Tag Archive | "Mike Petke"

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A long night at Buck Shaw Sassano, Ream cause pain for Bulls

Posted on 08 May 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

This shot was from the Santos game and Sassano got ball that time ©Scott Marsh/ASN

For 10 minutes, the New York Red Bulls looked great on Saturday night at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara Calif. Then things fell apart. The immediate catalyst was a straight red card to surprises starter Luke Sassano in the 13th minute. The team kept its shape for about 30 minutes before Bobby Convey and Ryan Johnson (aided by Tim Ream) combined for a first goal by the San Jose Earthquakes on the stroke of halftime. The Red Bulls’ fate was effectively sealed shortly after the restart when Ream lost track of Joey Gjertsen, whose shot really should have been saved by Bouna Condoul.

Ream was hung out to dry on the third San Jose goal as well. Chris Wondolowski was able to position himself in front of the rookie and then deflect Ramiro Corrales’ cross past Condoul. The Earthquakes added one more for good measure off a late corner and nearly added a fifth when Cornell Glen hit the post.

The result is clearly a disappointment for Hans Backe’s team, who had many reasons to be confident coming into the match. Backe’s decision to start Sassano over Jeremy Hall will clearly be second-guessed, and deservedly so. But on paper it was a sound choice. Hall has been a defensive liability all season and with Bobby Convey returning to peak form on San Jose’s left flank it could have made for a long night for the Red Bulls. But don’t expect Backe to be quick to tinker with the lineup again after this. Or at least not by inserting Sassano, whose red card was certainly justified.

Player Ratings

On scale of 1-10 with 10 being highest:

Bouna Condoul: 3.5

A few decent saves but the second goal, which broke the team’s back, is largely on him (and largely on Tim Ream, whom we’ll get to in a minute). Disappointing performance because these are not the usual types of mistakes he makes. Throughout it all, we have always defended Condoul’s ability as a shot stopper. Now? Not so much. But with that gone, how can you justify Condoul as a starter? Luckily for him Greg Sutton is the only competition.

Roy Miller: 4

Started strong (then again, didn’t everybody?) but was very poor in the middle stretch of the game. Seemed to lack concentration again. A few encouraging overlapping runs in the first half but was not there to stem the tide in the second. Disappointing.

Tim Ream: 3

Talk about disappointing! This was clearly Ream’s worst match of the entire season and by a wide margin. The first goal was on him; should have done more on the second as well. Looked lackadaisical and lethargic. This may be his style but it makes performances like this look even worse. And this was very poor. It will be interesting to see how he rebounds from it. We have come to expect a lot of him in a very short amount of time. This isn’t entirely fair of course but hopefully he can justify these expectations.

Mike Petke: 4.5

Didn’t move well, was out of position several times, turned the ball over a lot. Never seemed to get into the game. Sure, it’s tough when you have to adapt to being a man down but you’d expect more from a veteran. Fortunately for him, others played so poorly you barely noticed.

Luke Sassano: 2

For about 12 minutes he did everything right. Undid it all and more with one poor decision. The studs up challenge on Bobby Convey was stupid and he deserved to see straight red for it. This was a referee who had demonstrated with a yellow to Tony Tchani moments before, that he would be quick with the cards. It’s good to be aggressive but not like this. Back to the bench, perhaps for good.

Seth Stammler: 5

Very quiet game and not necessarily in a good way. Did well defensively at times but was out of position at others. Had to switch to right back after the expulsion. That’s not an easy transition to make in the middle of the game so he gets some sympathy for it. But at this point he’s a veteran and would have liked to see him organize the defense better.

Joel Lindpere: 6.5

A solid performance. Ran a ton. Could have done better with a chance in the first half that was set up by Salou Ibrahim. But never really seemed to settle in to his spot on the pitch. Still clearly the team’s engine. That’s not changing.

Tony Tchani: 7
One of the lone bright spots on the night. Easily the best Red Bull on the pitch. This guy can clearly play and it’s great to see him get the chance. With performances like these, he’s bound to get others. And not just in US Open Cup games.

Dane Richards: 5.5

Only counted two “Dane being Dane” moments, both in the first half. Stopped paying close attention after that but he was also very quiet. Did okay work defensively. Kept the ball moving for the most part. Also put in a tough position by the early red card.

Juan Pablo Angel: 5

Looked fine early on, then seemed to become more stiff and ornery as the game wore on. Does not move well at all; even less so after about 15-20 minutes. Didn’t see many balls and can’t really fault him on that, but his runs (when he made any) left a lot to be desired.

Salou Ibrahim: 6
Not a bad match. Continues to find his form. Had a few nice passes. Would still like to see more of him though.

