Categorized | Weekly Commentary

Improved Red Bulls visit RFK on a hot streak

Posted on 29 August 2008 by Chris Snear

When DC United pasted the New York Red Bulls at home 4-1 in mid-June, it would have been inconceivable to anyone that the two teams would stand tied for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 31 points heading into their match Saturday night.

The stretch run starts now for DC United where every game could be a season swinger. They will play 16 matches over the next two months including the U.S. Open Cup final against the Charleston Battery (USL1) at home next Wednesday.

On top of the nine remaining league matches, they will travel to Costa Rica and most likely Mexico and either Honduras or El Salvador for CONCACAF Champions League matches.

“I guess every game is important from here on out,” said a subdued Santino Quaranta. “We gotta figure out a way to juggle all of this stuff. When you keep telling yourself it’s a lot (of games) and we are going to be a little tired here and there, you go into games sometimes thinking that you are not going to do as well, so we are trying to stay away from that whole ‘did you see how many games we have coming up in this amount of days’ type of thing.”

United has been riddled with injuries through most of the season forcing head coach Tom Soehn to play several players more minutes than he anticipated. Clyde Simms has played nearly every minute of the team’s 21 league matches this season, while Bryan Namoff has done the same for the 20 in which he was on the roster. Namoff missed one game due to a red card suspension.

“This is our job. We just have to show up and do our job, very simple,” said veteran midfielder Jaime Moreno, who has not gotten the rest during the season that he and Soehn had hoped. “That’s what we train for and a game is a game but Saturday’s game is totally different than Wednesday’s game-they are both important but if we take care of both games, we’ll be fine.”

“We have had many people injured so the same faces have been playing most games so that’s one thing unfortunately we haven’t been too lucky about,” Moreno continued. “If we can have everybody healthy, then some people could have a break and rest a little bit but unfortunately that’s not the case so we just have to stick with it.”

Consequently, United has not found the consistency that has kept them out of this late season predicament for several years.

“The consistency is the biggest thing that we are preaching around here; keeping every performance at least on some type of consistent level,” Quaranta said. “It’s been so up and down-we have had games where we look like the best team in the league and then we’ve had games where we looked like a team that belongs in the reserve division…the points from now, from here on out, are important because if you lose a couple of games, you are not going to make the playoffs.”

The Red Bulls have quickly become the hottest team in the league, winning their last three matches by a combined score of 9-1. They reciprocated the 4-1 score against United at the Meadowlands three weeks ago for the first win in that stretch that also included a sound thumping of the defending MLS Cup Champion Houston Dynamo 3-0 last Sunday.

“Sure, we got embarrassed up there,” said Quaranta referring to the loss at New York. “They are in form right now and it’s going to be difficult. When a team starts winning in this league it seems like they keep going.”

The Red Bulls win against United was preceded by a 6-2 loss in an exhibition match against Barcelona and a 6-game winless streak, including a quiet exit from the U.S. Open Cup, 2-0, to Crystal Palace-Baltimore (USL2).

“They have been the most consistent team over the last month I would say so we just have to find a way to compete and match their intensity like they’ve been doing; they have been coming out faster than every team,” Quaranta continued. “They came out against Houston and they were better, stronger, faster, you name it, and that’s what they did and we have to match that intensity.”

The result was United’s worst loss in their history against the New York franchise with a miserable performance and missed opportunities for some young players to make an impact on the team.

“It was a game where there were some players that had an opportunity to show well in the team and unfortunately it didn’t work for us. We didn’t show up, it’s very simple. We have to show up for those type of games,” said Moreno .

The team that United will face has no resemblance to the team they handled in June. The addition of three South Americans; defender Gabriel Cichero and midfielders Juan Pietravallo and Jorge Rojas, have given the team more bite.

Their presence has upgraded the team’s soccer quality, giving the Red Bulls the opportunity to play at a higher tempo, with better skill which in turn has allowed Juan Pablo Angel to make a bigger impact.

Cichero will be serving the second of a two game red card suspension this Saturday after hitting Toronto’s Danny Dichio in the head in just his second match as a Red Bull. The burly Englishman did not return to that August 17 match, a 2-0 Red Bull win.

Regardless, United still has some lingering emotions from that pasting in New York .

“Yeah. As far as getting paybacks and taking it to them at home definitely,” said Namoff. “The only thing we are not going to repeat is that performance. It’s been forgotten about, swept under the rug but at the same time we are going to keep it in the back of our heads exactly what they did to us. It was one of the worst losses we have ever had.

“It always seems as we get down to the end of the season at some point, somehow we are playing New York whether we are tied for points or in a playoff game. We are really happy we are playing at home on grass instead of their place on the turf.

Quaranta put it in perspective, “I do expect this is in this league. It doesn’t surprise me at all. This league is a lot better. People are so used to DC being superior to everybody all of the time.

“Teams are getting better; the coaching is getting better; a lot of the players are better now. It’s not going to be teams running away with this anymore”.

1 Comments For This Post

  1. Konoha7 Says:

    2 Problems:

    1) Jaime Moreno is not a midfielfer

    2) Red Bulls lost 6-2 to BARCELONA!

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