Archive | Commentary

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Good, The Bad, The Red, The Dead

Posted on 04 August 2010 by dkarell

This past week, with the spotlight on Texas, the Red Bull’s players put on a show. In the 2010 MLS All Star Game last Wednesday, Juan Pablo Angel had a solid 45 minutes in the first half before being substituted, and Thierry Henry made his MLS debut last Saturday in the match against the Houston Dynamo. In this 13th edition of the column, we will focus on the 2-2 draw with Houston, as well as the recent signing of Rafael Marquez.

The Good: With Thierry Henry and Juan Pablo Angel finally together, the Red Bull’s attack was more dangerous than seen in quite some time. Henry assisted on both of Angel’s goals, and should have had two of his own, though his finishing was off all day. Expect to see plenty of goals with these two playing as strikers and providers for each other and their teammates. Also, the Red Bulls signed an unprecedented third designated player, Mexico captain Rafa Marquez, to a three and a half year contract, through the 2013 season. Marquez will shore up any potential chinks in the back line, and will most likely be played by coach Hans Backe in a defensive midfield role.

The Bad: Despite being up a man for the whole second half of the match against Houston, the Red Bulls were unable to hold their lead, or add to it. Juan Pablo Angel’s goal was a fantastic strike, but after that, despite close chances, the Red Bulls were unable to put any away, and they missed out on picking up more points on the Eastern Conference leading Columbus Crew, who lost over the weekend to Chivas USA. The Red Bulls are currently in second place, down seven points from the Crew, with a game in hand.

The Red: Before I wrote this article, I was going to say that the backline, and defensive focus was a big issue recently, but I think that Rafa Marquez will help shore that up. His leadership should help raise the games of his teammates, and hopefully he will provide the squad with plenty of possession. Hopefully this is also the end of the Carl Robinson experiment. He has been oft injured, and when playing, not looking very good on offense or defense. He is usually invisible during matches.

The Dead: Clint Mathis today announced his retirement today, saying that this weekend’s game between his Los Angeles Galaxy and Real Madrid will be his final match. Mathis was one of the first American super star soccer players, and his career in New York was nothing short of superb. Mathis played five seasons with the Metrostars/Red Bulls, finishing with 45 goals in all competitions, including five in one game against the Dallas Burn in 2000. The Red Bulls have announced they plan to make a tribute to his career.

Comments (4)

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Good, The Bad, The Red, The Dead

Posted on 28 July 2010 by dkarell

This past week, New York Red Bull fans got their first chance to see the new DP signing, striker Thierry Henry, take the field for the Red Bulls. He played a combined 90 minutes over two games, and looks set to start and play longer in this weekend’s matchup against Houston. In this 12th edition of the column, we will be focusing on the Red Bull’s 2-1 loss to Tottenham last Thursday, and 2-1 win over Manchester City on Sunday.

The Good: The Red Bulls look very very good with Thierry Henry on the field. He helps link up the midfield to the forwards, his influence on the game helps the team play much smarter, and more patient, and certainly and most importantly, the Red Bulls look very dangerous offensively when Henry is on the field. Also, Mac Kandji played well off of Henry on both days, and since coming back from injury, he is playing with a lot of confidence. Henry scored in his first game on Thursday against Tottenham, and celebrated by pointing at the ground screaming, “I’m Here, I’m Here!” MLS beware, the New York Red Bulls are here and should be feared.

The Bad: The loss to Tottenham came thanks to defensive gaffes, the worst being from Jeremy Hall and the keeper Greg Sutton. Hall gave a header back to Sutton, but he hesitated coming out to get it, and it gave enough time for Tottenham left back Gareth Bale to zoom onto the ball and poke it into the back of the net. Hall played ok at times, but certainly looked a bit nervous and tentative at times as well, and its something he is going to have to work on if he wants to get back into the regular starting 11.

The Red: Despite bringing in three pretty high profile teams (yes Man City and Tottenham arnt Man United and Chelsea or Arsenal, but many people know them), the Red Bulls were still unable to sell out Red Bull Arena for any of the three days of soccer games. Even with Thierry Henry’s debut as another reason to show up, they couldn’t sell out the place. Part of the reason has to be the location, which is in the middle of no where, and there doesnt seem to be much in terms of major roads nearby to help alleviate traffic (the easiest way to the stadium really is the PATH train). Also another reason could be ticket prices, which in a down economy, could easily keep people at home, letting them watch on T.V. from their couches.

The Dead: Apparently odds makers put 40/1 odds that Henry would score his first goal for the Red Bulls with his hand.

Comments (0)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Good, The Bad, The Red, The Dead

Posted on 20 July 2010 by dkarell

Well, it was a very exciting week for Red Bull New York fans, with the long awaited arrival of Thierry Henry as the 2nd DP. In this 11th edition of the column, we will be focusing on the Red Bulls 2-0 defeat against the first placed Columbus Crew last Saturday as well as the big signing.

The Good: The Red Bulls finally made it official, when announcing on July 14 (also coincidentally Bastille Day in France) that they had signed former French international and Arsenal legend Thierry Henry on a four and a half year contract. He became the Red Bull’s second designated player, after Juan Pablo Angel. Henry is set to make his debut for his new club vs. Tottenham Hotspur in a friendly match at Red Bull Arena.

The Bad: Oh, there was a game on Saturday? Yes, yes there was, and the Red Bulls were thoroughly beaten by a better and more organized Columbus Crew squad. The Red Bull midfield was not connecting the defense with the forwards, and the defense was all over the place. It was shades of last season’s massive failures to say the least. Both goals given up were due to lazy marking or miscommunication at the most important junctures, in the final third of the field.

The Red: Two games in a row the defense for the Red Bulls has looked shaky, and the midfield has failed to hold any kind of possession. Joel Lindpere and Seth Stammler have not impressed recently in the central of midfield as well. One has to wonder if coach Hans Backe will maybe put Mike Petke back into the lineup to partner Tim Ream, or if he will play more of a defensive wing back instead of Danleigh Borman. Also, Dane Richards up top has failed to produce any results, and with Henry in the lineup now, Backe might want to lean towards a 4-3-3 with Henry on the left, Salou/Richards on the right, and Angel up top.

The Dead: John Wolyniec’s Red Bull/Metrostars career might be over, as it seems as though he is the odd man out for Thierry Henry to be added to the roster. Woly has played 167 games for the Red Bull/Metrostars franchise in all competitions, with 36 goals over nine years with the franchise. His effort, hustle, and hometown pride made him a fan favorite, and he will be missed and greatly remembered for always being a consummate professional.

Comments (1)

Tags: , , , , , ,

The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 12 July 2010 by dkarell

After a long break (for the World Cup of course) The Good, The Bad, The Red and The Dead is back in action! This is the 10th edition of everyone’s favorite column. This week we will be focusing on the 0-0 draw from Red Bull Arena between the Red Bulls and D.C. United.

The Good:

The Red Bulls didn’t lose, and players like Sinisa Ubiparipovic and Joel Lindpere had their moments, and Tim Ream was very solid in the back. Mac Kandji also played 15 minutes in his return from a broken foot that kept him off the field for nearly three months,

And we cant forget about Thursday, when the Red Bulls are set to announce their 2nd DP (probably the worst kept secret in MLS history, Thierry Henry).

The Bad:
The Red Bulls were sloppy all night long in the final third, constantly wasting good buildup play from the midfield by turning the ball over carelessly. The defense was shaky at times, and D.C. had plenty of chances to score in the box, if not for some desperate defending.

The Red:
Something to keep an eye on for sure is if the Red Bulls get a playmaking midfielder with their 3rd DP player, and GM Erik Soler has said he is looking to sign a third DP. In the game, Juan Pablo Angel and Salou Ibrahim
had trouble all match receiving a pass without having to run into the midfield to receive the ball. Joel Lindpere and Seth Stammler were ineffective in spreading the play around on a consistent basis, and the offense sputtered as a result.

The Dead:
Brian Nielsen’s new Mohawk hairdo…..nuff said.
-Dan Karell

Comments (1)

Tags: , ,

The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 24 May 2010 by ASN Staff

Just in time for the new workweek it’s everybody’s favorite ASN column, the Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead! This is the ninth installment of this feature, which will run within a day or two of the team’s last game, this season. Today we focus on the New York Red Bulls’ 3-1 defeat to the Columbus Crew on May 15, while taking a look at the team’s 3-1 victory over Juventus from the weekend. Ready? Here goes:

The Good:
Irving Garcia. The kid demonstrated in 67 minutes vs Juventus why Dane Richards should never be allowed to start another meaningful game for this club. Case closed.

Tony Tchani got his first MLS goal against Columbus and turned in another strong performance against Juventus. Definite starter material at this point. There can’t really be any question this kid is miles better than Seth Stammler or Carl Robinson (who is constantly injured anyway). Holding midfielder is not his ideal spot; he told me after the Columbus match that he sees himself more as a box-to-box player. This is currently Joel Lindpere’s job but there is a spot for Tchani in the starting lineup regardless.

Sinisa Ubiparipovic played arguably his best 45 minutes as a pro in the first half vs. Columbus. He too is a better option than Dane Richards at right wing. Then again so is anybody who can dribble and cross a soccer ball.

The Bad:
Juan Pablo Angel and Dane Richards have been bad for so long they don’t even warrant inclusion in this category anymore.

Mike Petke and Tim Ream cost the team with their snafu in the closing minutes of the Columbus match. The Red Bulls had just scored their first goal and had the momentum. Who knows if they would have managed the equalizer, but the third Crew goal put the game out of reach. There’s really no excuse for that type of stuff at this level.

The Red:
Something needs to give with Juan Pablo Angel. He just isn’t bringing it and is a liability at this point. Red Bulls players are quietly (very quietly) pissed off at this guy. The situation is going to come to a head soon. You haven’t heard the last of this.

Not sure what was driving Hans Backe’s substitutions in the Columbus game. First he removed Sinisa Ubiparipovic, the team’s best player to that point. Then he brought on John Wolyniec for Jeremy Hall, moving Dane Richards to the right wing spot where he has proved to be ineffective at best and an embarrassment at worst. Then he inserted Carlos Mendes for Chris Albright even though attacking options (Garcia, Conor Chinn) were available to him. Okay, so Albright was winded. BFD. At that point what does shoring up your backline really matter when you’re down two goals?

It will be interesting to see Backe’s lineup for the Colorado U.S. Open Cup match because that will tell us a lot about who he views as starter material (in other words, the guys who don’t start Wednesday). So hopefully Richards will make the starting lineup vs. Colorado.

The Dead:
Dane Richards. Need we say more?

Roy Miller as a center midfielder. Please, never again.

Comments (2)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 17 May 2010 by ASN Staff

Welcome to the eighth installment of this feature, which will run within a day or two of the team’s last game, this season. Today we focus on the New York Red Bulls’ 1-0 defeat to Seattle on Saturday. To see an explanation of these terms (Good, Bad, Red, Dead) skip to the bottom of this page.

The Good:
Danleigh Borman. After some difficulties in the opening minutes he got more comfortable as the game wore on. His goalline save, where he bailed out Bouna Condoul, was class.

Carl Robinson may just be a serviceable midfielder after all. Had his best game as a Red Bull. Granted that isn’t saying much but we’ll take what we can get. Little victories.

Jeremy Hall actually had a decent defensive game. For whatever reason Seattle chose not to have Steve Zakuani attack his part of the field. The few times they did it went nowhere.

The Bad:
Juan Pablo Angel. I’ve said it before: This guy can’t move. But it goes beyond that. He can no longer play his role as target striker. Instead he is caught in some kind of existential struggle to redefine his position. This is why you see him in midfield where (presumably) his body takes less of a pounding and where he does not have to engage defenders (even slow ones like Leo Gonzalez) in foot races. Except, this just causes more problems for the actual guys playing midfield. Specifically, it makes Joel Lindpere’s job much more difficult as he suddenly has to compete for balls with Angel and has less space to operate. Lindpere, lest we forget, is the team’s best and only midfield attacking weapon at this point. Yeah, we know, Angel isn’t getting the service he needs and deserves, particularly from the wings. But forwards also have to create chances for themselves by making runs and creating space. Angel does not appear capable of either at this point in his career. That’s a shame, but it has gotten to the point where it is dragging the rest of the team down as well. And oh yeah, his attitude, at least as displayed in his very visible body language during games, is not doing him any favors either. Instead of bitching about lack of service, how about starting a run to create a passing lane for somebody? Oh right, he can’t run. Then sit yourself on the bench. This is not the time or the place to redefine yourself as a midfielder. Unfortunately, with injuries to Macoumba Kandji and now Salou Ibrahim there are few realistic alternatives at striker.

Bouna Condoul had another horrible game. By sheer luck (and Danleigh Borman) he didn’t cost the team any goals, though he probably should have done better with Freddy Montero’s shot that ended up in the net.

Dane Richards was largely invisible except when he was giving the ball to the opposition and doing his best to turn scoring chances into exercises in futility.

The Red
There are a few potential flashpoints on this roster that deserve our attention in the coming weeks. One is obviously striker, where Angel appears incapable of positive contributions. But Angel isn’t going anywhere and not only because he’s the captain of the team. There just aren’t any other options at striker. Conor Chinn has serious weaknesses as we saw vs. New England, Kandji is out, John Wolyniec will probably need to take Salou’s place and that’s about it without getting Osorio-an.