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Match Facts

New York Red Bulls 0, San Jose Earthquakes 4
May 8, 2010 – Buck Shaw Stadium; Santa Clara, CA

Scoring Summary:
SJ: Ryan Johnson 1 (Bobby Convey 3) 44’
SJ: Joey Gjertsen 1 (Ryan Johnson 3, Bobby Convey 4) 55’
SJ: Chris Wondolowski 4 (Ramiro Corrales 2, Ryan Johnson 4) 77’
SJ: Bobby Burling 1 (Bobby Convey 5) 85’

Disciplinary Summary:
NY: Tony Tchani (caution) 4’
NY: Luke Sassano (red card, ejection) 13’
SJ: Bobby Convey (caution) 43’

Lineups:

New York Red Bulls (5-1-0) – Bouna Coundoul (GK), Roy Miller (Danleigh Borman 67’), Tim Ream, Mike Petke, Luke Sassano (Ejected 13’), Seth Stammler, Tony Tchani (Sinisa Ubiparipovic 75’), Joel Lindpere, Dane Richards, Juan Pablo Angel, Salou Ibrahim (Jeremy Hall 58’)

Substitutes Not Used: Greg Sutton, Andrew Boyens, Brian Nielsen, Conor Chinn

San Jose Earthquakes (3-2-0) – Joe Cannon, Chris Leitch, Bobby Burling, Jason Hernandez, Ramiro Corrales, Joey Gjertsen, Brandon McDonald, Andre Luiz, Bobby Convey, Ryan Johnson (Scott Sealy 85’), Chris Wondolowski (Cornell Glen 85’)

Substitutes Not Used: Jon Busch, Ramon Sanchez, Justin Morrow, Brad Ring, Omar Jasseh

Referee: Andrew Chapin
Referee’s Assistants: Craig Lowry, Paul Scott
4th Referee: Yader Reyes
Attendance: 9,711

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Player ratings: RBNY 2, DC United 0

Posted on 02 May 2010 by ASN Staff

The New York Red Bulls put in arguably their best (first team) performance of the season in a 2-0 win at DC United on May 1. It was the team’s first win at RFK Stadium since the 2006 “rebranding” and pushes its record on the young season to an impressive 5-1. Here are ASN’s player ratings for the match:

Bouna Condoul: 6.5
Once again excellent shot stopping. Twice robbed Clyde Simms, the second time (start of the second half) blind. But once again weak play elsewhere. Fortunately none of it was costly. One the whole, his excellent saves carry more weight in his rating, but it would be nice to see him learn to play the position at some point. He’s apparently ready to take goal kicks again, but didn’t do so due to a sore groin–a result of practicing goal kicks, conveniently enough. Also picked up a nasty bruise at the hand (or feet) of Adam Cristman. Showed it to me after the game; it was ugly. Apparently Cristman (whose ancestors clearly weren’t great spellers) did the same thing to Juan Pablo Angel. Didn’t catch that at the game or in the video but maybe somebody else did?

Roy Miller: 4.5
It was his poor clearance that forced Condoul’s best save of the day. Had a few other poor touches. Outplayed by Luciano Emilio on a late play that could have been costly. A quiet game, and not a good one. Would have liked to see him get more involved with the attack on a short pitch like RFK, especially when a defensive player, Seth Stammler, is starting at left midfield.

Tim Ream: 5
Caught out of position on one of the very first plays of the game that almost led to Cristman putting a shot on goal. Around the 15 minute mark he failed to pick up Simms’ overlapping run, though in fairness Mike Petke put him in a tough position of having to cover two men (see below). Not tested much in the second half, where he did much better.

Mike Petke: 6
Much better than the last two games, but his decision-making still leaves a bit to be desired. Case in point: The aforementioned play that nearly resulted in Simms scoring a goal. For reasons obscure he saved a ball played by a DC player from going into touch. Was then hopelessly out of position when it fell to Rodney Wallace who passed it to Kurt Morsink, who crossed it in to Simms, who on top of everything went unnoticed by Ream. Simms somehow managed to head a perfect ball directly at Condoul from about eight feet in front of goal. Also let Jaime Moreno behind him on a play in the second half, which nearly turned in to a goal. However, His passing was greatly improved. And he also did well defensively at other times, with strong tackles and decisive headers.

Jeremy Hall: 5.5
A tale of two halves. In the first, beaten time and again by his man (Castillo, usually). At least he had the presence of mind to commit fouls. His passing was also poor. Much better in the second half; outlet pass to Angel nearly led to a second Red Bulls goal moments after the first. Later passed an excellent ball to Danleigh Borman on an overlapping run that nearly led to (yet) another Angel goal. Better defensively too. Kept Moreno in check. What will happen now that Albright is eligible to return?

Stammler: 7
Was a pest on the left side, a place he had not started since 2006. Heads-up play almost led to a goal around the 30 minute mark of the first half. Passed the ball well and should have been rewarded with an assist but Angel shot a ball right at Perkins (this was in the first half just a minute or two after the previous play)

Robinson: 5
Turned the ball over constantly, or did something (errant pass) that led to it being turned over. But was well positioned defensively, which has to count for something. Okay, so it gives him a perfectly average rating.

