year and again this spring, Henry finally seems pain free
and he’s playing liberated, inspired soccer.
“I think it’s a lot with the health issue, definitely,”
Backe said. “Because if you have some pain, you can’t be as explosive as you
want to and you can’t run the way you want to.”
A healthy and in-form Henry
makes the Red Bulls a potentially devastating offense given the stacked
midfield Backe has pieced together.
Agudelo – For a second straight game, teenage sensation Juan Agudelo started
the game on the bench.
The snub from the starting lineup, however, didn’t deter
the youngster who, in stoppage time, took a Jan Gunnar Solli cross and coolly
flipped the ball up and volleyed his second goal of the season past United
goalkeeper Bill Hamid.
was great effort and awareness from such a young player, who came in as a
second-half sub with some inspired play. Whether Backe was trying to light a fire
under the player is unclear, but the result was most promising for New York.
Style Points – The Red Bulls didn’t hold possession as much as they have the
past few games this time around, but they made their chances count. Given the
4-0 score line, it was perhaps surprising that New York had to do as much
defending as they did.
sounds strange when you win 4-0, but the way [D.C. United] plays, the way they
defend, we got them on the breaks, but they played well,” Backe said. “We had
4. Bouna Time? – For Bouna
Coundoul, Thursday night was a bit of a statement game. As the hosts pressed
for a consolation goal in the final 15 minutes, the Red Bulls goalkeeper was
outstanding. Several times, Coundoul made big saves and he was smart in
distribution as well.
“They hit the crossbar, they hit the post, and Bouna
had a couple of saves,” Henry said. “But we didn’t concede a goal and that’s
what is important.”
R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer