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Photo gallery: RBNY take Atlantic Cup

Posted on 11 July 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN photographer Scott Marsh was at the New York Red Bulls scoreless draw with DC United on July 10 at Red Bull Arena.

A few of our favorite shots 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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Photo gallery: RBNY 1, Chivas USA 0

Posted on 07 June 2010 by ASN Staff

ASN photographer Scott Marsh was at the New York Red Bulls 1-0 win over Houston Dynamo on June 2 at Red Bull Arena.

A few of our favorite shots 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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Player Ratings: RBNY 1, Chivas USA 0

Posted on 06 June 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

The New York Red Bulls defeated Chivas USA 1-0 in the last MLS match before the World Cup break for both teams. It was a lethargic affair from two very tired teams, punctuated only by Seth Stammler’s highlight goal, occasional roughhousing and questionable refereeing decisions (or non-decisions). Here ASN’s player rankings for the victorious Red Bulls:

Bouna Condoul: 5
Caught badly out of position on an early chance by Chivas but was bailed out by the cross bar. Speaking of which, he still does not appear to have a clue about playing the position of goalkeeper. It didn’t cost the team this time, because Chivas were anemic, but it’s a major stretch to say he’s making any improvements in this glaring weakness in his game.

Chris Albright: 7
Held his ground very well at right back, shutting down whatever activity there was on that side of the field. Was vocal directing the younger players in front of him and helping the team keep its shape–a vital factor against a possession team like Chivas. Also did a decent job of crossing the ball into the box, though a few of his long balls were taken in haste when he might have had better options. Had a few promising overlapping runs. Generally ran a lot. It’s great to see him this active and spry.

Carlos Mendes: 9
If it weren’t for a certain game-winning goal, he would be man of the match, hands down. As is his rating is one of if not the highest any Red Bulls player has received this season. Not only played his position perfectly, but also had the wherewithal to cover for others’ mistakes (most notably Tim Ream’s). His tackles ended several Chivas attacks. Excellent performance. His career may have legs after all. Have to consider him the starter at this position at this point.

Tim Ream: 5
Was badly beaten on two occasions in the first half, both likely would have led to shots on goal (if not goals themselves) had Mendes not astutely covered him. Was not very good at distributing the ball either. But recovered nicely at the end of the first half (terrific tackle on Justin Braun in what could have been a Chivas break in minute 39) and in the second half to earn an even grade.

Danleigh Borman: 6
Worked hard and with effect. Several nice tackles disrupted Chivas’ game, or what passed for one. Did an excellent job dispossessing Justin Braun on a first-half chance by Chivas. On the other side of the ball, too many of his passes were not well-placed and led to turnovers. Otherwise he could have had a higher grade.

Sinisa Ubiparipovic (off 12′): N/A
What he showed before his first half injury was very promising; some terrific dribbles into the Chivas defensive third and nice passes into space. Among Bulls players who were on the team before this year, he may be the most pleasant surprise.

Tony Tchani: 7
Appeared more comfortable at left wing, where he created all kind of havoc before moving over to take Ubiparipovic’ spot on the right. Either that or he just ran himself ragged in the opening minutes. But with a 1-0 lead he didn’t need to run as hard or seek to create as many chances as he did in a tied game. Did very well with the balls that were sent his way, playing clever passes into space and hardly (never?) turning the ball over.

Seth Stammler: 8
His superb goal obviously carries a lot of weight in this rating, but Stammler played an all-around strong game. Was active on both sides of the pitch. Distributed the ball well. His few turnovers were caused by pressure more than lackadaisical play.

Roy Miller (on 12′): 6
More active than he has been, with a few nicely-timed tackles and good runs. But still need to see a lot more of him. Lent a measure of stability to the team. Perhaps better as a left back?

Joel Lindpere: 6
The Estonian Express has clearly been running on fumes the past couple of weeks. Part of that is no doubt due to the weather, which he has said to dislike. That said, there were a few nice runs in the first half. On one of these Angel didn’t have the legs to run onto a perfectly-placed pass into space. How Angel managed to find blame in Lindpere for this is beyond me, but that’s exactly what happened, if facial expressions are to be believed. Did well on free kicks in the second. Too bad he ran out of steam.

John Wolyniec: 4
The Staten Island Ronaldinho was largely invisible other than to trip up or demonstrate just how out of tune he was with his teammates. Okay there was also a golden opportunity he had in the first half that was deflected by an astute Martin Trujillo.

Juan Pablo Angel: 3
More of what we’ve come to expect: bickering at teammates, drifting back into midfield, not making runs in the attacking end, a weak first touch, zero mobility, turning the ball over virtually every time he touched it. Other than that he was great. As long as he continues to bail out the team with injury time freekicks we can kind of justify a spot for him in the starting 11. And oh yeah, he was offside on that late goal that was called off.

Salou Ibrahim (on 66′): 3
Did more to hinder the team’s attack than support it. Sure it isn’t easy coming into a game as a substitute but this was pretty weak.

Mike Petke (on 89′): N/A
In the postgame press conference (links to audio recording), Hans Backe said he held Petke out because of fatigue, not performance. This would be more believable if he weren’t the only starter to be given a rest of this type.

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Player ratings: Crew 3, RBNY 1

Posted on 21 May 2010 by ASN Staff

The New York Red Bulls put up a solid team effort that was hard done by the final 3-1 result loss to the Columbus Crew on May 20. What about individual efforts and, more importantly, individual performances? We get to that here in our player ratings:

Bouna Condoul: 6
Definitely a performance to build on. Liked his aggressiveness on early crosses. Why he backed off of this is a mystery and may have in fact had an impact on the second goal by Columbus. Also had a terrific save (off Adam Moffat?) in the second half and did well stifling other Crew shots. Believe this is the first loss of the season where we can honestly say he didn’t play a direct role. Little victories. But the next (MLS) match will be crucial because he’s had encouraging performances earlier only to relapse to his old ways the next time out.

Chris Albright: 6.5
Solid in the first half and that on both ends of the pitch. Was a stabilizing force on defense and in the attack kept the ball moving and had a few nice passes into space. Unfortunately came undone a bit in the second half where he was beaten by his man on several occasions and turned the ball over. Maybe he ran out of steam? Hopefully it wasn’t another (or the same) injury.

Mike Petke: 2
Sad that his 300th MLS game was also one of his worst in recent memory. Very little went right for him. Could have faulted him on the first goal, at least in part. The second was scored by his man so he bears most, if not all of the responsibility. The third was even more egregious and came at a time when the team was gathering momentum for a final push to equalize. To his credit he took responsibility for his poor play.

Tim Ream: 3
Had one or two strong moments in the first 30 minutes of the game, but that was it. Caught in no-man’s land on the first goal, between Frankie Hejduk and Eddie Gaven, though Petke probably should have done a better job covering for him. Terrible mistake on the third goal, though again his partner in central defense bears a large part of the burden. But his lack of pace is beginning to show as a liability. Perhaps teams are learning to take advantage of him?

Danleigh Borman: 5
Had a few strong moments, particularly in the first half, but was too inconsistent. Love his hustle but needs to take care of the ball better. Maybe better suited for midfield?

Sinisa Ubiparipovic: 7
Stellar first half; probably his best 45 minutes as a pro (or at least in recent memory). Effectively ran the offense in Joel Lindpere’s absence. Distributed the ball well, hustled, created space for his teammates. Exactly the type of stuff this team has been lacking from its midfield players, Lindpere excepted. Seemed to drop off a bit in the second half but still Hans Backe’s decision to substitute him was a curious one. Even though central midfield appears to be his natural position he may be more effective at right wing. Or at least more effective than Dane Richards.

Seth Stammler: 5
A completely average performance. Didn’t make any decisive mistakes but didn’t contribute all that much either, especially for the attack. Don’t think he’s starter material, frankly.

Roy Miller: 5
Had a poor first half but was playing out of position. Seriously, what’s up with these lineups by Backe? Miller is not a center midfielder. Left wing is enough of a stretch. And he was doing fine as left back. Why mess with a good thing? Don’t understand that. Came alive a bit in the second but created far too little. Then again, that’s not a role he’s suited for in the first place.

Jeremy Hall: 3
Did far too little. Needed to help out covering Hejduk as a left mid but failed to do so and it came back to haunt the team on the first goal. Contributed even less offensively. That changed a little in the second half when he was moved to the right side, but not enough. He’s going to have to do a lot more to keep his spot as a starter.

Juan Pablo Angel: 3.5
The freekick was nice (didn’t go in though, did it?) and it was good to see him find a seam in the defense for that early shot that went narrowly wide. But that’s it for nice things we can say about him. His first touch has abandoned him altogether. Literally every time in the second half that he had the ball he turned it over. Still can’t move. His retreats to midfield were a little better planned this time, but he did it far too often and dropped far too deep. Saw him even with the backline on a few occasions. Not sure what he’s trying to prove at this point.

Dane Richards: 6
As I suspected (on the latest Seeing Red! podcast) there was more use for him at forward than in the midfield. Did well to get open and show for the ball. But should have finished better. Or finished, period. Once again his weak technical abilities (no left foot) and inability to see the field (or, if you prefer, his “low soccer IQ”) haunted him. Either way should have done a lot more with his chances.

Tony Tchani: 8
Caused problems for the Crew defense as soon as he entered the match in the 65th minute. Looked great on the ball and love his strength and speed. One question: Why didn’t he start? The team clearly could have used his contributions. Congrats on the first goal, which displayed aerial ability to go with the footwork skills we already knew he had.

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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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The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 25 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Welcome to the fourth 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 on Saturday afternoon. To see an explanation of these terms (Good, Bad, Red, Dead) skip to the bottom of this page.

The Good:
A win is a win is a win is a win. Is a win.

Tim Ream. I picked on him for a play in the fourth minute of the match that, it turns out, was not his fault. On the play in question, Alejandro Moreno found Sebastien Letoux on a counter that really should have resulted in a goal but the Frenchman did not get any power or accuracy behind his one-timer. The play was caused by Dane Richards losing the ball after a corner. Roy Miller, not Ream, was responsible for picking up Le Toux. Mike Petke was caught way up the pitch and was late to recover. Jeremy Hall was a traffic cone. Moreno made a great play. All of the aforementioned are to blame before Ream was. The above realization came after watching the match a second time. Ream’s match rating has been adjusted.

Brian Nielsen should be a force for the Red Bulls ©Scott Marsh/ASN

Brian Nielsen could be an awesome player for the Bulls. He has pace and technical ability and is a natural left-footer–a rare commodity in world soccer. Much more so when you’re talking about a 23-year old. How he ended up here is still a bit of a mystery but we’ll certainly enjoy watching him for as long as he stays. It may just be a summer holiday though.

Salou Ibrahim broke out in a major way against Philadelphia. The goal speaks for itself but he was very active, particularly in the first half. His fitness does not appear to be quite up to par, but that can be easily changed. When it does, and he becomes more familiar with his teammates and their style of play, he could be a very dangerous player in this league. Especially with Angel drawing defenders away from him.

Danleigh Borman was terrific after entering the game for Roy Miller.

The Red Bulls supporter groups. There was a point after the equalizer that the game threatened to tilt in Philadelphia’s favor. Peter Nowak’s men were brimming with confidence and taking control of possession. It was at this point that the supporters became the most vocal. They simply didn’t let their team fall apart the way others in the past might would have. Let’s keep in mind that the Red Bulls are perfect in four home games, three of which were official MLS matches. The home field advantage is very real, despite a lackluster turnout from the local population at large. Speaking of which…

The Bad:
The attendance, or lack thereof. The turnout was simply disappointing. No other way to put it. Every variable was in place for this match to see a huge crowd: The weather was perfect, the team’s local rival were in town, there were few other options to watch a professional sporting event. The “this is Metro/Red Bull” excuse doesn’t hold much water either. It’s hard to imagine why people would care about what happened the preceding 14 years when there is a brand new soccer temple that has received nothing but rave reviews. You’d think local soccer fans, of which there are many (and not just Eurosnobs) would have used this opportunity out of sheer curiosity, if nothing else. Or did that happen already in the Santos match?

Roy Miller played poorly and almost single-handedly caused the equalizer by Philly.

Carl Robinson was atrocious. Hard to see what purpose he serves on this team and hard to believe Seth Stammler or Sinisa Ubiparipovic don’t present better options for Hans Backe.

Bouna Condoul showing up the coaches with his hand gestures and other body language (as well as vocally) when they decided to have Tim Ream take goal kicks. Fact: Condoul was barely reaching the center circle with some of these. But it’s irrelevant what their rationale is/was. It’s their decision, you may not like it, but you deal with it and do so in a way that doesn’t show them up. That’s just weak, man.

The Red:
Dane Richards. This guy just continues to drive you crazy. He’ll play a great ball square or into space for a teammate that results in a chance. Then he’ll lose the ball at an inopportune time and the opposing team will break down the field. Then he’ll actually try to cross a ball and be moderately successful, only to “pull a Dane” (put his head down and try to dribble through his man) the very next play.Just for good measure he’ll have a great defensive play, tracking back to make the tackle and launch the Red Bulls’ attack. The inconsistency is enough to drive you mad. I’m halfway there myself (quite a bit further than that, if some people are to be believed).

Why didn’t this team launch more attacks down the left flank to take advantage of Brian Nielsen? Not a rhetorical question. Keep in mind Nielsen was only part of one practice. After practicing with the team all week the Red Bulls attack should have an entirely different look. It had better…

Condoul is up to his old tricks, and I’m not talking about the goal kicks, which have already been discussed. His play on crosses is once again a danger to his team. At one point in the second half, it nearly caused a second equalizer by Philly. Together with his conduct on in-game coaching decisions (see “the bad”) could this result in a benching? Sutton will surely start the U.S. Open play-in game. Will he be given a chance to win the job with a good performance? Something to keep an eye on.

The Dead
Jeremy Hall is a lost puppy at right back. It’s becoming ridiculous. Check that: It’s been ridiculous. And this is not the first time we’ve made this point. It’s been over a year now and he still can’t play the position. Please put somebody else–anybody else, seriously–there and let Hall compete with Richards for the right midfield spot. Because besides everything else, Hall is a promising midfield talent. It isn’t fair to him to continue this.

Robinson shouldn’t start again either. Both Stammler and Ubiparipovic are better options for that position.


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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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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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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The Good, the Bad, the Red, the Dead

Posted on 12 April 2010 by Nathaniel E. Baker

Welcome to the second 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’ first loss of the season, at Chivas USA on Saturday afternoon. 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
Tim Ream and Roy Miller. And we’re done. The left half of the Red Bulls’ back line did what they’ve been doing since day one, which is eliminate any chance of an attack. Both goals came on lackadaisical play by the right side defenders (and of course the goalie. More on him in a bit).

What is going on with JPA? ©Scott Marsh/ASN

Even though they didn’t work out in the team’s favor, I’m going to include Hans Backe’s substitution moves in this space. After the long nightmare that was the Juan Carlos Osorio administration, it’s refreshing to see a coach attack when the team is down a goal (even though this is exactly what you’re supposed to do when you’re down a goal, but in light of Osorio these fundamental details are very much appreciated). And who knows? Had Salou Ibrahim been a bit more focused he might have just leveled the match. He certainly had his chances. The second Chivas goal was the unfortunate result of throwing everybody forward but it’s something all of us will happily live with. Goal difference just doesn’t count as much in MLS as it does elsewhere (and that’s a good thing) so it makes sense to roll the dice in these types of situations. Props to Backe for doing so.

While we’re giving him credit, let’s not forget that this was a guy less than a week removed from pretty major surgery. Yet there he was on the team’s bench, after yet another cross country fight. The guy’s a trooper and deserves our respect.

The Bad
Let’s start with the obvious: Bouna Condoul. His mishap shortly after halftime will go down in the annals of great goalkeeping blunders. Ultimately, this cost the Red Bulls the game. However there are plenty of reasons why Chivas never should have got that close to begin with.

Start with Jeremy Hall, who gave Chukwudi Chijindu way, way too much space.

Continue with Dane Richards, who was late tracking back to lend help and then went about it completely wrong.

End with Seth Stammler, who misread the play and didn’t cut off the passing lanes.

Those failures are forgotten as a result of Condoul’s butterfingers, which does the other culprits, chiefly Richards and Hall, a disservice. More on those two later.

The Red
Speaking of bad performances, perhaps a bit of “I told you so” is due? To wit:

Bouna Condoul’s play away from his line is going to give some Red Bulls fan a heart attack before too long.

Juan Pablo Angel. Second game in a row he has been almost completely absent (other than to complain about bad or insufficient service). Are we witnessing the twilight of his career?

Jeremy Hall at right back is begging to get exploited by a smart coach or skilled left wing.

Okay, so maybe things didn’t happen exactly as predicted. It wasn’t a cross that caused Condoul’s gaffe but a deflected shot off the post. And Chijindu, while not a left wing, certainly schooled Hall on the play that led to the first goal.

As for Angel, I’m still very much code red on him after Saturday’s performance. He’s obviously not willing to sit one out, which is well and good, but he’d better start producing soon. Not necessarily goals, but something that gives us an inkling that he still has it. Because right now, it certainly appears otherwise.

Tony Tchani seemed completely lost Saturday. It’s tough to come on as a sub sometimes, but the second overall pick in the draft had absolutely nothing working. It may be a little while until we see him again in a competitive match. Maybe the US Open Cup prelim game against Philadelphia?

The potential acquisition of Luke Rodgers. Who knows if this will even happen, but this guy just doesn’t excite me. Not sure if he’ll add anything. Then again, Joel Lindpere didn’t excite anybody either. Nor for that matter did the selection of Tim Ream.

The Dead
Dane Richards. Another deplorable performance. He’s simply not starter material and has no business taking the field with the starting 11.

The Jeremy Hall right back experiment needs to die. It hasn’t worked out and his skills are needed at the right midfield spot. Or left midfield.

A quick 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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