Tag Archives: Michael Amir Murillo

The Red Bulls Have Me Going Round and Round

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Wednesday, July 3rd: 4-0 loss
Sunday, July 7th: 3-3 draw
Sunday, July 13th: 2-1 win

Summertime, and the living is clearly not easy. I’m bogged down with vacation planning, summer reading assignments, extra classes, and upcoming side hustles. And it’s far from smooth sailing for the New York Red Bulls, as well. While getting themselves back to full lineup strength, they have had to deal with midweek games and disciplinary suspensions. In moments, it’s been downright disappointing.

Overall, however, the team is hitting a decent stride. An international roster spot has been opened with Frenchie midfielder Florian Valot getting his green card. The secondary transfer window is now open, and there may be a new signing in their future. (Or not. I’m not in the business of football business.)

You Would End Up Winning

I didn’t like that Michael Amir Murillo was in the starting XI for the midweek clash against the Houston Dynamo. The Panamanian team had just been eliminated from the Gold Cup. He was still in ‘international tournament’ mode. It’s more physical, and the two yellow cards Murillo earned (44′, 83′) proved that. Wasn’t worth it.  Houston midfielder Alberth Elis had his way with RBNY, earning an assist and a pair of goals. I’m not one for superstition, but I understand the Red Bulls generally don’t do well in the match nearest Independence Day.  It was also a cross-conference match, which softens the blow. Besides, there were bigger obstacles ahead.

We’ll Put You On Your Shelf

Weird how rivalries happen. DC United, one of the original MLS teams along with the Metrostars, is also the original RBNY rival. NYCFC, the regional opponent of the Red Bulls, has made for a sort of rivalry… more on them later. But Atlanta United… man. That rivalry is organic. Atlanta hosted RBNY in their first ever MLS match: they lost. They cannot defeat the Red Bulls in the regular season. And they have yet to score a goal at Red Bull Arena. It’s enough to get under the fuzzy skin of the King Peaches. With another physical bout, Atlanta thought they had FINALLY broken their apparent curse the Sunday after Independence Day. Looks like they had forgotten to factor in Bradley Wright-Phillips. His 93rd minute leveler saved a point for the boys in Red to bring back to New York with them. Not a moment too soon.

We’ve Had Enough

Last season, there were four Hudson River Derby days. It was mentally exhausting, and rather pointless. Sure, NYCFC got themselves a W, but that’s not really enough to elevate the rivalry. Besides, some serious fan issues have overshadowed the boys from the Bronx. There are a good number of stories on that, I have no need to address it. My business is only what’s on the field.

Being on vacation at the time, I was actually reluctant to watch the game. Thanks to notifications on my phone, I felt justified when I saw NYC forward Heber struck first.  But ninety-plus minutes is a long time. Daniel Royer not only leveled the game at the end of the first half with a penalty kick, but also provided the go-ahead goal later on to capture the win for the Metro. It was not without controversy; apparently the assistant referee indicated the ball went out for a corner but the center ref overruled him. Midfielder Alex Muyl thew in the ball quickly, standard procedure for the Red Bulls, and Marc Rzatkowski crossed the ball to Royer’s head. Once again, NY is Red.

There is a lot more soccer this summer. I’m looking forward to it. With love, we’ll find a way; just give it time.

Featured image:  @NewYorkRedBulls

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New York Red Bulls Show Their True Colors

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, June 1st: 4-0 Win

Welcome to June! I hear it likes to bust out all over… but I decided against Broadway musical themes this season, so I’ll just leave that there. The New York Red Bulls hosted Real Salt Lake in a cross-conference match at home in Harrison.

In a world full of people…

From the moment I arrived, there was a celebratory vibe outside the Stadium. There were Cirque du Soleil performers and traditional Portuguese dancers. I walked past a freestyle exhibition and games for kids. Music was playing, and fans were chatting. This is nothing new. But it felt…different. There were more kids than usual, probably indicative of the school year coming to an end. The fans were excited… because they hadn’t seen the team play in a week? Because former RBNY coach Mike Petke was returning to his old stomping grounds? Because fireworks were expected after the match?

Because fireworks of a different sort were expected during the match?

Don’t be discouraged…

The first half was rather sloppy on both sides of the ball. RBNY had twice as many shots on goal as RSL, but nothing found the back of the net. Red Bulls also had majority of possession, but it didn’t mean much of anything. And while I’ve touched a little bit on what the High Press style means, I may not have pointed out that it actually does not rely on possession. However, I know that in the last few games, the scales have tipped to New York in terms of possession. Maybe I just don’t know what things mean anymore…

Don’t be afraid to let them show…

Just when it may have seemed that nothing was going to happen… a lot of stuff happened. It all started with the forced own goal, courtesy of Michael Amir Murillo, in the 58th minute. Then, before the red smoke cleared, Daniel Royer caught a pass from Alejandro “Kakú” Romero Gamarra and scored the second goal just about one minute later. Not content to have only kinda caused a goal, Murillo came back for more. He scored the third goal in the 64th minute.

And that’s why I love you…

That really could have been the game, just at the 64th minute. Three goals in seven minutes would pretty much do it. Soon after the flurry of goals, defender Amro Tarek had to come off with an injury, with Sean Nealis replacing him. Royer and Alex Muyl made way for Omir Fernandez and Andreas Ivan. In the 83rd minute, Ivan crossed the ball to Fernandez, who buried the ball in the net for one last goal. So yeah– that could have been the game, nearly twenty minutes earlier. But that’s not how RBNY played it. They just kept going. And that is what fans want from their team.

RBNY travel to Talen Energy Stadium next week to face the Philadelphia Union.

(P.S. The kids out there will more likely know the Justin Timberlake/Anna Kendrick rendition for the movie “Trolls.” But this original is the one associated with the Pride movement being celebrated around the league in the month of June.)

Featured image:  Sylvana Budesheim

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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

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @WhiteZinWench

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