Category Archives: Team Updates

Keeping you updated on soccer news

Keep it Rolling

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, July 29th: 4-0 Win

Have I ever mentioned that I love Canada? It’s kind of random on my part… I have no affiliation with the country as far as my heritage is concerned. But I just latched on to Canadian stuff when I was younger and it has stuck with me ever since. Barenaked Ladies… Kids in the Hall… Quebec City… Poutine…

So you should know that when the New York Red Bulls (11-8-2, 35 pts) faced the Montreal Impact (6-8-6, 24 pts), I sang along to both national anthems. The Impact’s “home and native land” is pretty cool. And former RBNY defender Chris Duvall was in their starting XI, and he is no “Metro Reject”.

THE SAME… BUT DIFFERENT: RBNY has been enjoying quite the run these days. They won every game they played this month, between League and Open Cup play, scoring 16 goals and keeping 3 clean sheets. I went back and read my last article about Montreal and RBNY… it wasn’t very optimistic.

15 points later, I wish I knew what finally ‘clicked’ for the team… There were very few changes to the lineup: only 3 players from the defeat on June 3rd were not part of this win (Kemar Lawrence– suspension; Frederik Gulbrandsen– returned to RB Salzburg; and Mike Grella– season-ending injury). Defender Aurelien Collin is still out with injury.

Although the team had been doing well while Michael Amir Murillo was away for the Gold Cup, he just fit back in upon his return, which is fantastic to watch. His mental presence to poke the ball in from Daniel Royer‘s cross in the 58th minute and open his MLS scoring account was ridiculously satisfying to watch.

Image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

ROYER ROLLING (AND FLIPPING): Speaking of fantastic to watch, Austrian attacker Daniel Royer has really grown into his role as fellow striker with Bradley Wright-Phillips. With 2 braces in the last 3 games, he’s just getting hotter for the team.

He started off the scoring for RBNY with a penalty kick in the 23rd minute, having been clipped by Impact GK Maxime Crepeau trying to make a save. Then his second goal, slotted between Crepeau and the near post in the 90th minute, looked a lot like his second goal against San Jose Earthquakes. Quite the signature goal, as well as the signature celebration.

Of course, it must also be noted that BWP netted his 80th goal in his RBNY career (85′), taking only 128 games to reach that number. This puts him at #16 of all-time MLS scorers.

CH-CH-CH-CH-CHANGES: The summer transfer window for the Red Bulls, like the season itself, had a bit of a slow start. But the game began with a new player in the red training top: Panamanian defender Fidel Escobar was on the bench for the team, although he did not make his debut.

Forward Muhamed Keita is not yet available. And head coach Jesse Marsch has said there could be more moves coming before the window closes. Will he nab a trade from another MLS team? Will any members of NYRBII get a nod? And what will these moves mean for the current members? Change can be scary, but necessary.

The 2nd (or 3rd, if you include the Open Cup) Hudson River Derby of the season is coming up after the MLS All-Star Game. Best wishes to Tyler Adams, Derrick Etienne Jr, and Evan Louro, participating in the Homegrown All-Star Match. The rest of the guys seem to be enjoying a little time off:

Bring it on back, guys, and be ready for even more!

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

The Less than Grand Rapids: Dropping 2 points in the 6

Cris Payne - Toronto FC/mlsfemale
Official Toronto FC Reporter

By Cris Payne // @crissypayne

Saturday, July 22: 1-1 Draw

Song of the Match: Bodies by Drowning Pool

I may not have explicitly stated this, but let’s all accept that I had taken a vow of silence until Jay Chapman got his first MLS goal and move on, shall we? There’s something bittersweet about it when, just 3 days before, I sat at my keyboard to angrily tap out—with stills as evidence—just how he was robbed by a shoddy offside call in the New York City FC game. No matter now, our boy has done it and he did it at home! My exaltation could be felt throughout the south end. He made us all proud.

I will also reiterate a common theme I’ve seen tossed around the Toronto FC circles over the past week, which is if Jay had have been able to finish out the game we would have walked off the pitch with 3 points instead of 1. He was my clear vote for Player of the Match and in his absence the team fell a bit in their graces and we conceded a goal on a bad turnover from Armando Cooper. It wasn’t, however, without a plucky performance from Raheem Edwards who came on as a sub and tried his utmost to save the game. Needless to say the Canadians boys did me proud that day, even if the result didn’t.

Not for the first time, I find I have to prevent myself from writing an entire article about one of our Canadian prides, but I will take a short reprieve to complain a little. I speak from a place of complete bias but the refereeing was, to put it lightly, deplorable. I have never seen a team waste so much time writhing on the ground in apparent pain with the ref doing little to prevent it or to fairly allot stoppage time accordingly, despite the protests of our players.

Colorado Rapid fans I wish to remain on good terms with, please cover your eyes – but to be frank if that were my team I’d be embarrassed by that display of bad sportsmanship. That is not how you beg for a point, not in my house. But apparently in ref Guzman and co.’s books that is how you rustle up a point and it doesn’t even count towards injury time. Maybe because he knew as well as we did the “injuries” were questionable.

Of course the draw is not to be attributed solely to the histrionics of the Colorado players in the final 10 minutes. We were lackluster at times and we could have put the game to bed in the first half with half a dozen clear cut chances we couldn’t capitulate on. Nonetheless, it left a bad taste in my mouth to end the game on such a sour note when we had brought on a Raheem Edwards who was ready to run his way back to a win.

Since early July our squad has been depleted by players away on International duty for the Gold Cup, as well as, injury and during that time we managed to pick up 5 points in 4 games and maintain a 2 point lead at the top of the table, albeit with a game in hand. To be honest, I’m not too sure what to make of that.

TFC fans have been positively spoiled of late, and I’ve come to expect wins nearly all the time. However, we managed to keep our feet beneath us with a squad that didn’t have a lot of experience playing together and some of the greener players were able to show us what they’re made of.

I hope manager Greg Vanney remembers that down the line, after a second season of Jay Chapman showing us just what he can be capable of after a run of games. I remain optimistic and I know a lot of us were worried about dropping points during this stretch. At any rate we survived it, our squad is slowly returning to full strength, and we are prepared to continue fighting for our place at the top.

It’s an exciting season with Toronto FC; we did the unprecedented in offering a coach a contract extension (no seriously, we’ve never done this before. Moving on up! [source]) and we boast what has been called the deepest team in MLS history (thanks, Greg![source]). We recently reached a franchise record of 6 consecutive wins [source], and the Montreal Impact are doing abysmally. For once in our lives, it’s easy being Red. So here’s to the coming weeks, closing out the summer on a high, and enjoying watching some quality football without our jackets on!

P.S. A huge congratulations as well for Ashtone Morgan. As I was on my vow of silence (ahem), I didn’t get to congratulate him before but I am extremely happy for him for the goal and for the blessing of being able to watch Ashtone come back into himself as a player. Another Canadian who has me welling up with pride at the moment!

P.P.S. Welcome back Nick Hagglund. I love you and missed you, Nicky!

Featured image courtesy: @torontofc

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @crissypayne

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

Penalty Fights, Red Cards, and First Goals – Oh My!

Locria Nyla - Philadelphia Union/mlsfemale
Philadelphia Union Key Contributor

By Locria Nyla Fox // @LocriaOnSports

Saturday, July 22: 1-0 Loss

Wednesday, July 26: 3-0 Win

For as dull as Saturday’s snoozer at MAPFRE between the Philadelphia Union and Columbus Crew was, Wednesday’s midweek clash was much more interesting, both in terms of “there’s actual chances being created” and on-field drama.

On Saturday, about the only interesting thing was the U’s starting eleven. With Fafa Picault, CJ Sapong, and Fabian Herbers injured, Chris Pontius at the Gold Cup, and Roland Alberg suspended, the Union attacking four was Marcus Epps, Adam Najem, Ilsinho, and Jay Simpson. That resulted in three shots total for Philadelphia as the Union failed to break down the Crew’s back three of Alex Crognale, Jonathan Mensah, and Lalas Abubakar. Zero on target. The only goal was a Justin Meram shot that went in off of Josh Yaro, which basically summed that game up to a T.

Wednesday, however, saw the Union respond by nearly breaking the team record for shots (28 – they finished with 27). Alberg returned to the eleven, replacing Najem, and Sapong also returned after missing Saturday’s game with an ankle knock.

It was Sapong’s acrobatic assist that helped open the scoring, as an overhead kick set up a bomb of a shot by Ilsinho.

Then came the drama. In the 35th minute, Sapong won a penalty, and Mensah was sent off for denial of a clear goal-scoring opportunity.

If you’ll remember, Alberg and Sapong fought over who would take a penalty a couple weeks ago in Kansas City, with Sapong deferring to Alberg hoping a goal would get the Dutchman going. They went at it again, as Sapong protested to the bench while captain Alejandro Bedoya tried to mediate, and it was Alberg who took it…and subsequently had it denied by ex-Union Academy keeper Zack Steffen.

Perhaps a combination of “ball don’t lie” (the foul did appear to be outside the box and thus not a penalty) and/or karmic punishment for Alberg. Bedoya did say postgame that Alberg was higher in the PK pecking order, and Curtin said that any tension was sorted at halftime…but still, many fans saw Alberg’s actions as juvenile. He’d go on to channel his inner Kobe Bryant during the second half trying to get a goal to make up for it, but never actually scored and received a smattering of boos when he was subbed off.

Sapong did eventually get a goal in the 66th minute. Giliano Wijnaldum put in an excellent cross, Sapong’s first header hit the bar, but he buried the rebound for his career-high tenth.

Ten-man Columbus became nine-man Columbus about ten minutes later as Lalas Abubakar was sent off for hitting Ilsinho in the face. I think it was harsh, and Ilsinho sold the contact…but you don’t put your hands on someone’s face when you’re already on a yellow!

And then five minutes later Epps puts the bow on a good performance with his first MLS goal, beating a defender to the ball and beating Steffen.

Now the Union head on the road to battle New England Revolution with the return of Pontius from Gold Cup duty. It would also be the return of Blake if he didn’t currently have stitches in his hand. FC Dallas plays in Philly early next month, and I think Philly fans will have Kellyn Acosta marked as public enemy #1. Luckily for the Zolos, John McCarthy has been money in Blake’s absence.

Featured image courtesy: Philadelphia Union facebook

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @LocriaOnSports

Check us out on Instagram @mlsfemale

Sports Are My Life

Locria Nyla - Philadelphia Union/mlsfemale
Philadelphia Union Key Contributor

By Locria Nyla Fox // @LocriaOnSports

Hello everyone!

I’m Locria, the new Philadelphia Union Key Contributor. I’m really bad at intros, so I’m going to keep this short…I’m a 21 year old trans woman.

Growing up in Northeast Pennsylvania, the only MLS soccer within two hours was a New York team (the MetroStars/later Red Bulls). As someone whose first sports love was the Boston Red Sox, rooting for a New York team was a big no-no, so as a soccer fan I mostly stayed away until the World Cup.

The Union came in 2010, but during most of my adolescence I didn’t really care for soccer. At the time I was all about the NHL, and with that came the sports elitism that is particularly associated with hockey fans. That kinda wore off over time, and by the time the 2014 Olympics rolled around I really didn’t care for the NHL (though I do remain a hockey fan, just mostly sticking to college, international, and women’s hockey).

That falling-out coincided with the start of the 2014 MLS season. Knowing that I wanted to get into the sport ahead of that year’s World Cup, I started watching some Premier League, but it was really MLS that got me all the way into the door. Even though my first full-watch of a Union game saw them bottle it at the death in Portland (little did I know that that was a sign of things to come), I’ve become a fan of the team and the sport long-term.

Outside of the Union (and USL affiliate Bethlehem) in the sport, I also support Southampton, Schalke, Chicago Red Stars, and various clubs whose left-wing politics I associate with, such as Livorno and Celtic. And it goes without saying that I also support my college’s teams (Go Catamounts!).

