All posts by litsrb

After 2 college degrees and 15 years teaching experience, I'm chasing 3 young men and a little lady as a mom while elbowing my way into the soccer media industry. My home is cozy, my family is expansive, my dreams are even bigger.

New York Red Bulls Begging for Mercy

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Sunday, April 14th: 2-2 Draw

Hey folks.

I know… this is kinda on the late side. Sorry about that. It’s been a hectic week in more ways than one.

The New York Red Bulls traveled to Children’s Mercy Park to face Sporting Kansas City. The team once known as the Wiz had done something the team once known as the MetroStars couldn’t: advance to the CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinals.

It didn’t exactly go to plan for SKC: they bowed out with a 10-2 aggregate score. They needed to bounce back. And the Red Bulls just needed some bounce as well. Losing the last three games, RBNY had to do something. Well, that was sure what happened.

Even though you don’t mean to hurt me: SKC’s Johnny Russell was leading the charge on the Red Bulls’ goal. With Kemar Lawrence staying home due to illness, it was up to Connor Lade to do most of the work against Russell. Eventually he powered through, scoring the first goal of the night in the 24th minute. The remainder of the first half was essentially stopping that from happening again.

Don’t even know your power: The tide shifted in the second half. A passback from Bradley Wright-Phillips went to Cristian Casseres, Jr., who chipped it up and over to Daniel Royer while he was on a breakaway run. He was soon 1 on 1 with SKC goalkeeper Tim Melia, but Royer took advantage of his going to ground, dodged him, and angled the ball into the net to level the score. It was a goal unlike any this year for the Red Bulls, and I am here for it.

Take it easy on my heart: Then, Brian White was subbed on for BWP. An imminent club legend, Wright-Phillips deserves a break whenever. He’s done a lot for the team, so I ain’t even mad. Especially when White can nab the go-ahead goal on a stunning header in the box. He redirected a cross from Alejandro Romero Gamarra to put the Red Bulls ahead for the first time that night. Maybe this was the night all the demons were shaken off and the season could continue as originally intended.

You keep tearing me apart: Almost at the death, youngster Gianluca Busio further cemented his status as a Kansas City phenom. Keeping his cool following a punching save from Luis Robles, he took a pass from Graham Zusi and nailed it into the net, bringing the game to a draw once again. This was his third goal in as many games– simply impressive.

Please have mercy on me: Then, right at the end of the match, all hell broke loose. Kakú, frustrated over a missed pass, kicked the ball off the field. Into the stands. Into a man’s face.

Since then, there have been NUMEROUS discussions regarding his intent, his level of remorse, and what the punishment should be. I don’t want to predict or discuss at this point. In fact, part of the reason this article is so late in coming was that I was just hoping to report the official decision of the Disciplinary Committee… but nothing has been said as of yet.

Kakú was ejected from the game, and will miss the next match against the Revolution at minimum. We’ll see what else is in store. May DisCo have mercy on us all.

 

Featured image: Bill Twomey

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

New York Red Bulls Feeling Blue

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, April 6: 1-2 loss

One loss against Orlando: Well… okay.

Another loss against Chicago: Um.. what?

A third loss in a row, against Minnesota: Yikes!

Don’t get me wrong, it’s not like I’m sitting here looking down my nose, saying, “Ugh– but it’s Minnesota!” I know things have been looking up for the Loons this season. No team can be in charge of another’s success. But RBNY has been so confident. And for what? To have four points out of a possible fifteen?

You look like you haven’t felt the fire:

Overall, the Red Bulls had a lackluster performance. There were, of course, the flashes of brilliance: Luis Robles and his three saves. Tim Parker‘s full-body ball clearance. Mathias Jørgensen and his half-dozen or so runs on goal that hint at exactly why he’s in a Red Bulls kit.

Then there was Cristian Casseres Jr. His goal in the 70th minute was the phenomenal moment that fans are looking for each week. But ninety-plus minutes is a long time to watch a match and only see momentary flashes. There’s frustration at Red Bull Arena, even if maybe it can’t be found on the pitch.