At this point the goalkeeper position may be the team’s most glaring issue. Condoul has had his chance. Several of them, in fact. He still can’t position himself, can barely take goal kicks and does way too many bonehead things. But here too there is no real competition. Greg Sutton has done very little to prove he is at all reliable and there are no other goalies on the roster at present. It sure would be nice to have a guy like Jon Busch, wouldn’t it? Surely the second division has goalkeepers who can do better than either one on the New York Red Bulls’ roster at present. Please sign one or two. Or go to Europe if you absolutely need to. Just do something, please.

Dane Richards was taken out of the game pretty early, the first indication that Hans Backe might not be happy with his play. Will we see somebody else start at right midfield Thursday? Let’s hope so because Dane Richards doesn’t belong in MLS at this point.

Speaking of Backe, what was he doing playing Seth Stammler at left midfield in a home game? And why did he play Brian Nielsen as a forward, much less on the right side? Yes, we are now questioning Backe’s decisions. Well, it was inevitable.

The traffic/transportation situation to and from Red Bull Arena came back to bite the team. I’m not faulting the authorities for doing what they need to when situations involving suspicious packages and the like arise. But there are simply no contingency plans to deal with these type of issues. The area around Red Bull Arena not only lacks parking but appears to be a giant bottleneck. This was not the last time something like this will happen either. It doesn’t have to be a suspicious package. Debris on the track, electrical issues, “sick” passengers and any number of other issues can cut off the lone line of rail access from Manhattan to Harrison. With that, the team loses potential fans and its efforts to grow the sport in the area take a giant step back.

The Dead
The idea that Bouna Condoul and Dane Richards can be starters needs to be quashed.

Seth Stammler at left midfield. Never again, please.

Juan Pablo Angel as creative attacking midfielder. Unless he wants to try it in practice first.

We don’t want to see him die but Tyrone Marshall is a punk thug who should get a lifetime ban for all the things he has already done. Most recent example: After getting a yellow card Saturday he responded with an obscene gesture to display his outrage. Never mind the fact that Marshall probably should have been thrown out of the game for trying to play referee and cop and being a general wanker on the previous play. The gesture was caught on camera. It was in plain sight, though the referee had his head turned slightly. That should have been a second yellow card and automatic expulsion.

More ASN coverage of the match

Hans Backe’s postgame press conference audio

Mike Petke makes his feelings known on the match

Player ratings

Photo gallery

Red Bull New York statement re: PATH station

Discuss the game on our forum, where you can also share your stories from the PATH fiasco.

Explanation of terms

The Good – Should speak for itself. Players, formations, strategies, substitutions and other things that “looked good” for whatever reason (but not aesthetically. We don’t care about players’ hairstyles and the like).

The Bad – Opposite of good. Who and what looked lousy and why.

The Red – Things that have us concerned. Primarily individual play but could also be strategies, (lack of) substitutions and putting players at positions they have no business occupying (though that practice thankfully appears done with the departure of Juan Carlos Osorio).

The Dead – Players, schemes or strategies that deserve to be put out to pasture.

Comments (0)

Does New York really need another MLS team?

Posted on 13 May 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Talk of a second team in New York is as old as MLS itself. For a long time, that’s all it was: talk. But New York Mets owner Fred Wilpon entered the fray as a serious bidder for an MLS expansion franchise around 2007-2008, only to drop out after his estate lost a bunch of money to Bernie Madoff.

Now Wilpon is back in, speaking in non-obtuse terms about his desire to bring an MLS club to Queens, N.Y., specifically to the area surrounding Citi Field.

This has prompted vigorous debate on the matter. The pro-NYC2 camp so far appears to be making the most noise, which is unfortunate. Because while there may very well be legitimate arguments for bringing a second MLS team to the area, I have yet to hear or read any.

They all appear to follow the lines of this Goal.com column: Top 10 reasons New York needs another MLS team.

The Goal.com piece is laughable but deserves scrutiny precisely because it is the template used by supporters of the NYC2 cause. Hopefully by debunking it here we can put an end to these bogus efforts and set the area’s soccer fans on a more constructive path. Such as, say, supporting the local Major League Soccer club that already exists.

Ready? Here goes:

1. “The Red Bulls are simply not New York’s team.”
The reasoning is simple: the team’s home ground is in Harrison, N.J., prior to which it was at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, so they really have no right to refer to themselves as a New York club.

Except, according to this logic, the New York Giants and New York Jets have no right to call themselves New York teams either. Oh but wait: “The Giants and Jets started in the city of New York! It’s different for them!” (So goes the prevailing counter argument.) What about the New York Islanders then? They don’t play in New York City. Never have, in fact. Shouldn’t they call themselves the Nassau County Islanders? “Well Nassau County is still New York state.” Right, and so is Buffalo, N.Y. So teams from there can call themselves the New York Bills or New York Sabres? Moreover, the New York Yankees started as the Baltimore Orioles. Should they still refer to themselves that way even though they switched cities more than 100 years ago?

