Tag Archives: Michael Amir Murillo

New York Red Bulls Shake It Off

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @SylvanaSoccer

Saturday, April 14th: 3-1 Win

Since the Northeast has decided to skip spring entirely, I left Red Bull Arena Tuesday night in a hat and coat and returned Saturday in a dress and cardigan. The New York Red Bulls (3-2-0, 11 points), coming off a CONCACAF heartbreak, faced the Montreal Impact (2-4-0, 6 points) with a lot to prove.

Can they put their past behind them? Will Alejandro Romero Gamarra (aka Kaku) show that he has integrated into the team? Can Bradley Wright-Phillips add to his season tally while Daniel Royer still hopes to open his account?

PLAYERS GONNA PLAY: There was no shortage of exciting soccer to be found. Wright-Phillips found the net in the 5th minute with the help of Florian Valot. After the game, both players remarked how easy it is to play with the other, a testament to the system that brought them together.

Kaku’s goal in the 57th minute was gorgeous, and I don’t think the arena could have been any louder than in that moment. The final goal, from two defenders (Kemar Lawrence to Michael Amir Murillo, 76′) sealed the deal for RBNY.

HATERS GONNA HATE: I don’t usually talk about this, because I don’t think it’s my place. I don’t think it’s anyone’s place, really. But it’s being talked about, so maybe the time has come…
Look– we’re all busy people. We have places to go, people to see. Obligations to family and friends. A lot of things in life, you don’t have time, but you make time. Maybe more people could stand to make time for RBNY. A game is 2 hours, plus travel to and from (and I’m aware the travel is the sticking point for a lot of folks). There are a lot of people who go to every game. If every one of them brought someone with them to the next game, well… it would be nice.

You know, we’re trying to do everything we can. I think this team, it’s interesting, because we do, we perform at a high level, especially here at home. You know, and it’s a fun team to watch. –Coach Jesse Marsch, when asked about the attendance.

This is my sole argument: a Red Bull game (most any MLS game, for that matter) is a good time. Nothing beats being there. If no one has ever invited you to a game, let me be that one. My father, who loves soccer and has been largely unimpressed with MLS until now, is much more likely to come to a game since I took him once. I ask everyone who reads this to do the same. There’s a 3:30pm kickoff next Saturday– a perfect opportunity.

HEARTBREAKERS GONNA BREAK: Oh, Danny Royer. Five shots, three of them on frame. Off the woodwork. Just wide.

I’m sure no one is more frustrated than Royer himself. But he’ll get there. And once the floodgates open, there will be no stopping him.

CAN’T STOP, WON’T STOP: Today’s match was the first part of a doubleheader, where USL side Red Bulls II faced the Tampa Bay Rowdies. While I did not stay for the game, I would like to report that RBNYII won 5-0.

Also, today’s Red Bulls match was sponsored by Covanta, the official energy partner of RBNY. Covanta uses incinerated municipal waste to create steam for electricity, and has a facility in Newark, just across the river from Harrison. Garbage from Red Bull Arena will be transported to the Newark facility, and the entire arena will be powered by Covanta’s electricity. It’s gonna be alright.

(Do I love this song? Not really. But I couldn’t help it. Besides, I have to start using songs that are younger than the players…)

Featured image courtesy: Sylvana Budesheim

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Hydration Breaks & the End of the Dry Spell

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Sunday, June 18: 2-0 Win

Happy Father’s Day, everybody. After spending my midday watching one of my favorite players of all time (my 9-year-old) in his last game of the season, I made it home just in time to watch the New York Red Bulls (7-7-2, 23 points) take on the Philadelphia Union (4-7-4, 16 points). Let me state for the record: I do NOT believe this matchup qualifies as a rivalry. If anything, RBNY fans seem indifferent towards Philly. That’s understandably odd, since the NY/Philly rivalry is common across other sports. But between DC United and NYCFC, there’s just no room for more animosity.

Panamanian International Michael Amir Murillo is back, as well as Jamaican International Kemar Lawrence, who was under the weather and didn’t make the Starting XI. With the heat and humidity, MLS allowed for hydration breaks during the match.

A key for RBNY was to contain attacking midfielder Chris Pontius, who has scored more goals against the Red Bulls than any individual opponent. They also had to look out for CJ Sapong, who scored a hat trick in the last meeting of these sides. A major obstacle for the team is that while the Red Bulls go 1v1, the Union seem able to double- or triple-team attackers. Red Bulls have no choice but to play the ball into traffic, which prevents them from finishing their attack. All too often, striker Bradley Wright-Phillips ends up behind the defenders as teammates Alex Muyl and Felipe cross the ball towards him. Additionally, RBNY had made great progress in years past on their set pieces, but it just doesn’t yield any results this season. There is an implication that some variety is in order: Captain Sacha Kljestan steps up for most free kicks and corners.

As Murillo gets an increasing number of starts, he is clearly showing the talent that makes him a Panamanian international. Without Kemar on the left, the ball is played up the right channel, and Murillo owns that entire space.

In the 22nd minute, Pontius proved once again how dangerous he can be; however, RBNY goalkeeper Luis Robles got a hand on a ball in his 156th consecutive appearance (a previous report by yours truly implied his streak was over when he did not appear in the Open Cup match vs NYCFC—his record is only for regular league matches). A call of offside on the subsequent corner kick caused a Union goal to be called back.

Kemar Lawrence comes in at the start of the 2nd half for Aaron Long, who rolled his ankle and could not continue. Knowing he was unwell, this development was disconcerting, but Lawrence quickly showed that he was feeling fine. Then the advantage increased: Union midfielder Derrick Jones received a straight red in the 53rd minute for a dangerous foul on Felipe, who is the most fouled player in the league. Unfortunately, RBNY could make no progress for more than 30 minutes of play against a team of 10.

Argentinian midfielder Gonzalo Veron was subbed in for Daniel Royer (84′). He doesn’t get many minutes, and it’s not clear why. Especially when he clearly changes the game. He created a chance almost immediately after coming on, but nothing came of it until the 87th minute, when BWP *finally* got in front of defenders and scored, ending a 524-minute goalless streak on the road). Then came an almost carbon-copy goal from BWP in the 92nd minute. Veron was a factor in both goals. Sounds like he’s a real game-changer…

In more pressing matters, the next installment of the Hudson River Derby will be played against NYCFC at Red Bull Arena this coming Saturday. As for the Union, they come back to RBA on June 28th for the Round of 16 in the Lamar Hunt Open Cup. I’d like to see more of what I’ve been seeing.

Featured image courtesy: New York Red Bulls facebook

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Slumping into the Break

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

Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, June 3rd: 1-0 Loss

MLS. It’s not the league of the road warrior. It’s ridiculously difficult to go into an opponent’s stadium and do well. Going into Stade Saputo, the New York Red Bulls (6-7-2, 20 points) had not won an away game since Opening Weekend (vs expansion team Atlanta United) and haven’t scored away since April 1st (in a 4-1 loss against Houston Dynamo).

The form that sent them to the playoffs, that won them the Supporter’s Shield twice in 3 years, and that fans saw coming back in their two most recent wins at home, is slipping away again. Facing the Montreal Impact (4-4-4, 16 points) didn’t make matters easier. This was the team that ousted RBNY from the playoffs last year, Red Bulls Midfielder Felipe’s former team, and the club that had traded to acquire Chris Duvall from RBNY.

During most of the game, the ball stayed on the right side of the field while the Red Bulls had possession. The problem with that is it kept Kemar Lawrence and Mike Grella out of the mix for most of the match. However, a lot of the responsibility fell to Michael Amir Murillo at RB, and he handled the job well. Considering the perceived instability of the back line, defenders Murillo, Lawrence, Aaron Long, and Damien Perrinelle held up quite well throughout the match. Even when Montreal midfielder Blerim Dzemaili made a goal in the 30th minute, it was not because the back line was sleeping on the throw in. Fortunately, the deflection off Dominic Oduro caused the goal to be called back for an offside play.

Following the match, Captain Sacha Kljestan admitted that the team cannot rely on striker Bradly Wright-Phillips to score all the goals; he and the other attackers have to pull their own weight. He should have pointed that out before the match: Grella attempted some fancy footwork in the 42nd minute, as if he was going to dribble the ball right past Impact GK Evan Bush. Then in the 50th minute, Kljestan himself either whiffed the ball or went for the assist: either way, the ball went wide and was another wasted opportunity. Even Felipe, who drew several fouls and took a few free kicks, couldn’t land the ball in the net.

And then, just what the Red Bulls feared came to fruition: in the 67th minute, the Impact earned a free kick and re-started faster than the Red Bulls thought they would. This allowed Dzemaili to poke the ball straight through to the back of the net. They were caught slow, lost, and behind the run of play.

Coach Jesse Marsch called in the reinforcements (Fred Gulbrandsen in for Sean Davis and Gonzalo Veron for Grella in the 75th minute) and the attack was back on. Had the game been maybe ten minutes longer, RBNY might have had a chance to level it. But then in stoppage time Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier slid off the field and fell into the Montreal bench (they have dugout-style benches very close to the touchline—I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often). While Bernier got up and walked out on his own, the incident killed the run of play and referee Mark Geiger did not add additional time to the three minutes already in place.

The International Break is coming up, and prior USMNT call-ups Luis Robles and Sacha Kljestan are staying home (Murillo has been called for Panama, and Lawrence is expected to be called for Jamaica). This is the time they need to rest and refocus. RBNY is hovering at the red line that dictates who makes the playoffs: while they’ve been there before, it’s not where they belong. They have what it takes to climb the standings. They just need to find it in themselves again.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

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