He’s stealing your thunder:

Of all the soccer clichés that get on my nerves… actually, “it’s only halftime” is the one that makes me want to thunder-punch someone the most. And “the calm before the storm” is obnoxious, but ubiquitous in sports (and we send along all infractions to Pablo Maurer). But after that, “defend our fortress” is rising in the power rankings for triteness. Because what happened when fans were told the team would defend the fortress?

Abu Danladi and Romario Ibarra: that’s what happened. Anyone watching on TV sees goal celebrations equally from either side: play stops, teammates hug, the players reset. But when a visiting team scores and you’re there to see it live, it’s almost surreal. The home team resets and the din of the crowd remains level. Very often, if not for the change on the scoreboard, I wouldn’t actually believe a goal occurred. The team can get back to fortress defending any time now. Immediately would be best.

Blue ain’t your color, baby:

Because, after all, NY is Red. It might be easier to cry over the sky falling, kiss the season goodbye, and find another sports venue for your entertainment. But sports fandom is not built for ease; rather, it’s a way to be show what you’re made of. So instead, let us demand the team dust off the past, forge ahead together, and bring it to Sporting KC in their Blue Hell of Children’s Mercy Park.

(P.S. Because I’m a little bit country, and I’m a little bit rock n’ roll…)

Featured image: Bill Twomey

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

New York Red Bulls Foiled Again

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 30: 1-0 loss

NOTE: This one is kind of a deep dive. If you’re an actual Barenaked Ladies fan, you’ll know this one.

The New York Red Bulls faced the Chicago Fire at SeatGeek Stadium in Bridgeview. Trying to bounce back from a loss at home, they were looking at the second team in a row who were desperate for a win. In their benevolence, RBNY accommodated the Fire.

How in every visible way you shine: Following the International Break, the Red Bulls were back to full strength. Center back Aaron Long worked some kind of mullet magic, in that the US Men’s National Team won the friendly he played in, but tied the one in which he didn’t. Defender Kemar Lawrence went ninety minutes for the Reggae Boyz while he had still been ruled out in league play. And Alejandro “Kakú” Romero Gamarra returned from his duty with Paraguay and a suspension for what is being called ‘a club matter.’

Almost impossible to malign: I have been reluctant to discuss Kakú. As the season was starting up, there was a potential issue where Gamarra was itching to make a move to Club America in Liga MX. It would be easier for his family to visit him in Mexico than it is now. He and his agent said they were not fully compensated for the peripherals that went into a transfer deal. And then there were a bunch of tweets and Instagram posts that seemed to indicate that Kakú was downright frustrated and unhappy. This belied posts from the team, showing him smiling and joking, as well as putting in serious work.

Some fans said his agent was crying over sour grapes trying to get more money out of the Red Bull Global coffers. It has put a bad taste in everyone’s mouth– and I don’t mean the Yellow Edition energy drink… blech. This time last year, Gamarra was nuestro hijo más precioso. He has to make a real effort to remind fans why that was the case.

But just below where you shine you burn: It usually is much easier to pick apart a win, because there’s so much great stuff going on. Picking apart a loss, while not very enjoyable, can at least be satisfying. At least then there are a number of mistakes and issues that are easy to identify and hopefully easy to correct when the team returns to training. Not so here. Captain Luis Robles was credited with four saves. RBNY dominated possession nearly 2 to 1. And while both teams won an even number of duels, it did nothing for the scoreline.

You’ll never rust but I’ll never know: Instead of a former Red Bull edging out the team in the scoreline, it was a current one. During a tussle in the box, defender Tim Parker accidentally chested and cleared a shot on the wrong side of the line. Parker was a bit off-kilter the entire match, quite honestly. Prior to the Orlando match, there were rumblings that he had been hurt the week before to the point of possibly being on the injury report. Maybe he was indeed powering through something.