What it all boils down to is semantics. We can sit here and argue back and forth about which area sports franchises are and are not allowed to call themselves New York teams. It’s a stupid argument that ultimately goes nowhere. Either way it has no bearing on whether there should be a second MLS team for the area.

Because even if you don’t accept the New York moniker, the fact remains that the Red Bulls are the closest thing to a New York area MLS franchise–and one that is not supported anywhere near as well as it should be. Trying to fix that by adding a second team is like trying to fix a financial crisis by printing money and bailing out the institutions that caused the crisis in the first place. Oh wait, that’s exactly what just happened. Bad example.

2. “The Wilpons should be considered a tremendous asset.”
Now why is this exactly? These are the same people that thought Bernie Madoff was a great money manager. Doesn’t exactly speak for sound judgment, does it? But they did build the New York Mets into, uh, the New York Mets. Got anything else? More importantly, how exactly does this favor a second team in New York? I’m not getting the connection. But maybe that’s just me.

3. “There are no other ‘WOW’ bids for MLS expansion clubs”

Who said NYC2 was a “WOW” bid? Why does MLS need another team anyway? All but about three or four of the 16 it has now aren’t drawing well at all. But even if we accept that MLS absolutely needs to expand, how can you say that a place like St. Louis, which is very much the birthplace of American soccer (along with Kearny, N.J. and Bethlehem, Pa. and a few other places) is not more deserving of a franchise? And we’re not talking about putting a team in midtown Manhattan but Flushing, Queens. What’s so exciting about that? You want a real “WOW” bid? Put the team in Las Vegas!

4. “The Borough Boys”

For the uninitiated, this is the New York supporter group that is modeled after Philadelphia’s Sons of Ben. Supposedly this group has the power to create “groundswell needed to precipitate expansion.”

No matter your opinion of the Borough Boys, or on the accuracy of the previous statement, the comparison to the Sons of Ben is not quite apt. Reason being that NEW YORK ALREADY HAS A TEAM FOR THEM TO SUPPORT! Philadelphia did not.

5. “Long Island”
I swear I’m not making this up. To wit: “The logjam of New York traffic separates nearly seven and half million Long Islanders from attending matches.”

So let me see if I can get this straight. You’re arguing for a New York City expansion team because of (wait for it!) TRAFFIC?

Here’s a concept for Long Islanders and other suburbanites to learn about: It’s called public transportation. These are trains and buses that any citizen can take to get from point A to point B. There is something called the Long Island Railroad, which takes you directly to New York Penn Station, from where you can take the PATH train directly to Red Bull Arena! While this may lack the comfort of a private car, it is significantly cheaper and burns far fewer natural resources.

6. “2013”
Because the Mayan calendar ends in 2012 and we’ll be so happy to be alive that we’ll want to put a second team in New York City. Or something.

7. “The existing team is named after an energy drink. An Austrian one.”
Okay, you got me here. This is about as distasteful as that swill they put in those weird little cans with the cows on it.

Sure they do this stuff in Europe; name teams after aspirin products and energy drinks and what-have-you. But in the U.S.? No chance. Unless of course you put them in a city where the majority of residents are foreign born and which has sizable expat communities from every nation imaginable. Not that a place like that exists, of course.

Seriously though, why does this necessitate another team in the area? Have Wilpon or whomever buy the team from its current owners and rechristen them the Cosmos or something if you really care so much. Instead of constructing a stadium in Queens, build a better rail connection to downtown Manhattan’s World Trade Center hub. That will have the additional benefit of being useful to society as a whole, unlike sports stadiums which invariably just make the team’s owners even richer while fleecing taxpayers. (If you don’t believe me I challenge you to find even one solitary example of a publicly-supported stadium that helped local businesses).

8. “Transportation”
Didn’t we already cover this? Oh wait: “A train ride from Manhattan to Queens is much more realistic than one to Harrison.”
Actually, unless you live on the top of Grand Central Station, a train ride from Manhattan to Harrison is easier, faster, cheaper and more comfortable than one to Flushing, Queens (I really don’t think they’re going to build the stadium in Astoria or Long Island City). Whether that makes it realistic depends on your definition of the term. I suppose in Long Island they still view trains as some work of fiction.

9. “New York vs. New Jersey would make for a great rivalry”
Right, because when they put a second team in LA it turned into a huge rivalry between Chivas and the Galaxy. The current New York area MLS franchise already has a real rival though, based on actual history between the two teams: DC United. And MLS is trying to manufacture a second rivalry with Philadelphia.

