Backe: Bulls need better control in midfield

Posted on 26 April 2010 by cwilliams

The Red Bulls have a problem and head coach Hans Backe understands what it is: Lack of control at midfield.

Although the Red Bulls won 2-1 against Philadelphia Union on Saturday, victory was the result of a penalty. Team captain Juan Pablo Angel scored the winning goal after Union defender Michael Orozco was called for a hand ball in the box.

And the Bulls’ won their previous match, against FC Dallas, on a penalty as well, in the 90th minute of the game. In fact all of the teams’ wins this season were decided by one goal.

“Our recent games have been close calls—-all of them,” Backe said. “If this pattern keeps up, I’m going to have a nervous breakdown.”

Backe has reason for concern. Although the team’s won-loss record so far this season stands at 4-1, with the team picking up 12 of a possible 15 points in the last few games, a lot of luck has been part of the action.

For the Red Bulls to win two of two games on penalties just isn’t cutting it for Backe who is clearly a strategist.

“I’m seeing too many plays resulting in ‘end-line to end-line’ movement of the ball instead of the players controlling it up the field,” Backe said.

The Swede is not one to call out his players through the press, but you can’t help but feel Carl Robinson, who started at holding midfielder against Philadelphia, might have been at least a partial target of his comments. Robinson received a low (some say too low) 3/10 rating for his play but appeared to be struggling with the injury that had him miss the first few games of the season.

More midfield control is what Backe is after and he may shuffle the lineup soon to get it. Tomorrow night’s U.S. Open Cup match against Philadelphia Union could serve as Jeremy Hall’s audition for the right midfield spot. Chris Albright is due back from injury and expected to start at right back, where Hall has started all five games this season. Backe said he would consider starting Hall at right mid for the U.S. Open Cup game.

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