Lindpere: 7
Was obviously not comfortable in the heat and consequently did not run as much as he normally does (which is probably more than any other player on the team). But provided excellent service to the forwards, and not just on Angel’s goal. There was an early free kick that was almost the exact mirror image of that play, except Angel headed it wide, and a second one that led to a corner. Also had some decisive tackles in midfield.

Richards: 8
Brilliant work on the first goal, which turned out to be the game winner. Did well otherwise. Saw him track back defensively to pick up a DC player on the completely opposite end of the pitch. Much better decision-making as well. Made the smart, short passes, other than try to win a sprint to the endline. Should have had a second assist but Ibrahim blew the header from point blank range. His best game of the season, by far.

Juan Pablo Angel: 6.5
Hans Backe claimed he was the high target man, so why was he distributing the ball from midfield? Interestingly enough, he did quite well in this role. Exhibit A: The winning goal. The flick header that doubled this advantage was brilliant as well. But probably should have scored two or three more. The old Angel (circa 2007 vintage) would have. It may be time to accept that player is gone now. But so what if he keeps scoring and setting up goals?

Salou Ibrahim: 7.5
The goal was excellent and demonstrated footwork skills of a much smaller man. Was otherwise pretty quiet but so what if he got on the scoresheet? With strikers that’s often all that matters. And frankly, you don’t see plays like in this league very often. Probably few MLS players would have been able to put the ball in the net on that play (and those who were, are likely much shorter guys). But we have to fault him on the second half header, which he really should have buried.

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More coverage of the match:

Initial report and reaction
Hans Backe’s postgame press conference
Petke: ‘I can’t get over the fact that we’re 5-1’
Photo gallery

Discuss the match in the new forum! No registration necessary! Your Facebook/Twitter/Gmail/Yahoo or other account gets you in!

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Petke: 'I can't get over the fact that we're 5-1'

Posted on 02 May 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Mike Petke has been through a lot in 13 years in Major League Soccer. He has tasted success, though mainly for teams other than the New York/New Jersey MLS franchise. Perhaps key among these was the 2004 MLS Cup he won with DC United, the very team the Red Bulls defeated at RFK Stadium Saturday afternoon.

Mike Petke ©Scott Marsh/ASN

But now Petke is riding high with his hometown club, which is off to its best start in franchise history and finds itself atop the Eastern Conference standings seven points clear of second-placed Columbus. “To be honest with you I just can’t get over the fact that we’re five and one,” he said after the team’s win over DC. “Maybe if I sit down tonight over a beer or tomorrow and think about that it will give me more satisfaction, but to be five-and-one in our first six games, to really put ourselves in a good situation after the first quarter of the season is–unbelievable.”

Asked how he felt about the team’s first victory at RFK since 2005, Petke said “it feels awesome.” The Babylon, N.Y. native was not with the team when it last won in the nation’s capital, though he did score a goal in its April 22, 2000 win at RFK, a 3-2 decision. The then-MetroStars also won in the District of Columbia on Aug. 15, 2001 and on a certain individual’s 30th birthday, July 5, 2003 (preceding information courtesy of MetroFanatic.com).

Petke admitted the sun and the heat (temperatures were above 90 degrees at game time) played a big role for both teams, particularly in the first half. But this was a game New York knew it should win. “They’re a team that has their backs against the wall,” Petke said of DC. “We knew it coming in; they were going to be aggressive and try to get that win. We weathered the storm a bit, had our opportunities as well. In the second half we came out and smelled the blood in the water and just went after it. They pushed more guys forward at the end and we dealt with it.

This is a game that to be quite honest with you we should have won. Going into it we knew that and we got it done–unlike a couple of weeks ago against Chivas, same type of game we should have won. We knew it going in and we didn’t get it done.”

More coverage of the match:

More coverage of the match:

Initial report and reaction
Hans Backe’s postgame press conference

Player ratings
Photo gallery

Discuss the match in the new forum! No registration necessary! Your Facebook/Twitter/Gmail/Yahoo or other account gets you in!

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Photo gallery: RBNY 2, Union 1

Posted on 25 April 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN photographer Scott Marsh was at the New York Red Bulls 2-1 triumph over Philadelphia Union April 24 at Red Bull Arena. For more coverage of the Philly match check our player ratings.

A few of our favorite photos follow, complete with snarky commentary (by ASN). The full set can be viewed on our Facebook page. If you’re already a fan of our’s on Facebook go directly to the gallery here.

