Losses happen. But given the last-place finish of the previous season, New York Red Bulls fans hope that the current two-game slide is just a drop in form and nothing permanent.
Saturday night, New York did not look good and their attack once again seemed rather ordinary. It was almost halfway into the second half that they registered their first shot on goal.
Four things to take from Saturday night’s 1-0 loss to Seattle:
1. The Defense Ain’t The Issue: Even with Seattle’s offensive struggles this season, the Sounders still boast one of the best attacking lineups in the league and can be dangerous any given night. The fact that New York limited chances and kept their shape well defensively is perhaps the only positive to come from Saturday night.
“I would say it was an even game. None of the teams created many chances, it was more of a battle today,” said Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe. “We defended okay, but our problem was the attacking game. The final third we didn’t come through in our attacking game.”
2. The Midfield Is: Nothing seemed to click on Saturday night with the attack as the midfield seemed to degenerate into long balls over the top. It was an uneasy night for Joel Lindpere, who seemed to be marked out of the match and spent too much time deep in the midfield retrieving the ball rather than starting the attack. Playing behind Lindpere, it was a quiet night for Carl Robinson, who didn’t make a pass that mattered. All told, the balls played by the midfield were weak and lacked purpose.
3. Angel Grounded: The lack of service from the midfield clearly frustrated Juan Pablo Angel. The striker looked anything but dangerous, but it wasn’t his fault given the lack of opportunities in front of goal. Backe acknowledged this after the game, conceding that Angel is a player most dangerous in the box, and he isn’t getting those chances yet. Despite all the rumors about the team’s acquiring a big-name striker, they should also focus on serving the one they already have. Maybe a creative midfielder needs to arrive, too.
4. All Is Not Lost: Despite the loss to San Jose last week—midfielder Seth Stammler called in an “anomaly” because the team played down a man for over 70 minutes—and the loss to Seattle, it isn’t doom and gloom in Harrison. The Red Bulls know that they didn’t climb to the top of the Eastern Conference by accident and Thursday against Columbus is a huge match for the team’s psyche.
“We need to take a little time to work through this loss,” said midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic. “Then we need to just get back to work and to what made us successful before.”
Kristian Dyer is a reporter for MLSSoccer.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.