Even so this argument is stupid. And not only because of the LA experiment. A rivalry between Toronto and Ottawa would surely be fierce, so should we put a team in Ottawa? What about New Orleans? They’d be a natural rival to Houston. Call it the Gulf of Mexico battle or something. Or what about Miami FC vs. Havana, Cuba? Now you’re talking rivalries! That would make the Old Firm look like a friendly.

10. “NYC does have a soccer tradition!”
Indeed it does. The Cosmos. Except wait: In their hayday, they played at Giants Stadium, which is not in New York City.

If you want to argue tradition, St. Louis is going to win this one, I’m afraid. The industrial parts of New Jersey, far more than NYC, was where soccer in the area first developed. And those areas are well represented by Harrison, thank you very much.

Comments (34)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 10 May 2010 by ASN Staff

Welcome to the seventh installment of this feature, which will run within a day or two of the team’s last game, this season. Today we focus on the New York Red Bulls’ 4-0 defeat at San Jose on Saturday. To see an explanation of these terms (Good, Bad, Red, Dead) skip to the bottom of this page.

The Good:

Tony Tchani played well in his first MLS start. He’s got a few kinks to sort out but he can definitely become a solid contributor in this league. Maybe a lot more than that.

Salou Ibrahim wasn’t terrible.

Yes, that’s what we have to resort to this week in “The Good” category. “Not terrible.” That kind of week, folks. Hopefully there won’t be one of these for quite some time.

I suppose that’s another good thing; that this is an anomaly rather than the norm it was last year. Or at least it has been so far.

The Bad:

Start with the team as a whole. They clearly quit after the second San Jose goal. It wasn’t so much about keeping the Quakes’ margin of victory respectable (goal difference carries little weight in MLS) but that it just doesn’t speak well to the team’s spirit. It was the first time you can really say the team as a whole disappointed this season.

If we’re going to pick on individual players for their gaffes (and yes, we absolutely will) it starts with one name: Luke Sassano.

Contrary to many fans, I do not fault Hans Backe for starting Sassano in Jeremy Hall’s place. Hall has been a major defensive liability and with Bobby Convey in form it was going to make for a long night. Of course, as it turned out it was a long night anyway. Blame Sassano for this. All he had to do was keep Convey in check, guard the byline and eliminate his runs down that side. Okay, so that’s a lot easier said than done. But the point is that having a defensive player in that role, even if it’s just to cut off some passing lanes, would have done more for the team’s defense than Jeremy Hall does at that position. The one caveat being that the player in question had to actually stay in the game. Sassano failed at this in a very egregious manner, by committing a boneheaded foul (that was absolutely red card worthy by the way) and getting himself sent off after 13 minutes.

That foul threw the entire gameplan, of which Sassano played a major role, out the window. The team basically had to retreat into a shell, with Seth Stammler abandoning his spot in left midfield to take over the right back spot. This cut into the Red Bulls’ presence in midfield, which in turn eliminated the service to the forwards.

Even so they should have done better.

Tim Ream finally had his rookie game. It was unfortunate that it happened right when the team was forced to rely on him more than usual. We’re willing to give him a pass because it’s the first time this happened. But his overall level of urgency seemed lacking. He was burned on the first Quakes goal and had a large part in the second (though not as much as the guy we’re about to pick on). I realize part of this is Ream’s overall demeanor, but still, you want to see somebody a little more fired up in those situations.

Bouna Condoul’s gaffe gifted the Quakes their second goal, causing the team to pack it in before losing 4-0. You can’t blame Bouna for the fact that the team quit, but you can blame him for letting in a soft goal when the team could ill afford it. A two goal deficit in the second half, with a man down on the road is very, very difficult to come back from. But the Red Bulls certainly could have salvaged something had the score remained 1-0 for awhile. It didn’t though, and the reason for that has a name: Bouna Condoul (with assist to Tim Ream).

Seth Stammler needs to step up in situations like this. I know it’s not an ideal scenario, but he and Mike Petke were the veteran guys back there and the team really could have used some leadership.

The Red:

Juan Pablo Angel looked completely lost. He could barely move after about 20 minutes. This has been going on too long to write it off as a lingering injury or bad form. It may very well be one or the other, or even both, but age and wear and tear are no doubt the larger factors. We are in all likelihood witnessing the twilight of Angel’s career. At this point you can barely justify bringing him back as as non-designated player next year. Or, if current patterns hold you won’t be able to at season end. Very sad.

After such a disappointing loss, what will the turnout be this weekend against the Seattle Sounders?