All photos ©Scott Marsh / ASN

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RBNY player ratings from 2-1 victory over Philadelphia Union

Posted on 25 April 2010 by ASN Staff

It wasn’t pretty, but the New York Red Bulls got the job done Saturday night at their namesake arena in Harrison, N.J., prevailing 2-1 again just as they did the week before against FC Dallas. This time, the victim was the expansion Philadelphia Union. ASN provides player ratings for all 11 RBNY starters. You are invited to assign a letter grade to the ratings to help us gauge their accuracy. Ratings are from 1-10 with 10 being highest. When you’re done here be sure to check out the photo gallery.

Condoul – 5
Wasn’t called on to make the really big saves he made in the FC Dallas match and the goal wasn’t really his fault either. Still, disappointed with his play away from his line in general and on crosses in particular. And what’s with the goal kicks?

Hall – 6
Better than the Dallas game but still not very secure as a right back. Let Le Toux behind him on the tying goal. Nice assist but was he really targeting Ibrahim with it? It’s irrelevant because it resulted in a goal and he deserves the assist. Besides quality crosses, even ones played into a general area, have been lacking. And he placed this one exactly right. But his passing was good and made some nice runs forward.

Petke – 5
Not a great game by Mike, who misplayed several balls that led to Philly chances. Also not sure what his deal is with booting the ball upfield every time he gets it. Don’t you want to move it around a bit and try to break down the opposing team’s defense?

Ream – 6.5
Maybe it’s because we expect so much from him after those first few games, but can’t help but be a little disappointed in this performance. Out of position several times on transition. Nearly committed a turnover on the last play of the game that would have been fatal, but not an isolated incident. Too much fancy dribbling in his own box. It’s okay to just boot those upfield sometimes. Petke does it all the time.

Miller: 4
The tying goal was made possible by him committing himself on an ill-timed overlapping run. It’s fine and good to attack with a 1-0 lead (especially at home) but that’s just foolish. Wasn’t his steady self at other times either. Spotted a few times of him “swinging and missing” at balls and sending crosses into the stands.

Richards: 5
A few decent plays, particularly defensively. But was mainly neutralized by Salinas. How? Easy: play back a few steps and open up his left side. He can’t use his left foot even to push the ball to the inside, it appears. If he could he would do a lot more damage. Instead he just puts his head down and sprints to the endline. At least now he appears to have the presence of mind to try a cross, which more often than not is played behind for a corner. There are worse things, but he also had several poorly-played balls when the team had space and numbers on counter attacks. Just not doing enough with all the balls he gets. Please play it down the left side more, because the guy there appears to have real talent. More on him in a bit.

Robinson: 3
Pretty much completely clueless out there. Lost his touch, his mobility is long gone, and he has no strength on the ball. Can’t even seem to put his body in a position for much of anything. What you’re left with is a holding midfielder who can’t hold the ball (or pass it for that matter). Other than that he’s fine. Can Seth Stammler not provide an improvement? Or Sinisa Ubiparipovic for that matter?

Joel Lindpere: 7
The midfield engine for the Red Bulls. Should have had an assist but Juan Pablo Angel uncharacteristically blew a chance from point blank range. Worked hard on both ends of the pitch. Looking more and more at home in Hans Backe’s formation. Also one of the only guys on the team who seems to know how to switch the ball.

Brian Nielsen: 6.5
A lynchpin on the left side. Why didn’t the team play the ball to him more? Especially rather than to Richards? Seems very strong technically and has terrific pace. His ideas need work, but that’s to be expected at this very early stage. Could be a special player for the Red Bulls once he figures out his teammates.

Ibrahim: 7
Much, much better than the Dallas game. Had more energy, made more runs, found spots in the Union defense. Then there was the goal he scored, exactly the way you’d hope a player of his size and strength to score one: by outmuscling his defender(s) and heading the ball into the net. Could have done some things better but we’ll take this level of improvement.

Angel: 5
Converted the penalty kick with gusto, but that’s about all the good things we can say about his performance. That blown chance toward the end of the first half was bad enough. Seemed lethargic, or hurt, or both. Was a step or two behind where he needed to be. Also didn’t pass the ball well when he was in a position to. Something’s up. He’s clearly playing hurt. Is it his back? Seems to be playing that way, but that’s an uneducated hunch based on cursory observations from somebody with no medical background.

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The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 19 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Welcome to the third 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’ lucky (yeah it was) win over FC Dallas on Saturday evening. To see an explanation of these terms (Good, Bad, Red, Dead) see last week’s issue or read the bottom of this page.

The Good:
Luck, fortune, happenstance; whatever you want to call it. The Red Bulls’ changing fate has buried, at least for now, the “same ol’ Metro” talk. Fact is, last year’s team would not have won any of the three games the Red Bulls did this season. It probably wouldn’t have even taken a point. Sometimes, you’d just rather be lucky than good. This team certainly deserves being on the other side of luck ledger after everything it endured the past 14 seasons.