Outside of soccer, I’m the assistant sports editor for the Vermont Cynic, the student newspaper at my university. I blog about my university’s sports teams and also write about women’s hockey at The Ice Garden with a focus on my school, as well as, the Russian national team and domestic league.

What I’m saying is, sports are basically my life.

Featured image courtesy: @PhilaUnion

Follow and chat with me on twitter: @LocriaOnSports

Check us out on instagram! @mlsfemale

 

MLS All-Star Festivities Chicago-Style

Nicole Hack - Chicago Fire/mlsfemale
Official Chicago Fire Reporter

By Nicole Hack // @nikhak

The 2017 MLS All-Star match is just around the corner. On Wednesday, August 2 the MLS All-Star team will face Real Madrid at Soldier Field. But you won’t want to miss out on the countless other soccer-related events happening in Chicago this weekend as we head into the main event on Wednesday.

Enjoy one or more of the awesome events below starting tomorrow, Saturday, July 29 up until the game on Wednesday. And I’m sure there will be an after party somewhere – if you have details on this, please share them with us. Until then, vamos!

Saturday, July 29, 2017

Watch Parties

  • 6:30PM: El Clasico – Real Madrid v. FC Barcelona at Pub 97

Per Major League Soccer La Liga Legends Christian Karembeu and Gaizka Mendieta will be in attendance and will be available for autographs and fan pictures.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Monday, July 31, 2017

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

  • 5:00PM-7:00PM: MLS All-Star Game tailgate hosted by Section 8 Chicago

Through partnerships with BuckleDown Brewing, Half Acre Beer Company,Two Brothers, Lou Malnati’s, Honey Butter Fried Chicken, 5411 Empanadas, Portillo’s, The Globe Pub and a few surprise guests. S8C are happy to announce they will be providing complimentary food and beverages to any supporters that decide to stop by our location on the North West Side of the Adler Planetarium lot between 5:00-7:00 on August 2nd (leading up to the match itself).

A full calendar of MLS All-Star events can be found here and MLS events requiring a RSVP can be found here.

Featured image courtesy: mlssoccer.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @nikhak

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

Double Header Against Philadelphia

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, July 22: 1-0 win

Wednesday, July 26: 3-0 loss

Essentially, Columbus Crew SC just played the equivalent to a baseball double header playing the Philadelphia Union on Saturday and then again Wednesday.

In both games, Crew SC rolled out a 3-4-2-1 line-up utilizing 3 center backs in the backline—Jonathan Mensah, Alex Crognale, and Lalas Abubakar. The only change in the starting line-up between the two games was at right back—Harrison Afful played in the first game and Hector Jimenez in the second.

The first time this strategy yielded a 1-0 Crew SC victory. The defense held, but without Federico Higuain, the offense didn’t quite have the same movement that it could have had. Ola Kamara had a nice volley, but it was saved by Philadelphia’s keeper. The lone goal was scored on a deflection off a defender from a Justin Meram shot.

This formation does not allow for pretty soccer, but if our typical line up isn’t firing on all cylinders, then it isn’t attractive either. It also does not allow for a lot of possession. It was about 50/50 during the first game. It is a formation that allows us to grind out a result and that is what we did.

However, that all came to a halt in the second game of the double header. I’m not going to lie. I was really thankful that this was an away game, and I didn’t have to watch this one in person. Everything that Crew SC has struggled with was present in this game in a perfect storm that resulted in a 3-0 loss.

The defense fell apart. There were bad clearances, men unmarked at the top of the box, and men unmarked on the back post. Now, granted, Philadelphia’s first goal contained a pretty bicycle kick assist, but if there hadn’t been a bad clearance the assist wouldn’t have been possible.

Jonathan Mensah committed a red card foul in the 35’ that left the Crew SC a player down. Our DP has struggled all season to adjust to the MLS and Crew SC, and it is becoming evident that he may not be able to adjust at all.   Then, Lalas Abubakar received a red card in the 76’ leaving Crew SC with 9 players on the field.

