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.

2 Comments For This Post

  1. whoshotsam Says:

    Can't disagree with any of that.

  2. whoshotsam Says:

    Can't disagree with any of that.

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