Bouna Condoul. It’s been said before in this space: As a shot-stopper, Condoul is one of the very best in the business. It’s the play away from his line that gets him into trouble. There were a few hairy moments on Saturday night, but these were very limited (which doesn’t make them any less fatal, of course). Condoul also did several things right on crosses. And nobody is downplaying his saves in the second half; these flat-out kept Red Bull in the game. No surprise that he led our player ratings with an unprecedented (for this season at least) 9/10. What’s particularly impressive is that Condoul looked confident almost immediately after making his first big save. You need to have a short memory as a goalkeeper and there was a lot of fear last week that Bouna’s psyche could be damaged from his gaffe against Chivas. Now, the concern is that he’ll be overconfident!

Juan Pablo Angel. He’s still not his full self, but no question he improved vastly over the team’s first three games. You’ve got to give him credit for not only stepping up and taking the second penalty, but also converting it (speaking of short memories). JPA simply has ice in his veins, which is exactly what you want from an elite striker. And Angel is still in that category.

Dane Richards. I’ve been one of Richards’ harshest critics. Just last week I called him “deplorable…simply not starter material” and said he “has no business taking the field with the starting 11.” This week I’m willing to at least back off that a bit. Richards had a good game vs. Dallas. His passing was crisp, his crosses were on target and his defensive work was very commendable. Only a few times did he “pull a Dane” of putting his head down and trying to win a sprint to the byline. It was his cross to Kandji that led to the first penalty and he very nearly assisted on what should have been a goal by Kandji. Obviously, a lot more is going to be required if we can begin to talk about Richards having turned the corner, but at least it’s something to build on.

Joel Lindpere played a stellar match as well. The assist to Angel was a thing of beauty, but he was front and center at other points too, even defensively.

The Bad
The whole backline had a subpar game. Even Tim Ream was beaten on a few plays close to goal. Mike Petke’s turnover led to Dallas’ goal and he nearly caused several others as well. Roy Miller did many things right but was beaten several times by Atiba Harris. It appears this guy is weak in the air.

But the worst one of all was Jeremy Hall–by far. The second-year player just isn’t a defender. He had some good games last season but for whatever reason nothing seems to be clicking in 2010. Time to move him back to a midfield position. Except, with the impending acquisitions of Brian Nielsen and Luke Rodgers, the midfield is becoming increasingly crowded. Once Chris Albright comes back, Hall’s days as a starter may be numbered anyway. At that point he could become buried in the depth charts.

Salou Ibrahim was next to invisible. He had a golden opportunity to open the score off a Roy Miller cross but wasn’t even able to direct it goalward.

The Red
Speaking of days being numbered, Hans Backe said in the postgame press conference that Nielsen could play forward in addition to left wing, which could mean the end of John Wolyniec’s days with the club. Woly didn’t even dress for Saturday’s match.

Kandji may end up following him out the door. He wasn’t terrible against Dallas, but did very little in terms of creating chances for his team. It just looks like there isn’t a natural position for this guy. Or at least not in MLS.

The Dead
Jeremy Hall at right back. Please. End. It. Now.

Mac Kandji at left wing. It’s been tried more than one time. It hasn’t worked.


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.

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Photo gallery: RBNY 2, FC Dallas 1

Posted on 18 April 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN photographer Scott Marsh was at the New York Red Bulls 2-1 triumph over FC Dallas April 17 at Red Bull Arena. For more coverage of the FCD match check our player ratings.

A few of our favorite photos follow, complete with snarky commentary (by ASN). The full set can be viewed on our Facebook page. If you’re already a fan of our’s on Facebook go directly to the gallery here.

All photos ©Scott Marsh / ASN

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RBNY 2, FC Dallas 1: Player ratings, man of the match

Posted on 18 April 2010 by ASN Staff

You’ve read the match report and had a morning to reflect on what was a highly improbable New York Red Bulls victory. Now check out the player ratings. All 11 starters are rated, including those who barely registered (you know who you are Salou Ibrahim). The man of the match was easy: Bouna Condoul. We’ll start with him:

Bouna Condoul: 9
If it weren’t for Atiba Harris’ second-half header off the crossbar (Condoul was caught off his line on that play was very nearly punished) there would be little to keep him from a perfect score. Several saves from point-blank range were world class but his play away from his line was greatly improved as well. So were his goal kicks, for that matter. A stellar performance. If he can continue to develop his position (i.e. non shot stopping) play there’s really nothing keeping this guy from becoming one of the great goalkeepers.

Jeremy Hall: 3
A sieve at right back. Hopeless at times against Harris and Heath Pearce and later Eric Avila. His overlapping runs went nowhere (and not because Richards didn’t pass to him. They simply weren’t timed very well). Did not always recover in times from these runs either. A few times this was almost fatal. Bottom line: This guy is a major liability at right back. It took a world class performance from his keeper, and a lot of luck, to keep him from costing the team the game. Next time they won’t be so lucky. When is Chris Albright eligible?

