HARRISON, N.J. – Leading up to Saturday night’s match against Los Angeles, Red Bulls manager Hans Backe said that the Galaxy would provide a gauge of just how good his Red Bulls’ squad has become over the past weeks. With new signings and confidence from three straight matches without a loss, the Red Bulls had a chance to prove that they were for real.
The “gauge”? Not there yet. Despite multiple chances, the Red Bulls lacked the killer instinct of Los Angeles in dropping a 1-0 result to the top team in the league.
“I’m still rather happy with our performance,” Backe said after the match. “We played rather relaxed and still created a number of chances.”
At times, it seemed like new signings Thierry Henry and Rafa Marquez were trying to do too much, with Marquez struggling to link up with his teammates. When asked about when his new signings would acclimate, Backe was honest in his assessment.
“Next year,” Backe quipped.
The Red Bulls held an edge in chances, a 12-9 advantage in shots including nearly double the number of shots in the second half. There was a clear advantage in nearly every offensive category, including corner kicks. New York created chances but couldn’t put any away, despite their expensive firepower.
“I think we set the standard for our team in the way we played,” Backe said. “We have improved all the time but it’s only one game against a top team.”
Earlier in the week, the Red Bulls coach had said he wanted to avoid the panic that the team showed in their two losses to conference leading Columbus. In those matches, the Red Bulls had difficulty with the class and poise of the Crew.
Saturday night, despite a dropped result, the Red Bulls still put forth a fine effort in a game that at times got ugly.
“We created chances, we held the ball, we did a lot of good things,” midfielder Dane Richards told MLSSoccer.com. “We did well. Los Angeles is a very good team but we didn’t score. We still need more time, time together, but I think if we get that time, we can be very, very good.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be reached for comment at KristianRDyer@yahoo.com and followed at twitter.com/kdyer1012