Finally, we didn’t have that many opportunities, and we couldn’t finish the opportunities we did have. We only had 2 shots on target. Kamara had one he could have tapped in but hit the post.

If you ask any Crew SC fan what our issues are on the field, I’m sure these things would be mentioned. In this game, they were all blatantly present.

A lot of fans are frustrated, and I understand it.   I feel for the guys on the field. They want to win, they care. So, I’ll keep cheering them on from the stands and from my couch when they are playing away from home.

Hopefully, they come out firing on all cylinders against Real Salt Lake this Saturday.

Featured image courtesy: Bill Streicher/ USA Today

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @hils4crew

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

The Freaking Printer Didn’t Work

Ambrosia Tonkovich - Real Salt Lake/mlsfemale
Official Real Salt Lake Reporter

By Ambrosia Tonkovich // @heyambrosia

Saturday, July 22: 1-1 Draw

What led to definitely the best post-game conference I’ve ever seen in my life was a pretty controversial, somewhat chaotic, but we could’ve all seen it coming game, that resulted in a 1v1 draw against Sporting Kansas City at home in Rio Tinto Stadium with Real Salt Lake.

I don’t even know where to start with this one. The beginning seems like the logical place, but oh man, the beginning seems so boring when we all know where the end takes us. Let’s start with this – SKC and RSL have a pretty healthy rivalry. After SKC defeated us in the 2013 championship we’ve been pretty sore.

The time up to that championship was a little sore as well, with RSL supporters buying their tickets to the game and then the tickets being pulled out from under them by the stadium saying that an ‘invalid’ code was used to purchase them (the code was tweeted out by the SKC twitter itself). However, I don’t want to dig too far into the past. I mention it because every time these two teams meet, drama is probably going to ensue. And boy, howdy did it ever.

I’ll be honest, the first half is a little uneventful. RSL had two shots on goal, with one of them making it in at the 42nd minute (Luis Silva’s first RSL MLS goal, assist by Joao Plata). We did have most of the possession for the first half, keeping SKC pretty defensive. They had no shots on goal the entire first half. We did have a hydration break (it was weirdly humid in Utah, also crazy hot… this heat wave, amirite guys?), but really, that’s about it. We ended the first half 1-0 RSL.

Just when you think things are just a normal soccer game though… the second half begins.

I guess I should let you guys know, we had one of the most inexperienced referees this game. A lot of calls were missed (for both teams). A lot of diving happened. A lot of frustration. So much so that our Coach, Mike Petke was asked to leave the field after yelling at the fourth official when a call was missed after Joao Plata was put into a headlock and pushed down during play. In addition, a player did go cleats up against Luke Mulholland and that was called, but only as a yellow, which in my honest opinion, wasn’t the right call.

There are a lot of RSL fans upset that SKC was given a PK (ultimately tying up the game 1-1 in the 59’ with a kick from Benny Feilhaber) but I actually think it was the right call. I know that if we had the same circumstances against us we would have been yelling for a PK.

So, the second half continues. Yellow card after yellow card is given. Foul after foul. It seems like no play can last more than one minute without someone on the ground or some foul being called somewhere. A total of 25 total fouls were called this game. Both teams only used one sub, and to my surprise even though Dom Dwyer was on the bench he was never brought on (which is still really weird to me, especially with the ref we had for the night).

A total of 5 yellow cards were given during the second half (it should’ve been at least one red on each side as well). Also, holy cow, we had a goal that went in, hit the right post, bounced off, then hit the left post, then bounced out, to a player, then he kicked it right back over straight to another post. That ball DID NOT want to go in. Talk about holding my breath. Woooooo.

Obviously Mike Petke and his conference received way more press than really this entire game did, so I can’t just end this article without saying something. When he was brought in to coach the Monarchs we were excited because we *knew* he was going to eventually be coaching RSL. When Jeff Cassar was let go, we knew it was only a matter of time.

I’m so glad that his passion was such a big part of Saturday night. I know we didn’t see him first (I can hear NY fans gritting their teeth right now), but we have him now and don’t worry guys, we love him.

And let’s all hope he gets his printer working.