Mike Petke: 5
Way too many mistakes, both in committing turnovers, poor first touches (one of these in fact led to the McCarty goal) and blown defensive assignments. In fairness he had to cover for Hall several times, which could not have been easy. And did well deflecting or clearing a few balls into the box. But overall a disappointing performance. Hopefully it was a one-off.

Tim Ream: 6
Let Cunningham get behind him on a play in the second half that would have been a goal had it not been for Condoul. Also some of those long balls end up going nowhere (though a few are pretty impressive). But very strong at other times. Even covered Petke on some of his mistakes. Isn’t that supposed to be the other way around?

Roy Miller: 6
Generally very strong on both sides of the ball. A steadying influence on defense and skilled at settling the team when it had the ball in its own third. Offensively had many good ideas and well-timed overlapping runs. Should have had an assist in the first half but Ibrahim whiffed on his cross. But it was he who was beaten on Harris’ header off the crossbar and Harris also beat him to a headball later. There’s not really an excuse for that.

Dane Richards: 7
His best game of the regular season by far. Sure there were a few “Dane Richards” moments, but these were by and large limited to the first half. A strong performance defensively; bailed out Hall (who clearly needed the help) a number of times. Had some very good passes into space and even a few terrific crosses, such as the one that led the the Red Bulls first penalty. What’s this? Dane Richards crossing the ball? To effect? Believe it. Of course in the past three years every time Richards looked like he was on the verge of breaking out he relapsed into the Dane Richards of old in the next performance. But something to build on, clearly.

Seth Stammler: 5
Had some nice tackles but when the opposing team attacks and creates as many chances as FC Dallas did in the first 10 minutes you’ve got to look at your defensive midfielder. And where was Stammler, when he should have been providing leadership and a calming influence to the back four? Ball watching a few times, caught out of position at others.

Joel Lindpere: 8
His best game since Chicago. His energy and work rate were terrific. Great play on the equalizer. Wouldn’t be surprised if he led the team in touches. Also helped out a lot defensively with some key tackles.

Macoumba Kandji: 5.5
Did a few things well. His passing was generally strong (it was he who launched Lindpere on the tying goal) with a few glaring exceptions, telegraphing passes etc. On the whole, didn’t do enough and turned the ball over too much. Also had a few chances he should have done better with. Brian Nielsen, whoever he is, is sorely needed.

Salou Ibrahim: 3
If his name wasn’t on the game sheet you wouldn’t know he was in the game at all. Almost completely invisible. Had one solid chance in the first half that was not due to his work (but Roy Miller’s). Hans Backe said he was tired. Whatever it was, he needs to change it, pronto, or there’s no use in starting him. Or playing him at all for that matter.

Juan Pablo Angel: 6.5
Much, much better from the team’s star and I’m not even talking about the goals. His first touch was much better, he seemed to have more energy and better mobility than in the previous three games. The first goal looked easy but it required vast amounts of skill and guile to find the seam in the defense, notice that the goalkeeper was cheating toward one side, and then send the ball into the opposite corner on a one-timer. That’s why this guy gets paid the big bucks and that’s why the team needs him in the lineup even when he’s not at full strength. Also showed nerves of steel on the second penalty. So why doesn’t he get a better rating? Not because of the first penalty; sure, it could have been taken better but Sala really pulled a rabbit out of his hat with the save. The reason is he just isn’t JPA yet; not only is he tentative (though less so) but also wanders around weird parts of the pitch (such as defensive midfield) at strange times. Also he’s still very weak on the ball and this resulted in numerous turnovers, particularly in the first half.

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Condoul costs Bulls first loss of the season

Posted on 10 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Just like that, the New York Red Bulls’ fast start is history.

Bouna Condoul © Scott Marsh/ASN

It ended in a fashion fans of the team are all too familiar with: on defensive miscues and squandered opportunities. New York goalkeeper Bouna Condoul was the goat this time, scoring an embarrassing own-goal early in the second half. His team never recovered and eventually lost 2-0 at Chivas USA.

Condoul’s gaffe was without doubt the most egregious mishap of the day. But his poor play had plenty of company. The team never really seemed to find its rhythm, though it came close late in both halves. Part of this was due to the play of the hosts, who controlled the possession with patient build-up.
When the visitors did have the ball their only option seemed to be Dane Richards, the fleet but vapid right midfielder. Predictably, these went nowhere. (More on Richards and individual performances in the player ratings below).