You can shine like silver all you want: The team used their full silver kit for the first time in Bridgeview. But they didn’t have the shining performance they were capable of. While Bradley Wright-Phillips had some better moments than in previous matches, he has only found the back of the net once this season. Andreas Ivan and Mathias Jørgensen saw more minutes on the field, but could not make anything happen. Overall, they were just aluminum.

The New York Red Bulls return to Harrison and welcome DETHLOON… I mean, Minnesota United.

Featured image: Bill Twomey

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

New York Red Bulls and a Pocket Full of Kryptonite

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 23: 0-1 loss

So there I was, at Red Bull Arena probably way too early for my own good. It was cold, as late March usually is. There was a promise of empanadas at some point in the evening, and a very confident New York Red Bulls team was going to face Orlando City, winless as they entered Harrison.

Well I don’t think I can handle this: If RBNY has a weakness, it’s desperate teams. The more cynical among the fans fretted over San Jose’s visit the week before. But the four-goal trouncing of the Quakes allayed those nerves. MLS being, well… MLS, the fear came right back with the Lions anyway. They braced themselves for Dom Dwyer and Portugal legend Nani to blitz a slightly depleted squad, thanks to the international duty absences.

Please put me in your plan: Manager Chris Armas brought out Amro Tarek at center back against his former team. Last year, Jesse Marsch did the same, slating Tommy Redding against Orlando. All things considered, things went better this time around. Alex Muyl, the Earthquake-crusher, was tapped to drop back when an apparent hamstring pull sent Connor Lade to the locker room for medical attention. Lade’s official substitution, Omir Fernandez, also had to be replaced when he averaged one foul suffered for every ten minutes he was on the field. Mathias JØrgenson put in a solid half hour on the pitch for RBNY. Still no hat trick*, but his star is on the rise.

*It occurs to me now that it might be unfair that I have inadvertently made that the benchmark. But here we are. I’m a high school teacher by trade: giving teenagers lofty standards is what I do.

It drives me up the wall and through the roof: Overall, there isn’t a whole lot to comment on with this match. Both teams stuck to their plans and the threats came and went at both ends. OCSC goalkeeper Brian Rowe was credited with three saves on the day. RBNY had seven corner kicks, as well as a couple of free kicks just outside the box. But it was a great big ball of nothing for over seventy minutes of play. Thank goodness for halftime empanadas.

I can’t believe my dilemma is real: Dwyer wasn’t the issue. And Nani? Let’s just say he was handled.

No, the only goal of the match came from former RBNY captain Sacha Kljestan. I still have a soft spot for my fellow Seton Hall Pirate and fellow person-whose-name-gets-misspelled- and-mispronounced-on-the-regular. So while it stinks that Kljestan finally made good on his promise to score on his former team, it’s really to his credit that he made something happen for either side. Besides, there are plenty of folks out there to be upset in my place.

RBNY returns to training this week, and then travels to face another former captain and another winless (and maybe a little desperate) team, the Chicago Fire. At least I can say the Red Bulls are one for one so far against teams named after historic disasters.

(The song is actually NOT called “Pocket Full of Kryptonite,” but the album is. And, to my knowledge, Jimmy Olsen never had a crush on Lois Lane. But this song still slaps.)

Featured image: @NewYorkRedBulls

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Home Sweet Home for New York Red Bulls

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 16: 4-1 Win

Ah, Spring. When young man’s fancy turns to thoughts of MLS. At least, we hope so. It was still rather chilly, but a bright sunny afternoon welcomed fans old and new to Red Bull Arena. The home match against the San Jose Earthquakes happens every other year, and new Quakes coach Matias Almeyda is looking to bring his team into the playoff conversation.

You know I’m a dreamer: This is already Matchday 3. The season is well on its way, with all its narratives being formed and tweaked. The Red Bulls have lived and learned with two home games in their latest attempt at the CONCACAF Champions League. But the league home opener is a special moment. A halftime ceremony celebrated the 2018 Supporter’s Shield, as well as the team’s previous two, which are all immortalized on the building itself. Recently retired former Red Bull Mike Grella was invited to hold up the 2015 Shield at the ceremony. Confetti-filled posters of the players from Decision Day 2018 were distributed to fans following the match.

