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.

5 Comments For This Post

  1. iggi916 Says:

    From what I saw on the stream I don't agree about Mendes. He looked fine to me and he even outran Danny Mwanga at one point, as well as covering up for a horrible clearance by Sutton.

  2. ASN Editorial Says:

    Maybe but overall Mendes looked like a completely different player, at least to me. Older, slower and less attune to the flow of the game. But maybe others had different impressions?

  3. ASN Editorial Says:

    Maybe but overall Mendes looked like a completely different player, at least to me. Older, slower and less attune to the flow of the game. But maybe others had different impressions?

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  5. Clara Alarcon Says:

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