Featured image courtesy: Chris Nicoll/USA TODAY Sports

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @heyambrosia

Check us out on instagram @mlsfemale

A DAY FOR THE HISTORY BOOKS

Kaitlyn O'Rourke - Seattle Sounders/mlsfemale
Seattle Sounders Key Contributor

By Kaitlyn O’Rourke 

Wednesday, July 21: 4-3 Win

The Seattle Sounders played a historic game Wednesday night. The game started out less than ideally for Seattle, but in the end, the Sounders became the first team in MLS League history to overcome a 3-0 deficit v DC United and win in regulation. *this was also the first Sounders game I’ve been able to go to in over a year. Coincidentally, the last game I went to was a Sounders 2-0 win over DC United in DC last year.

The Sounders were missing Stefan Frei and Ozzie Alonso to injuries and Jordan Morris and Clint Dempsey, both on duty with the national team. They lined up as follows:

Tyler Miller

Brad Evans, Roman Torres, Chad Marshall, Joevin Jones

Gustav Svensson, Cristian Roldan

Aaron Kovar, Nicolas Lodeiro, Harry Shipp

Will Bruin

DC United scored in the 8th minute on a goal by DeShorn Brown, then again in the 27th minute. The Sounders were playing good soccer, but weren’t getting attacks off, and their defense and midfield had some weak spots dropping back.

Five minutes into the second half, DC United sunk the Sounders ship a little more and made it a three goal deficit. But, Will Bruin and the mighty Sounders fought back, and in the 51st minute, Bruin made it a 2 goal deficit.

Now CenturyLink Field was excited. Everyone knew that the Sounders could come back. 11 minutes later Brad Evans closed the gap a little bit more. Seattle still had 28 minutes to play and had all the momentum going.

Gustav Svensson picked a great time for his first MLS goal and tied it at three in the 74th minute. Just 4 minutes later, Cristian Roldan showed Bruce Arena and the USMNT exactly what they were missing and scored the Sounders 4th goal on the night and sunk DC United’s ship into the Puget Sound.

*Nicolas Lodeiro picked Cristian Roldan up after he scored and it was adorable

Unfortunately, Seattle’s party was spoiled a little by Nicolas Lodeiro being sent off in the 89th minute with a red card for violent content. Lodeiro will miss the game against San Jose Earthquakes Sunday.

Fun Facts/Notes/Stats:

  • Seattle scored 4 goals in 27 minutes to complete their second half comeback
  • Seattle is above the red line(YAY!!) and tied for 4th in the west with PDX and Vancouver
  • The Sounders have a total of 27 points on the season with a record of 7-7-6
  • This was the largest comeback in club history
  • Will Bruin and Clint Dempsey now both have 7 goals on the season
  • Evans and Svensson both got their 1st of the season
  • Cristian Roldan got his 3rd
  • 5th time in club history that SFC has had 4 or more different goal scorers in same game
  • 3rd time in club history that Sounders have scored 4 goals in a half
  • Wednesday night marked the debut of new signing Kelvin Leerdam, a Dutch RB
  • Seattle’s first 3 goals were scored within 15 minutes of each other, the second fastest time between goals in club history
  • Stefan Frei was selected for the MLS All-Star game, no other Sounders players were selected

Featured image courtesy: @SoundersFC

Chat with me in the comments section

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Gone Fishing

Kerissa Ward - New York Red Bulls/mlsfemale
New York Red Bulls Key Contributor

By Kerissa Ward // @kerissaward

Wednesday, July 19: 5-1 Win

Aloha! I’m Kerissa and I’ll be your New York Red Bulls Key Contributor for the San Jose Earthquakes match. It’s like I’m a super-sub with no athletic ability whatsoever. Thankfully, you don’t need athletic ability to enjoy sports, so let’s have a good time talking about the match!

I want to start by telling you something I figured out Wednesday night. If I tell you, you have to promise not to tell anybody else? Great!

Here’s what I figured out: this season’s team motto is “Just Keep Swimming”.

