Chalk up Saturday night's loss to San Jose to being just one of those games. During a long and grueling 30-game regular season that then throws in cup games, tournaments and international friendlies, clunkers happen. This weekend's 4-0 loss was New York's worst in almost ten months. The Monday Morning Gaffer takes a peak at a defeat that by no means signifies where this club stands right now.
1. It Happens – Okay, so up to this point, the Red Bulls had just one loss on the season, also on the road. Saturday night played out like it should have, given New York went 75+ minutes a man down after Luke Sassano's red card. San Jose held possession, created chances and scored goals. Nothing too much to see here; these games happen, even to the best teams in the world. As midfielder Tony Tchani told MLSsoccer.com after the game, “We need to get hard at work this week.”
2. An Impressive First – For nearly 30 minutes, New York kept San Jose off the board following the red card. The Red Bulls looked confident in their display after the 13th minute ejection, staying compact and limiting San Jose’s chances—they even created a few good opportunities of their own. This team didn’t hang their head after the early set back, a sign that they believe they can get a result, no matter what. “If we would have survived the half, we could have reorganized a little bit,” head coach Hans Backe said about the first goal. “We were definitely in the game, even if we played with 10 men.”
3. Pace This – After the game, Backe said that pace up top would have helped New York to control the game a bit more. Sound familiar? Backe had wanted to add pace with English forward Luke Rodgers, who was denied a work permit in April. It will be interesting to see what additions Backe makes to the team during the summer transfer window, but one thing is certain: The players will be fast.
4. Seeing Red –Luke Sassano’s red card was a tough way to start the game, and it was the first time all season that the team played a man down. The challenge was reckless for sure, but New York are confident Saturday's result would have gone another way had Sassano stayed on the field. No player blamed Sassano, but they were quick to point out how the referee’s decision affected the match. “I’m not sure if it was a red or not," Juan Pablo Angel said. “I just hope that [the referee] got it right. It was a tough call to make.”
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.