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.

4 Comments For This Post

  1. DM Says:

    THE BAD:

    Attendance was surprisingly low.

    During last week's Dallas match I blamed the cold weather.

    This week I blamed the early start.

    I fear that neither of these things is true.

    What I am hearing from friends, acquatinances, co-workers, other season ticket holders, and the little voice in my head is that getting to the arena is too complicated.

    It's not an urban arena (Madison Square Garden is an urban arena), it is a stadium built in an industrial wasteland. I applaud RBNY for building in the blight, but it's not urban. Therefore, public transportation is not a viable option for most fans.

    Folks from Bergen County and other parts of Jersey do not have real public transit options into Newark. People East of Manhattan (Brooklyn, Queens, Long Island) must take so many different forms of buses and trains (on a weekend) that public transit is inconvenient at best and nearly impossible much of the time. This means driving and parking for a lot of potential attendees.

    Forgive me for flogging a dead horse: but until the team does something about this, attendance will go down, down, down.

    The stadium is fronted by acres and acres and acres and acres and acres of vacant land that is planned for a failed mall. The planning for that acreage must be thought through and the team has to put parking there.

    Until RBNY changes their plan and provides access to stadium parking for their fans, I think you will see fewer than the alleged 15,000 in attendance for the Philthy match.

    And if this really is an urban setting, then the people who take public transit to the stadium should be the staff, not the clients. I commute to midtown Manhattan five days a week. You want to pretend RBA is in an urban setting, then have the workers: from JPA to the grounds crew take the train and open their parking to the clients.

    That ain't happening though. You know why? It's not an urban stadium and public transportation won't work for 25,000 people.

    Fix it, or attendance will soon be moving from THE BAD to THE DEAD!

  2. pcook11 Says:

    Well, i am season ticket holder from the Hudson valley, if i am coming from home, this is how i get there: Take I-87, then Rt. 17 to ramsey-route 17 station and take the train to Secaucus and change for a train bound for Newark-penn, round trip cost me 18.50 for something like that and is now going up to over 20 dollars because of the fare raises. If the game is a 7 pm, i leave at 2 pm and get back at usually around 12, it is an all day event. Now, i don't think lack of parking spaces is a acceptable argument, i think there needs to be communication between transit and the team. Another way would be to drive closer to the stadium, say secaucus or other train stations and take it one or two stops. easy and traffic free.

  3. Wes C. Says:

    A bit harsh on Robinson, Nat. I would say it’s easier to dump on him with Stammler playing fairly strong and putting in the leg work to prove he’s a starter. Truth be told, who knows the exact extent of the knee injury that’s been keeping him off the pitch the last few weeks. He’s a solid defensive fixture, knows how to get in there and break up the offensive play, let’s just give him time. In current form, perhaps he’s a better option to come off the bench? Taking your point into consideration, I would feel much better having Stammler in ahead of Ubi. Nielsen did well, also considering he had been in the country for a solid day. Saw him taking on that creative , CAPABLE play making role we’ve been desperate to have in the mid field. Let’s give him a full week of training with the team, and I bet we’ll see great things.

    Jeremy is essentially doing double duty, and I don’t think it’s a fair point to say the experiment has been an all out failure. A reoccurring comment on the right flank situation we have .. bench Richards, we’ll see a different Hall.

  4. Wes C. Says:

    A bit harsh on Robinson, Nat. I would say it’s easier to dump on him with Stammler playing fairly strong and putting in the leg work to prove he’s a starter. Truth be told, who knows the exact extent of the knee injury that’s been keeping him off the pitch the last few weeks. He’s a solid defensive fixture, knows how to get in there and break up the offensive play, let’s just give him time. In current form, perhaps he’s a better option to come off the bench? Taking your point into consideration, I would feel much better having Stammler in ahead of Ubi. Nielsen did well, also considering he had been in the country for a solid day. Saw him taking on that creative , CAPABLE play making role we’ve been desperate to have in the mid field. Let’s give him a full week of training with the team, and I bet we’ll see great things.

    Jeremy is essentially doing double duty, and I don’t think it’s a fair point to say the experiment has been an all out failure. A reoccurring comment on the right flank situation we have .. bench Richards, we’ll see a different Hall.

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