No, really it is! Go back. Watch this season’s matches. You’ll see it. You’ll see high possession, higher rates of shots taken, and missed crosses for days. It’s a relentless barrage running and kicking until something works. The Red Bulls keep “swimming” until they score.

Now, perhaps this is the motto for every gegenpressing team. When you’re moving fast, crosses are going to be missed; play is going to look a little sloppy. I’ve seen the Red Bulls pull off a precision high press, though, so it’s hard for me to believe this goes with the territory. The rigor of play was nearly as low as it’s been at other times this season. Yes, they won (and, at 5-1, boy, did they ever), but it just seemed like a lot of swimming.

Now, maybe I’m being a little too hard on the team. The Metro area did have a high temperature in the 90s on Wednesday, while the game temperature hovered in the 80s.

They didn’t even get a water break. Everyone in the arena was sluggish!

So, considering this, the match stats are impressive. RBNY definitely performed well against San Jose. They had an average possession of 57% against the Quakes’ 43%, they took more shots (19 v 12), and had more on target (11 v 3). Plus, despite my concern about missed crosses, RBNY had an 84% passing accuracy.

The match even became a redemption moment for a few players. Alex Muyl came on in the 44th minute as a substitute for Connor Lade, who went out with a potential re-injury to his left knee. And Muyl did okay. He matched Lade in touches, while having a better passing accuracy. I wouldn’t recommend he stay in a place that was essentially the back line, but his time there should be helpful for challenges during the rest of the season.

Sean Davis is the next player on the list who had a darn good performance. Every time he touched the ball, San Jose’s midfield would surround him like pigeons in the park looking for birdseed. It was an obvious attempt to suppress a player who’s been getting stronger. If only it had worked. Davis was unmarked in the box when Lade and Sacha Kljestan passed him the ball for a sneaky goal.

It was Kljestan, though, who the crowd embraced as a conquering hero. And, truly, it was a flashback to the number 10 of 2016. He had a whopping 92 touches, created five chances, assisted on two goals, and scored a goal himself. He was a walking fire emoji.

The hardest player to miss, however, was Daniel Royer. How can I describe his style of play? It felt like he was trying to impress someone. It reminded me of watching kids playing junior basketball and hogging the ball because they wanted to impress a family member in the stands. And bless Royer’s heart, he put 110% into the whole match. He was second behind Kljestan for touches and took the most shots. His tenacity paid off, too; he scored the final two goals.

Now comes the hard part because, faithful reader, I have something shameful to admit. All I ask is that you let me keep the sack dress on during my walk of atonement. You see, I was not at the match as a fan, I was there as a professional; and professionals don’t cheer. But, faithful reader, when that Felipe goal went into the net, I may have pumped my arm a little bit.

Could you blame me? It was an important night for Davis, Kljestan, and Felipe. They each scored their first goals of the seasons. Plus —PLUS! — Kljestan assisted with the Davis/Felipe goals, while needing no assist for his. And there was something about that Kljestan goal that opened a flood gate because Felipe made his two minutes after him with Royer’s coming in the 90th and 91st minutes.

In a twenty-minute span the Red Bulls narrowed their goal differential to –1 and doubled San Jose’s to –8. It was like me being in the press box was some sort of good luck charm [wink, wink].

Maybe — probably — you’re wondering why, if the stats are good and a bunch of goals were scored, I’m still not convinced the team is turning things around. Here’s why: because “just keep swimming” is a term coined by an optimistic fish to help a pessimistic fish; it’s not a long-term plan.

Let’s start with this season’s poorly-timed crosses. Despite the high passing accuracy, the team’s ability to connect in the box is still inconsistent. In a majority of the matches this season, crosses are lobbed without looking as their targets are struggling to get into position. A fast rate of play will bring misses, but when this happens RBNY falls into the same counter-press trap they’ve always been weak against. All San Jose had to do was delay Bradley Wright-Phillips and – badda-boom – they have a goal kick to their attacking half and get into a dangerous position.