RBNY supporters group, Vikings Army, display an “Unfinished Business” tifo at the home opener. Photo by Sylvana Budeshelm

Sometimes nothing keeps me together: The game itself didn’t look so good at the start. The Red Bulls were unsettled throughout the first half. The high press Red Bull thrives on was keeping them on the attack, but no one could find the back of the net. At the same time, the Earthquakes looked threatening after every turnover. Just five minutes into the match, Christian Espinoza sent a low shot past Luis Robles. Then, around the thirty-minute mark, a rough challenge sent midfielder Florian Valot to ground. With a scream. And anyone who saw and heard knew. The player who lost most of last season to a tear in his left ACL confirmed a few days after the game that he tore his right ACL. He bounced back once, and fans are confident he can do it again.

I’m on my way: In the 34th minute, homegrown Alex Muyl entered the pitch for Valot. While he had two off-target shots leading up to the halftime whistle, it was clear he was knocking on the door. But that happens a lot, and not just to Muyl. The entire first half was rife with missed opportunities. Kyle Duncan, who had done great work in the back line until the game against San Jose, scrambled for the first half but finally found his bearings in the second. It was time for RBNY to show what they were made of.

Just set me free: If you’re reading this, and you didn’t come to the game because some other commitment was going to have you missing the first half, let me tell you right now: the second half alone was worth the price of admission. Not one, but two goals from Alex Muyl, the first goal of the season for striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, and the final dagger from Daniel Royer.

Take me to your heart: Almost as soon as Wright-Phillips scored, he was substituted. In his place came Mathias Jorgensen, the eighteen-year-old Danish international who was the marquee signing of the Red Bulls’ off-season. And while he didn’t score a hat-trick right out of the gate, coach Chris Armas was happy with what he saw: “He almost scored. It’s right there for him.”

Whether he starts the next match, replaces Wright-Phillips earlier, or plays alongside him remains to be seen. But like many of the players on the roster, it’s about more than what fans see on gameday. “But if you got to know him a little bit the way we do, what a humble, hard-working team guy, and he fought hard, even in a few minutes,” Armas said. This is clearly the identity of the RBNY player, which belies the “villains of MLS” perception that other teams would like to foist upon them.

Enjoying back-to-back home games, the Red Bulls face former teammate Sacha Kljestan and Orlando City SC on Saturday.

Featured image: Sylvana Budeshelm

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Bye, Bye, Bye: Sundry Thoughts on New York Red Bulls

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Matchday 2: Bye Week from League Play

Well… it’s not like I don’t have anything to talk about. Let’s get on with it, shall we?

“… And if they tell two people…”: Look. I’ve ranted about all those folks who complain about attendance at games. It’s forced me to examine the phenomenon myself. Red Bulls are not much different than a lot of MLS teams.

It all comes down to this: a lot of folks in the tri-state area can think of other things they’d rather do than go to a soccer game. Their loss, I say, and I leave it at that. It certainly isn’t my job to look at arena attendance as a problem I must solve.

That being said, the solution may be sitting in front of the average supporter. I work with eight other adults. Just by talking about my writing and the team I cover, two of them are thinking of heading to a game this season.

Like the 1980s shampoo commercial illustrated, word of mouth can be the best way to bring people to a product. The home opener is this weekend– tell your friends.

That old familiar feeling: This is not to say I haven’t been to Red Bull Arena yet this season. I have– twice. For the third year in a row, RBNY earned a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League. They started strong with a 5-0 aggregate win over Club Atletico Pantoja of Costa Rica (which meant they got to go to Costa Rica… my snow-shoveling self was a tad jealous).

But the quarterfinal round was a whole ‘nother thing. Liga MX team Santos Laguna, who wallopped their first opponent, Marathon (Panama) 11-2, rode that wave and eliminated Red Bull with an aggregate score of 6-2.