If the gate is even weaker than it was for Philly (say 13K or below) and the Red Bulls lose, then what?

Who exactly are this team’s leaders? Angel is ineffective. Mike Petke? He didn’t appear to do the job Saturday, or even want it. Stammler? Not a regular starter. Lindpere, Carl Robinson, Roy Miller and Ibrahim Salou are too new. Dane Richards? Uh, right.

What role, if any, does Backe envision for Jeremy Hall? Obviously Sassano is not a realistic alternative, but we’re (again) expecting Chris Albright to start Saturday at right back.

Speaking of Backe, how, if at all, does he react to the team’s first truly disappointing outing of the season?

The Dead
Who does this team have to play goalie? It appears neither Coundoul nor Greg Sutton are up for the job. Where have you gone Caleb Patterson-Sewell?

Will Sassano get a chance to redeem himself in the US Open Cup game Wednesday? Or did he hang himself with the rope Backe supplied him?

Explanation of terms

The Good – Should speak for itself. Players, formations, strategies, substitutions and other things that “looked good” for whatever reason (but not aesthetically. We don’t care about players’ hairstyles and the like).

The Bad – Opposite of good. Who and what looked lousy and why.

The Red – Things that have us concerned. Primarily individual play but could also be strategies, (lack of) substitutions and putting players at positions they have no business occupying (though that practice thankfully appears done with the departure of Juan Carlos Osorio).

The Dead – Players, schemes or strategies that deserve to be put out to pasture.

Comments (11)

Tags: , , , , , , , , ,

The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 03 May 2010 by ASN Staff

Welcome to the sixth installment of this feature, which will run within a day or two of the team’s last game, this season. Today we focus on the New York Red Bulls’ 2-0 defeat of DC United on Saturday–the team’s first win at RFK Stadium since 2005. To see an explanation of these terms (Good, Bad, Red, Dead) skip to the bottom of this page.

The Good
The team is firing on all cylinders. Things are clicking. Morale is high. Very high in fact. This is not just conjecture, but based on what I observed in the team’s RFK Stadium locker room after Saturday’s victory.

We haven’t said much about Hans Backe except to criticize him for not using all his subs in the season opener against Chicago. Some praise is due. Probably even a lot of praise. Keep in mind seven of 11 starters from this squad were on the team that managed five wins all of last season. Yet here we are six games in to the 2010 campaign and the Red Bulls have already matched their victory total from all of last year. Yes, Joel Lindpere and Tim Ream have made a big difference. But Salou Ibrahim and Carl Robinson? Not so much (though Ibrahim has played well). Clearly the coach deserves credit. Both coaches, actually. While Backe has undoubtedly done an admirable job, it makes Juan Carlos Osorio look like even more of a clueless lost cause. How he’s having success in Colombia is beyond me.

Dane Richards. I picked up on some signs of improvement in the FC Dallas game (when he was “good”). Philly was a step back (had him “red”) but he was terrific Saturday. In fact, he leads the man of the match poll and at this point is a favorite to be my “bull” of the week on this week’s Seeing Red! podcast. Yes, you heard correctly: I am singing the praises of Dane Richards. And guess what? He deserves it.

Juan Pablo Angel is creating chances and scoring goals. In the first half of Saturday’s game his “midfield work” was more a disruption than anything else, but in the second half it resulted in a goal. But this does not mean Angel is exempt from criticism either. More on that further down.

Seth Stammler had another strong game, this time at left midfield. With Brian Nielsen presumably starting in that spot at San Jose on Saturday, it means Stammler should start in Carl Robinson’s spot at holding midfield. But it may not happen. Backe seems to like Robinson, for whatever reason.

The Bad:
Robinson. Really hard to figure out why he continues to start. He can’t really control the ball, can’t pass it and can barely run the pitch.

Bouna Condoul still can’t play goalkeeper. He’s great at stopping shots though.

What’s going on with Roy Miller? He played poorly again. Seems to lack focus or something.

The Red:
Angel’s conversion ratio of goal chances is very poor. He could have had three or four Saturday.

Salou also had an egregious miss late in the second half.

The team was poor defensively in the first half. DC should have scored at least two or three goals. The Red Bulls continue to dodge bullets in this area; we saw the same thing in the Dallas and Seattle games and elsewhere. Eventually it’s going to catch up with them and one of these brainfarts is going to result in a goal. MLS strikers may not be great but they’re better than this.

The San Jose Earthquakes are playing well and there is reason to be apprehensive about that game.

