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.

11 Comments For This Post

  1. erik v Says:

    The attendance thing is interesting to me. It seems to be such an obsession to so many fans. Don't think we should measure the success of the team or the stadium by the attendance record.
    According to the stats on mlssoccer.com we had the lowest RBNY average attendance in more than ten years last year so you can't expect to jump up to 20,000+ the year after just because of a new stadium. If the DPs show up this summer you might have 7+ games of sell out crowds that will push up the average for the year. If you look at the league numbers of this weekend there were only two teams that had a crowd above 15,000. Unfortunately that is the reality of soccer in the USA.
    All I hope for is that RBNY's attendance numbers slowly climb up to the 20+ mark before the DPs show up. If we end the season strong and keep a decent team I think we can expect/demand a 20+ crowd every game. But for now we just need to accept we are still just a 13-18,000 team. I'm just happy I can watch soccer in an awesome stadium as supposed to the embarrassing grounds of D.C. or SJ

  2. ASN Editorial Says:

    well the reason it's such an obsession, for me at least, is that so many of us thought Red Bull Arena would be this “game changer” for soccer in the region. Was this thought naive? Foolish even? Perhaps so. Maybe it wasn't realistic to expect 20k plus just because the stadium changed. It's true that only Seattle and Toronto (and now Philadelphia) draw that many.

    Maybe I shouldn't worry about it. You're right, the bottom line is we have an awesome ground where we can watch soccer. If others don't want to come that's their problem.

  3. erik v Says:

    Honestly I also though RBNY would have a crowd close or over 20+ just because of the stadium and location and was especially disappointed with the low turnout at the Union game. I would be worried when the DPs arrived and we are still faced with a half empty stadium.
    Oh and also. Love the Good, the Bad, The Red, the Dead section and the new Forum. In the end websites like yours will create new fans and just as important keep the current fans.

  4. Wes C Says:

    Sassano had no place in that starting 11. His performance in the Open Cup against Philly certainly did not warrant the cap. I feel the criticism of Bouna is a little unwarranted. With the exception on the one goal that he clearly mucked up, he was left wide open due weak central defense. There are worst candidates between the posts (see under Chris Seitz).

    Here's an recommendation that I feel some will take much exception to: strip Angel of the captaincy. I've listened to two interviews from Backe and Petke on the World Football Daily podcast, both of which have commented on JPA's less than vocal demeanor on the pitch. I don't think the leader of our team should be known as the strong silent type. Petke looks to be begging for that arm band, and I think RBNY should explore that option.

  5. ASN Editorial Says:

    thanks for the kind words! GLad you like the forum! Reviews have been mixed but it's very much what readers make of it. I like that you don't have to register separately.

    I've actually had somebody offer to build in a proper forum (that you'd have to register for) if this would be of interest to you guys?

  6. ASN Editorial Says:

    I hear you and I agree that Petke would be a great captain. Perfect, in fact. You could tell in the Santos game how much he loved wearing the armband and how seriously he took the responsibility. But the problem seems to be that Backe (like Osorio before him) is either unwilling or unable to “stand up” to JPA for whatever reason. Right now they won't even sub him out of games even though it's obvious he can barely move.

    As for Bouna, it was that one goal that made the difference! Like I said a two goal game when you're down a man on the road is MUCH different than a one goal game. I agree he wasn't at fault on the others but that's a moot point if he let in the one that broke the team's back.

  7. ASN Editorial Says:

    well the reason it's such an obsession, for me at least, is that so many of us thought Red Bull Arena would be this “game changer” for soccer in the region. Was this thought naive? Foolish even? Perhaps so. Maybe it wasn't realistic to expect 20k plus just because the stadium changed. It's true that only Seattle and Toronto (and now Philadelphia) draw that many.

    Maybe I shouldn't worry about it. You're right, the bottom line is we have an awesome ground where we can watch soccer. If others don't want to come that's their problem.

  8. erik v Says:

    Honestly I also though RBNY would have a crowd close or over 20+ just because of the stadium and location and was especially disappointed with the low turnout at the Union game. I would be worried when the DPs arrived and we are still faced with a half empty stadium.
    Oh and also. Love the Good, the Bad, The Red, the Dead section and the new Forum. In the end websites like yours will create new fans and just as important keep the current fans.

  9. Wes C Says:

    Sassano had no place in that starting 11. His performance in the Open Cup against Philly certainly did not warrant the cap. I feel the criticism of Bouna is a little unwarranted. With the exception on the one goal that he clearly mucked up, he was left wide open due weak central defense. There are worst candidates between the posts (see under Chris Seitz).

    Here's an recommendation that I feel some will take much exception to: strip Angel of the captaincy. I've listened to two interviews from Backe and Petke on the World Football Daily podcast, both of which have commented on JPA's less than vocal demeanor on the pitch. I don't think the leader of our team should be known as the strong silent type. Petke looks to be begging for that arm band, and I think RBNY should explore that option.

  10. ASN Editorial Says:

    thanks for the kind words! GLad you like the forum! Reviews have been mixed but it's very much what readers make of it. I like that you don't have to register separately.

    I've actually had somebody offer to build in a proper forum (that you'd have to register for) if this would be of interest to you guys?

  11. ASN Editorial Says:

    I hear you and I agree that Petke would be a great captain. Perfect, in fact. You could tell in the Santos game how much he loved wearing the armband and how seriously he took the responsibility. But the problem seems to be that Backe (like Osorio before him) is either unwilling or unable to “stand up” to JPA for whatever reason. Right now they won't even sub him out of games even though it's obvious he can barely move.

    As for Bouna, it was that one goal that made the difference! Like I said a two goal game when you're down a man on the road is MUCH different than a one goal game. I agree he wasn't at fault on the others but that's a moot point if he let in the one that broke the team's back.

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