Fans may be asking, “Why,” or better yet, ”Why again?” It’s easy to say they aren’t in full season form, or injuries (Kemar Lawrence most notably) hampered their play. But it’s more than that.

Outspoken soccer pundit Ray Hudson said that CCL “holds a mirror” to MLS teams and says, ‘You’re getting better, but there’s still more work to be done.’ Houston Dynamo was eliminated as well, leaving Atlanta United and Sporting Kansas City to try and flip the script.

Kid and Play: (As if I couldn’t show my age enough…) The young and international talent that RBNY has gathered for this season is nothing short of impressive. From Bronx native Omir Fernandez, who made his first professional goal in the Champions League, to Danish phenom Mathias Jorgensen, who hit the field for the first time in red against Santos this week, the club has their eyes on the future.

Putting them alongside established veterans like Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer is the best way for them to elevate their game. Romanian international Andreas Ivan has proven this strategy is beneficial, as evidenced by a goal each in MLS and Champions League. But what may be even more important is what this shows young fans.

Everyone wants to see someone who looks like them in a spotlight, and that includes young people. Fans across the league: bring your kids while teams play their kids. You won’t be disappointed.  

P.S. What– did you think I wouldn’t include the song?

Featured image: Bill Twomey

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

New York Red Bulls: There They Go

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 2: 1-1 Draw

There they go again…

The New York Red Bulls traveled to Columbus and MAPFRE Stadium to begin the MLS season against the Crew. They last met in the 2018 playoffs, where the Red Bulls overcame a 1-0 deficit to advance. But with a new season comes new possibilities. With the Crew safe and sound in Columbus, and with Caleb Porter at the helm, are we going to see a huge change?

Racing Through My Brain: With a much shorter turnaround between rounds of the CONCACAF Champions League than I remember there being last year, the team had to look further down the roster. And there they found a bunch of comeback kids: Kyle Duncan, Florian Valot, and Vince Bezecourt. All three of them had season-ending injuries last year (what is with those knee ligaments?!) and were ready to start again. Bezecourt and Valot went the full 90; Duncan made way for draft pick Sean Nealis.

And I Just Can’t Contain: Fresh off his very first goal for the first team just three days prior, Andreas Ivan scored his very first MLS goal (6′). Valot crossed the ball to him and he headed it home. Fans may have been wondering before this past week if Ivan was going to be an asset or a liability for RBNY. He is quickly proving to be the former. Usual starters Bradley Wright-Phillips and Daniel Royer have done great things for the Red Bulls, but they can’t stay on forever. Seeing players like Ivan and newcomer Mathias Jorgensen should reassure fans that a future transition will be seamless. (Let’s hope those transitions are far in the future, though!)

This Feeling That Remains: Sure would have been nice to start the season with a win. Crew midfielder Gaston Sauro changed that.  His header off a set piece (41′) leveled the game moments before the half. And while there were a ton of fouls and a grand total of six yellow cards between the two sides, that scoreline remained the same until the final whistle. So at least it wasn’t a loss.

It’s back to Red Bull Arena for the first leg of the Champions League Quarterfinals this week, then a trip to Mexico for the second leg. The Red Bulls return to MLS play on Saturday, March 16, with their home opener against the San Jose Earthquakes.

Featured image: Bill Twomey

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Games of Auld Lang Syne for New York Red Bulls

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Scene: The Press Box at Red Bull Arena, February 27th. The New York Red Bulls are about to host Club Atletico Pantoja in the second leg of the CONCACAF Champions League. More on that later…

I’m eating a cannoli (like a good Jersey girl) and greeting one of the several staffers that I’ve gotten to know in my time as a reporter.

Me: Happy New Year!

Him: Happy New Year!… Wait– do we still say that at the end of February?

Me: When it’s my first time seeing you, sure!