The Dead:
Jeremy Hall’s sojourn at right back appears to be, at least for now. Chris Albright is eligible to return from the injured list in Saturday’s match. Unless Backe decides he isn’t match fit, Albright should start. With Dane Richards now playing a lot better, you don’t want to give that spot to Hall either. Maybe try him on the left side? No, too many other options there. If Albright starts, Richards keeps improving and everybody else stays healthy, it’s hard to find a spot for Hall in the starting lineup.

Tim Ream has likely taken his last goal kick for a little while. Coundoul is apparently ready to resume those duties, per Backe.

Explanation

The Good – Should speak for itself. Players, formations, strategies, substitutions and other things that “looked good” for whatever reason (but not aesthetically. We don’t care about players’ hairstyles and the like).

The Bad – Opposite of good. Who and what looked lousy and why.

The Red – Things that have us concerned. Primarily individual play but could also be strategies, (lack of) substitutions and putting players at positions they have no business occupying (though that practice thankfully appears done with the departure of Juan Carlos Osorio).

The Dead – Players, schemes or strategies that deserve to be put out to pasture.

Comments (3)

Tags: , , , , , , ,

The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 28 April 2010 by ASN Staff

Welcome to the fifth installment of this feature, which will run within a day or two of the team’s last game, this season. Today we focus on the New York Red Bulls’ 2-1 defeat of Philadelphia Union in the US Open Cup game Tuesday night. To see an explanation of these terms (Good, Bad, Red, Dead) skip to the bottom of this page.

The Good:
Basically everybody who played started the match, with possible exception of Carlos Mendes whom we’ll discuss later. And Greg Sutton. Okay, just about everybody. Nine of 11 ain’t bad. This team came out focused and played inspired soccer. The first half was a clinic and New York really should have led by three or four goals instead of one or two at intermission.

Of particular note here are Seth Stammler and Tony Tchani. Chinn deserves mention for his two goals but he also missed at least half that many solid chances. Tchani and Stamm simply dominated the center of the park. That’s exactly what Hans Backe was talking about when he said the team needs more control of midfield play.

Chris Albright when healthy is a first rate player. We saw that last night. Can’t wait for him to start at San Jose next week.

The Bad:
The opponents were and that puts the Baby Bulls’ stellar performance in perspective a bit. Or at least it raises the old chicken/egg question of whether Philly is flat-out hopeless by itself or whether the Red Bulls made them that way.

We’re focused on the Red Bulls here, but the antics of Union coach Peter Nowak are a joke. Making a team of professional adults run wind sprints to punish them for their performance? Holding a closed door meeting for nearly an hour instead of making himself and his team available to the press? At least one reporter, from Philadelphia, was in danger of missing his publication’s deadline as a result. The Philadelphia players we spoke to (when they were finally made available) were careful not to criticize their coach on the record or when the tape recorders were running. But more than one pair of eyebrows were raised when Nowak’s methods were mentioned. This can’t end well for the former Olympic team coach. It will be interesting to watch the team in the weeks ahead to see if they respond at all to these motivational ploys or (what is more likely) quit on Nowak the way a certain team quit on its notebook-wielding Colombian coach last season.

The Red:
We’re giving the attendance a pass for last night because, let’s face it, nobody really goes to preliminary round US Open Cup games under the best of circumstances. 8pm on Tuesday night in blustery conditions are not even decent circumstances. However there is some real concern about the turnout for the next MLS home game, against the Seattle Sounders on May 15.

Carlos Mendes looks a lot slower, thicker and less skilled than he did the last time we saw him. He’s coming off a tough injury but you have to wonder how much longer Mendes, who turns 30 this year, can hang on to his roster spot.

Also was anybody else happy to see a striker and holding midfielder who can actually move like professional athletes? And did anybody else think that maybe, just maybe, these guys are holding the team back from playing the way it is capable of?

The Dead:
Greg Sutton is not the answer at goalkeeper. In fact, he barely has the making of a serviceable backup. For all his flaws, Bouna Condoul is capable of spectacular saves that can turn a game (see FC Dallas, April 17). Sutton barely seems capable of making the standard ones. You almost have to wonder what he’s doing on the roster at this point. Surely younger, cheaper (and better) alternatives are out there?


Explanation:
The Good – Should speak for itself. Players, formations, strategies, substitutions and other things that “looked good” for whatever reason (but not aesthetically. We don’t care about players’ hairstyles and the like).

The Bad – Opposite of good. Who and what looked lousy and why.

The Red – Things that have us concerned. Primarily individual play but could also be strategies, (lack of) substitutions and putting players at positions they have no business occupying (though that practice thankfully appears done with the departure of Juan Carlos Osorio).

The Dead – Players, schemes or strategies that deserve to be put out to pasture.

Comments (5)

Advertise Here
Advertise Here