Still, the Red Bulls had their opportunities in the first half. Macoumba Kandji had two free headers he should have buried. The first came off of a corner, the second from a terrific cross by Joel Lindpere. The second was probably the visiting team’s best sequence of the entire match. But for the most part, the Red Bulls had few ideas going forward and anyway seemed content to let Chivas control the tempo. This is a perfectly fine tactic on the road against a team in danger of an 0-3 start, and for a little while it even seemed to work. But New York’s defense was porous and Chivas had their chances. Chukwudi Chijindu alone could (and probably should) have scored twice in the first half for the hosts (then again, Kandji should have done the same for the visitors).

The Red Bulls’ luck ran out in the 47th minute. Condoul clearly deserves the blame for the goal, but he is by no means the only guilty party on the play. Start with Jeremy Hall, who gave Chijindu way too much space on the left wing. Hall was expecting the UConn product to go toward the endline but even then was too far away to have any effect. Richards’ run to help Hall was far too late and in his haste Richards didn’t track the trailing player, Jesus Padilla. Seth Stammler, who had a solid game to that point, correctly spotted the danger brewing on the left wing (in the video replay you can see him pointing toward that part of the field) but then failed to cut off Chijindu’s passing lane and was late recovering as a result to challenge Padilla. So Chijindu, an interesting young player but by no means a star in the league, managed to monopolize three Red Bulls players on one play. Mike Petke probably should have done better deflecting the ball upfield or out of bounds, though that is admittedly a bit nitpick-y. And then Condoul did the rest.

Hans Backe, in marked contrast to the team’s first game of the season (and to Richie Williams in the second), went to his bench early. Just seven minutes after the goal he brought on Salou Ibrahim for Seth Stammler. Kandji moved to left midfield with Sinisa Ubiparipovic taking Stammler’s vacant spot at holding mid. The move clearly paid dividends, as Ibrahim had several chances that could (and in one case should) have resulted in goals. But Backe’s second and third substitutions, for Tony Tchani and Conor Chinn, respectively, had little effect. The Red Bulls threw everything forward but lacked the rhythm to develop any real chances the rest of the way. Chivas scored an “insurance goal” in stoppage time, again off of mistakes by several Red Bulls players. Speaking of which, now to the player ratings:

Player ratings

New York Red Bulls players ranked 1-10 with 10 being highest:

Condoul: 2
I’ve been saying for some time that this guy is a liability on corners and crosses. However, I’ve been quick to defend his play as a shot-stopper. So where does this gaffe fit in? Nowhere, really. It was one of those mistakes that can happen in a hair-raising moment of the match. Bouna probably panicked after seeing the ball bounce off the post and was in the unusual situation of having to go toward his line, rather than away from it, to make the save. Remember that goalies are trained to deflect the ball away from goal, so when your back is turned your instincts can get a bit fuzzy. Which is not to make any excuse for the play. Unfortunately it wasn’t even his only mishap of the game. In the first half he hesitated coming off his line and was almost caught in no-man’s land by Jonathan Bornstein. He was poorly positioned on Chivas’ second goal as well.

Hall: 4
Speaking of liabilities, this is the second straight game that Hall was owned on the right side of the pitch. He was almost entirely ineffective as a defensive player and this incompetence had a large result in both goals. He did have a few nice forays into the opposing half though and narrowly missed on a shot in the second half. Perhaps it’s time to end this experiment at right back (which remember was a Juan Carlos Osorio project). Play Hall at right midfield, where his skills will be put to better use.

Petke: 5
Can’t blame him for the first goal, but his misjudgment of a ball (off a goal kick) led in part to the second. His man-marking was a bit lackadaisical as well. Granted his job is not made any easier by having to cover for Hall all the time.

Ream: 6.5
My only critique of Ream at this point is that he needs to make his presence felt more. I know this isn’t his style but he can quickly assume a leadership position on this defense by getting more vocal for example. But that’s light criticism. Did spot some moments where he probably should have marked his man tighter, but this guy is hard to beat one-on-one.

Miller: 7

Shut his side of the field down, again. Was also effective making runs into the opposing half. Would like to see more of this, particularly when the team is down a goal. He seems to link up well with Kandji as well, when Mac plays left mid. Perhaps something for Backe to consider.

Richards: 3
His first few possessions were promising, but he quickly reverted to the Dane Richards of old. He got lucky when a few of his balls were knocked behind for corners in the first half but time and again he was the final stop for Red Bull attacks. This is just frustrating to watch. Worse, Richards did little defensively (see reporting of first goal, above). Another guy I’ve been picking on for awhile, but it’s not without reason. Needs to sit on the bench or better yet, be waived. He’s just not cutting it.

Seth Stammler: 5
Started well but also had his part in the first goal. He did make a few terrific tackles early in the game but should have read that play better.

Joel Lindpere: 6.5
First half was very strong. His cross to Kandji was a thing of beauty. Second half, not so much. Turned the ball over too many times and wasn’t able to launch many attacks, which is his primary duty to this team at this point–especially when they find themselves down a goal. A lot is expected of the Estonian Express after his first two games at Red Bull Arena. So when he even disappoints a little, you feel let down a lot. This isn’t fair, but neither is life.