It’s true: This is a new year; for the now 24 teams in MLS, for the 16 teams who qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League, and for the 84 teams who will compete in the U.S. Open Cup. With a new year comes a new start. The past is gone, and the future is in their hands, or, I should say, at their feet.

Should Auld Acquaintance be Forgot:

The team, the fans, and the entire league knows there was a Tyler Adams-shaped hole cut out as the 19-year-old Academy product nabbed some lederhosen and transferred to RB Leipzig (the RB stands for ‘rasenballsport,’ a made-up word to keep the lettering consistent but avoid the blatant corporate branding that is a no-go in the Bundesliga). 

While fans were sad to see him go, Adams is still just a television broadcast away. I have watched his explosive pace and relentless hustle light up the Bundesliga. He was recently credited with his first assist. RB Leipzig is currently in fourth place, which will qualify them for the UEFA Champions League.

What did RBNY get in return? The transfer window was all but silent and all but closed when this announcement was made:

Are fans looking for a big name? Are they looking for someone who has scored dozens of goals in huge competitions overseas? Would they have preferred someone… older?

That’s not who the club is, and they haven’t been that way for a long time. Just because Mathias Jorgensen isn’t a big name, doesn’t mean he isn’t going to be. Wouldn’t you rather have the guy who makes a name for himself with your team? Because I can think of a couple of MLS sides who have been of little consequence in recent years. At least RBNY have made the playoffs nine years running.

And Never Brought to Mind:

Yeah… about that. There is still no star over the crest this year. There is another Supporter’s Shield, the third in six years. If RBNY was RB Leipzig, that would mean three stars. But that isn’t how American sports roll. But what’s done is done. Everyone begins with a clean slate, from the Red Bulls with their Shield to the San Jose Earthquakes with their Spoon.

We’ve Wandered Many a Weary Foot:

So begins the trudge through multiple competitions, regardless of weather and distance. A breezy 25-degree evening saw the Red Bulls sew up their spot in the quarterfinals with a 5-0 aggregate score in the Champions League. They are heading out to Columbus for the start of the regular MLS season (Yay, Condiment Derby!).

The boys in red will return to Red Bull Arena next week to start the series with Santos Laguna, followed by a trip to Mexico for the second leg. This is what roster depth is for, and I am here for all of it.

Happy New Season!

Featured image: Bill Twomey

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Sounds for the New York Red Bulls Post-Season

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

I’m coming to you from the comfort of my couch once again with an overview of the Eastern Conference competition. Usually, I integrate songs or movies into my articles, but this calls for a more onomatopoeic approach.

Heh

The New York Red Bulls had secured a first-round bye even before winning the Supporter’s Shield on Decision Day. The knockout round was between the Columbus Crew and DC United. While a classic Atlantic Cup matchup would have been amazing, it was the Crew who emerged victorious following 120 minutes and a PK shootout.

Hmph

Leg 1, at MAPFRE Stadium, ended with Columbus ahead by one goal. RBNY fans were bracing themselves for disappointment. Was the team going to crash out in the playoffs after the euphoric Shield win?

HAH

The Empire struck back. A deflection from Alex Muyl (17′) and a brace from Daniel Royer (73′, 76′) put the Red Bulls through to the Conference Finals (3-1 aggregate). Flames shot out from pillars on the goals with every score, and the crowd was equally fired up.

#@&%!

There was an International break that took Aaron Long and Tyler Adams to Europe for friendlies with the US Men’s National team. Kemar Lawrence, Kaku, and Derrick Etienne, Jr. were called to International duty as well. So there was a break in playoff action.

Not really worth complaining about, although I’m sure plenty of people did. The final had been settled before the break anyway. Atlanta United made quick work of NYCFC for their semifinal round. But they had never defeated RBNY before. And while the Red Bulls never took that record for granted, no one was prepared for what actually happened.

Eastern Conference Final (Leg 1) – Mercedes-Benz Stadium

First, RBNY announced Lawrence was injured and put homegrown defender Connor Lade in his spot in the lineup. Then the defense was outrun by Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron, and Tito Villalba. But the first and the second sentences are unrelated. If anything, Lade slotted back into the defense wonderfully. It was… hard to explain, really.

