Over the course of a long and often grueling MLS season, there are bound to be days when things don’t click. Consider the Red Bulls’ 2-0 loss to Chivas USA on Saturday the first time this season the Red Bulls know the feeling.
“We just didn’t put it together," said midfielder Sinisa Ubiparipovic after the match. "Our passing wasn’t good enough to break them down."
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Almost immediately after kickoff of the second half, the Red Bulls found themselves on their heels and trailing. A 46th-minute strike by Jesús Padilla from just outside the box deflected off rookie defender Tim Ream, catching Red Bulls goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul flat-footed. The shot struck the post and bounced to Coundoul, who lunged at the ball and pushed it across the line and into the back of the net. It was the first goal New York conceded and the first time the team trailed all season.
The Red Bulls pressured and pushed for an equalizer throughout much of the second half, but their attack sputtered. Despite the second-half insertion of Salou Ibrahim – the freshly inked forward from Belgium – into the match, New York rarely looked dangerous. Striker Juan Pablo Ángel struggled for a second straight game but came close twice in the 63rd and 66th minutes, with both of his headers failing to land on frame. For much of the game, New York struggled to muster anything offensively.
New York’s best chance of the half and the match came in the 73rd minute when Mac Kandji settled a ball on the left side of Chivas USA’s box and sent a cross to Ibrahim, who was open from eight yards out. Unmarked, the second-half sub awkwardly settled and floated a shot across the goal and wide.
Chivas USA iced the game during extra time off the foot of Padilla, who outraced Jeremy Hall for a through ball from midfield and beat a diving Coundoul for his second goal of the game, capping off a solid performance by the hosts.
“He said he didn’t think we played our best,” Ubiparipovic said of coach Hans Backe. “But we’ll be back, this is our first loss this year, including preseason. We will do better.”