Sinisa Ubiparipovic: 5
Did far too little at left mid. A few nice plays in the first half and that was about it. Also turned the ball over too many times. A disappointing performance.

Macoumba Kandji: 6
His play in the second half earns him this respectable grade. In the first, he blew two chances. It’s amazing that a guy this tall doesn’t head the ball better. Something to work on in training, no doubt. But Kandji just seems far more comfortable as a withdrawn forward or even attacking midfielder, as his play in the second half justifies. Did well to link up with Salou, who blew his chances.

Juan Pablo Angel: 4
Invisible. Again. It’s very sad to see this, and even tougher to say it, but here goes: Angel needs to be benched for the good of the team. He’s just not bringing it this season. Maybe he will be more effective as a late game substitute? Yes, the team deserves a lot of the blame for not getting him better service, but where are his runs? Most of the time he’s loitering around midfield.

Salou Ibrahim: 4
His entrance into the game immediately made a difference but he should have done much, much better with the chances he had. But this guy’s game appears well suited for MLS. When he begins to start on a regular basis he’ll turn it on, just watch.

Tony Tchani: 4
Did not look at all comfortable and didn’t seem to play the ball properly even once. It’s tough to get your MLS debut in a game and situation of this type, but more is expected of the youngster. He’ll get it together if he sees more time (perhaps for Dane Richards? Or hell, try him out at right back).

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Match Facts

New York Red Bulls 0, CD Chivas USA 2
April 10, 2010 – The Home Depot Center; Carson, CA
Attendance: 12,597

Scoring Summary:
CHV: Bouna Coundoul (own goal) 47’
CHV: Jesus Padilla 1 (Zach Thornton 1) 91’+

Disciplinary Summary:
NY: Mike Petke (caution) 19’
CHV: Jesus Padilla (caution) 90’

Lineups:

New York Red Bulls (2-1-0) – Bouna Coundoul (GK), Roy Miller (Conor Chinn 83’), Tim Ream, Mike Petke, Jeremy Hall, Sinisa Ubiparipovic (Tony Tchani 77’), Joel Lindpere, Seth Stammler (Salou Ibrahim 54’), Dane Richards, Macoumba Kandji, Juan Pablo Angel

Substitutes Not Used: Greg Sutton, Andrew Boyens, Danleigh Borman, Carlos Mendes

CD Chivas USA (1-2-0) – Zach Thornton, Ante Jazic (Jesus Padilla 39’), Dario Delgado, Michael Umana, Mariano Trujillo, Jonathan Bornstein, Marcelo Saragosa, Blair Gavin, Sacha Kljestan, Chukwudi Chijindu, Maicon Santos (Maykel Galindo 58’, Michael Lahoud 77’)

Substitutes Not Used: Dan Kennedy, Yamith Cuesta, Justin Braun, Osael Romero

Officials:

Referee: Paul Ward
Referee’s Assistants: Joe Fletcher, Philippe Briere
4th Referee: Ramon Hernandez

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Tim Ream: Everybody's All American

Posted on 07 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Tim Ream in the Chicago game ©Scott Marsh/ASN

Former Saint Louis University All American Tim Ream is fast becoming a crowd favorite and media darling. Just the third player taken by the New York Red Bulls in the 2010 Major League Soccer SuperDraft, Ream has established himself as a starter on Hans Backe’s squad and attracted praise at virtually every turn. ASN spoke to Ream after the Red Bull Arena grand opening and found him humble and mature–an impression shared by BigAppleSoccer in their profile of the 22-year old published today.

Ream’s teammates are more outspoken, however.

“Tim is an unbelievable talent,” says Mike Petke, Ream’s partner in the Red Bulls’ central defense. “The course he’s on right now, what I tell him every day, if he continues to develop the way he is, if he continues to listen, if he continues to want to learn–the sky’s the limit for him.”

Others are willing to offer more specific predictions of Ream’s trajectory.
“I can see him in the national team within two years maximum,” says goalkeeper Bouna Condoul. “That type of player–physical and technically he has everything–if he’s capable of continuing like this, soon you’ll see him in the national team.”

The team’s head coach shares Condoul’s prediction. “I’ve said the whole preseason, this must be a player for the U.S. national team in a couple of years,” says Hans Backe.

“His vision of the game tells you this guy’s going to be something,” adds Condoul. “He can read the game, he can tackle, he can run.”

Pretty effusive praise for a player few knew much–or anything–about coming into preseason. “I had never heard of him,” Petke admits. “I remind him of that every day.”

But Petke also voiced a word of caution. “The moment he thinks he’s arrived, the moment his head gets filled with stuff is when he’s going to follow the route a lot of [highly touted] rookies had.”

No worries on that end so far.

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