To say that they didn’t look like themselves is a sort of cop-out, a cliche that gets trotted out for any loss. But this is the only way to explain it. The Red Bulls push up the field, and the ball spent way too much time near their goal to say they were doing what they do.

Did they keep Atlanta from getting particularly fancy? Sure. But ugly soccer can win, too. And that’s what happened. With a three-goal deficit, RBNY had a lot of work to do in this Eastern Conference Final.

*Sigh*

The Red Bulls scored four or more goals in thirteen matches in all competitions this year. They were able to hold opponents scoreless at home three months solid. So while it was not impossible for the team to pull off something downright magical, the fear crept in.

Eastern Conference Final (Leg 2) – Red Bull Arena

The game itself was good. There was movement. There was pressing. There was also cursing and shoving and yellow cards and a last-ditch goal at the death from Tim Parker that hasn’t gotten half the credit it deserves. Had they been able to hold Atlanta scoreless in that first leg, fans would still be partying and Parker would probably never have to pay for another beer in the NY Metro area ever again.

But instead, Atlanta will be hosting the Portland Timbers for the MLS Cup Final. I’ve watched it the past couple of years, even as I’ve seen RBNY crash out. But this year…? I don’t think I can do it. I’ve never thought the Red Bulls deserved to be there more than they did this year. For them to not be hosting is devastating.

Exit interviews are scheduled for Monday, December 3rd. The team was required to submit roster on Friday, November 30th.  But the first major announcement has already been released:

I’ve met and spoken to Adams once or twice. He is exactly who he seems to be, and the Red Bulls organization has helped to shape that. Not only that, but his career with the USMNT is a bright spot that should mean great things in Qatar and North America for the upcoming World Cup cycles. I look forward to seeing him with RB Leipzig.

As for the rest of the team? I’m not going to make predictions (never been that good at them, anyway). But I do know that I’ll be back to talk about it all next season. I hope you’ll be there to read it.

Featured image: @kakuromero17

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x

Save the Empire

Sylvana Budesheim - NY Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Sunday, November 4th: 1-0 Loss 

Eastern Conference Semifinals, Leg 1

Fresh off a first-round bye, the New York Red Bulls traveled to MAPFRE Stadium to face the Columbus Crew. The Crew had to battle through 120 minutes and a penalty shootout to eliminate DC United from the 2018 MLS Playoffs.

So, I have been a part of the #SaveTheCrew movement. And it seems to have worked. But now… it’s time to Save the Empire. (The initial name for the NY/NJ MLS team was Empire Soccer Club.)

DISCLAIMER: One of my favorite players (my 10-year-old) had a game about the same time as the playoff game. I had to listen to the Crew radio play-by-play to get any sense of what was happening in Columbus.

It wasn’t pretty.

WHAT’S WITH TODAY, TODAY?: The only goal of the game was scored for the Crew by striker Gyasi Zardes. While RBNY had a handle on the possession and attack throughout the match, they couldn’t finish their chances. Their set pieces didn’t yield any useful results, and a momentary lapse was all it took for the Crew to get behind the defense. 

I feel as if I have said this before. 

WE MUSTN’T DWELL: There are plenty of serviceable cliches that can be used now. “It’s only halftime.” “Down but not out.” The team has to focus on the things that have brought them this far. Supporter’s Shield winners. CONCACAF Champions League Semifinals. Open Cup runs. They’ve fallen short. There is no shortage of articles from any soccer outlet quick to point this out. This is the moment to flip the script. And if they can do it, nothing will stand in their way. 

DAMN THE MAN, SAVE THE EMPIRE: The second leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals will be back at Red Bull Arena, a fortress for the team. With the fans behind them, the team is ready to give it all they’ve got. They will have their Rex Manning Day.  

Featured image: Bill Twomey

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

MLSFemale logo trans 100x