And let’s not forget the backline. In the post-match presser, Jesse Marsch said there was always a three-man backline, but no one would blame you for thinking differently. At times, they looked like a five-man defense with Connor Lade and homegrown promised child Tyler Adams as wide wing backs. Aaron Long, Damien Perrinelle, and Sal Zizzo, as center backs, were a mixed bag. Zizzo did the incredible by having the most touches of the three, the best passing accuracy, and not conceding any fouls. Whereas Perrinelle, the weakest of the three, had trouble marking players and received a lot of Luis Robles‘ angry shouts.

As luck would have it, Panama was defeated by Costa Rica the same night. Cross your fingers Michael Murillo will be up for playing on Saturday in Minnesota. He’ll get a start and RBNY will have a stronger back four. Unfortunately, they’ll have to wait a little bit longer for Kemar Lawrence, who’ll be playing Mexico on Sunday in the semi-finals of the Gold Cup.

There are some who are starting to get on the hunky-dory bandwagon. I’m not ready to ride that, yet. RBNY just hasn’t been consistent for enough time. When I watch RBNY play something seems off. It may be morale, in which case a game like the one against San Jose is a lift. We’ll just have to keep watching to see if they can bring more consistence to their persistence.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

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To Kill a DETHLOON

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, July 22: 0-3 Win

The New York Red Bulls (10-8-2, 32 points) had a second outing this week, just days after a stunning 5-1 win at home against the San Jose Earthquakes. They faced expansion team Minnesota United (5-12-4, 19 points) for the first time ever. When I first saw the MNUFC crest, with its silhouette of a loon with a red eye, I latched on to the nickname DETHLOON. I love calling them that, and I want them to be just as badass as that nickname. They’ve had a rough go of things, but they’ve started to right the ship… kinda. Injuries and international duty kneecapped the Loons.

HOT IN HERRRE: MNUFC is playing home games at the University of Minnesota.  Because it’s totally acceptable for college gridiron football, the field is artificial turf. Turf doesn’t absorb heat– it bounces the heat right back into the air just above the ground. If you’ve never felt it, let me be the one to tell you: it’s awful.

Sylvana Budesheim - New York Red bulls/mlsfemale
Like this… but green and field-sized

A camera at field level showed the heat rippling up from the ground. Alex Muyl was seen hosing down his cleats early on. Defender Aurelien Collin, listed as questionable prior to the game, was not in the 18 at all, presumably to protect his still-healing hamstring injury. Head referee Hilario Grajeda called for hydration breaks during both halves. Sideline showers, FTW.

THREE STRIKES, THREE POINTS: Attacking midfielder Daniel Royer scored a beautiful goal from outside the box early on (16′). He’s been on fire of late, this being his 8th goal of the season. And he went unmarked, so why not go for it? The second goal, courtesy of striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, had to wait until the 67th minute. But the capper from Alex Muyl in the 90th was a pleasant surprise. In my previous article, I had voiced a touch of displeasure at how Muyl scrambled and seemed inefficient. I’m not saying the team is reading and taking my advice, but…

PLAY UGLY: YOU try to run a solid 90 minutes in heat and humidity and make some pretty soccer!

(MNUFC on left, RBNY on right.)

RBNY’s signature High Press was in full effect. There could have been many more goals on the day.

MNUFC GK Bobby Shuttleworth apparently was able to create a forcefield around the goal during portions of the match. Impressive.

There was also a total of 28 fouls and 3 yellow cards between the two sides, and those were just the offenses that were called! Imagine when Video Assisted Refereeing arrives in a couple of weeks! Yaaaaaay…

CONGRATULATIONS ARE IN ORDER: Welcome back to Panamanian international Michael Amir Murillo following an entertaining run in the Gold Cup. Also a warm welcome to Hassan Ndam on his MLS debut, coming in for defender Sal Zizzo. Captain Sacha Kljestan now has the club record for assists, surpassing legend Thierry Henry. And super sub Gonzalo Verón got some quality minutes for the 2nd game in a row.

Sylvana Budesheim - New York Red Bulls/mlsfemale
Image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

Home again, home again: this time against former teammate Chris Duvall and the Montreal Impact. Keep the momentum going, guys!

Featured image courtesy: Brad Rempel/USA TODAY Sports

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