UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – New York Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe isn’t concerned that his team has scored just twice in three games this season, especially given he's only had a full-strength squad for two of those matches.
Besides, following the acquisition of Dwayne De Rosario from Toronto FC last Friday, Backe said he believes he has found the player who can open things up in the midfield and create more chances.
“I will be very happy if he can score some goals from that position,” Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “He will almost be a No. 10. For him, it’s forward all the time.”
De Rosario made his Red Bulls debut at halftime of Saturday's 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena, and numbers from the match back up Backe’s claim that De Rosario is a difference-maker.
WATCH: Full match highlights
Within two minutes of entering the game, the Canadian international threaded a ball to Dane Richards that set up the game’s first goal, and after a tough and physical first half where chances were scant, the insertion of De Rosario changed the game’s flow dramatically.
Backe noted that in the first half, before the insertion of De Rosario, possession was split between the two teams. However, New York enjoyed 73 percent of the ball in the second half.
The Red Bulls also had 38 forays into Houston's box in the second half, compared with just 17 in the first.
[inline_node:329795]The Ballouchy Factor
When De Rosario checked into the match, it was midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy who made way for the new addition.
Last year, after trading for Ballouchy with the Colorado Rapids, Backe described the player as the “missing link" in the midfield. However, Ballouchy seems to have fallen out of favor following some very average performances dating back to late last year.
But Backe still sees him in the mix in the starting XI.
“I see him contributing at center mid still, right half-mid and left half-mid,” Backe said. “He can play all those positions.”
Sutton Getting Closer
Goalkeeper Greg Sutton has yet to rejoin the team since suffering his fourth career concussion during training two weeks ago.
“He will gradually do some training this week, hopefully,” said Backe, who ruled Sutton out for this Saturday’s trip to Philadelphia.
The Red Bulls traded a first-round pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft plus midfielder Tony Tchani and left back Danleigh Borman to obtain De Rosario. Now with a free roster slot, the club will begin looking at options.
“We have to take a closer look at what we need and be smart with the Gold Cup coming and with the players we will be missing,” Backe said. “We have to scout and look and see what we need, perhaps cover at that left back position."
After Saturday's match, Backe was upset with how Houston's goal was conceded.
Defender Rafa Márquez seemed to slow down when pursuing a Houston header over the Red Bulls back line, while goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul failed to come out and clear the ball. Houston’s Cam Weaver raced around Márquez, who looked to be shielding the ball, to score the game-tying goal.
“It’s about decision-making," Backe said. "It’s not easy for goalies when they have to decide so quickly what to do in a situation like that, but the angle Weaver had, Bouna should have stayed on the line.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer