Tag Archives: New York Red Bulls

That’s Why They Call It The Blues

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

By Kerissa Ward // @kerissaward

Sunday, August 6: 3-2 Loss

Dear Reader,

I need to begin by apologizing.  I apologize for this post being so late.  I apologize for allowing my support of the New York Red Bulls to get in the way of my duty to you.  I should have been eager to write about this match, even though it was a loss.  Truthfully, I would have been, too, if it hadn’t been for who we lost against.

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Don’t worry. This isn’t going to be an angry screed against NYCFC.  Yes, I fervently dislike the blue team, but that’s not what this website is about.  There are plenty of other RBNY sites and podcasts who will be dissing them; so if you’re looking for that, look elsewhere.

Especially since Sunday was a classic “That’s so Metro” kind of match.

For those who don’t know, “That’s so Metro” is the phrase used when the Red Bulls lose a game through their own stupidness.  It started in the early days of the club when they were the MetroStars when Nicola Caricola scored the only goal during the inagural home match.  Too bad it was an own goal.

Thus, was a meme born.

“That’s So Metro”, or TSM for short, is not an excuse.  Supporters don’t use it to defend bad plays or explain why we should have won.  It’s used to describe how RBNY can turn a match or a season into a dumpster fire.  It’s used to remember not to get our hopes up about anything until the final whistle of the final match.  It’s our Chinatown.

chinatown

I should have known something was wrong when I didn’t feel nauseated.

For the last few seasons, whenever there’s been an important match, I begin to feel nauseous a couple of hours beforehand.  Several factors determine the strength of the feeling.  How good is the other club?  Have we played them before this season?  If we did, did we win, lose, or draw?  And, most importantly, how have we been playing?  Depending on the answers, my tummy discomfort could fall anywhere from a little grumbly to a level where anything more than a hot dog could exit my body in the wrong direction.  Usually, the worse I feel the better the club plays.

This past Sunday, I felt nothing.

Maybe I gave myself a false sense of safety.  RBNY had been playing better in the last couple of matches.  Even though their last three wins were against clubs having poor seasons, their form had improved so much that those matches were blow-outs — 5-1, 3-0, and 4-0 respectively.  They were so improved from their June 24th match with NYC that many felt a draw would be a realistic result.

itsatrap

There were three signs this was going to be an oh-so-Metro match.  The first was Daniel Royer’s cries of agony in the 11th minute.  It looked like a true accident, too.  Royer and NYC’s Alexander Ring were chasing the ball, Royer slid to kick the ball away from Ring, Ring’s run became more of a leap where his momentum didn’t keep him going forward, Ring fell backwards, landing on Royer’s knee.  The play was so clean that neither player touched each other until Ring fell on Royer.

I don’t know if anyone at Yankee Stadium could hear his cries, but I could on television.  They were chilling.  They were the kind of cries that could mean the end of his season.  Thank the soccer gods, it doesn’t look like that’s going to happen. 

His leaving early affected the team, though.  Before the injury they had a controlled possession with well-timed crosses and plenty of speed.  After Royer’s injury, they lost momentum and began easily losing possession.  They didn’t shake alive until David Villa scored a goal in the 28th minute.

And this was when the second sign appeared.

what

The goal was bound to happen.  NYCFC had been feeding Villa ball after ball after ball.  He came close a couple of times.  So did another player or two.  I just don’t think anybody expected it to come from such a mundane build up.

It began with NYCFC defender Ethan White throwing in to Ring who crossed it to either Alexander Callens or Ben Sweat.  It’s hard to say since it rolled into the wide gap between them making them run for it like a stray ball.  Sweat then lobs it far, hoping to connect with one of the forwards; instead being intercepted by RBNY defender Damien Perrinelle.  Perrinelle then attempts to pass it up to Sacha Kljestan, but an NYCFC midfielder blocks it and — get this — uses his knee to send the ball towards David Villa who only has to run and catch it before Robles, which he does. 

Reader, please believe me when I say that I have watched and re-watched this goal, and I discovered something disturbing: VILLA WAS UNMARKED THE WHOLE TIME!  How?  How was that allowed to happen?  I know they had three forwards, but so did we.  Bradley Wright-Phillips was marked by two defenders whenever the ball came close to him.  Why were we not doing the same?

According to coach Jesse Marsch in the post-match press conference, Aaron Long was assigned to mark Villa throughout the match.  Long had his back to Villa and was ten feet away before the first goal.  For the second goal, he kept pace and was then beaten.  In the build up to the penalty, he was marking Sean Okoli.

interlude

So remember a few seconds ago when I mentioned how Bradley Wright-Phillips always had two or three defenders marking him?  Well, lucky for us he’s so dang good because he was able to make a couple of goals.

The first was really sweet.  First, Felipe took possession from the blue team, passed it to Kljestan, who crossed to Sean Davis, who tapped it over to Wright-Phillips.  BWP then dribbled the ball a few over to just the outside of the 18-yard box, while two blue defenders positioned themselves between him and the goal.

Talk about magic, though.  Wright-Phillips planted his right foot and shot the ball with his left.  Ethan White was literally in front of him and the ball, but he stretched too far to stop it.  The ball went through his legs and towards the goal.  The City goalkeeper, Sean Johnson, then dove to his left to stop the ball, but he also stretched too far.  The ball passed through the triangular hole Johnson’s body made as it flew to the ground.  It was the most masterful goal I’ve seen from Wright-Phillips.

Let’s jump forward now, past the second goals, to the third and final goal. 

There’s still heated debate about what led to Villa’s penalty kick.  Was it a jinx brought on by some RBNY supporters chanting “this is our house” as some talked about the next day?  Probably not.  Was it a malicious kick to the face from Sal Zizzo?  No, Villa was hit by the ball not Zizzo’s foot. 

This is what it was: another accident born of bad timing and one bad decision.

Villa and Zizzo were converging on the same point — the same point being the ball.  They met it at the same time just outside the 18-yard box.  They keep pace with each other for one stride, but the ball is on course to meet Villa.  By then they’re in the box.  Were Zizzo to knock or tackle Villa he would be called for a denial of a goal scoring opportunity, with Villa getting a penalty.  So he went to kick the ball out.

Unfortunately, the ball was neck-high by then.  Villa lowered his torso so the top of his head could meet it first.  Zizzo raised his foot and tapped the ball just as it bumps off Villa’s head sending it into his face.  If it wasn’t for the ball, Zizzo’s cleat would have hit Villa’s face.

A fair-minded individual would recognize that the whole moment was an accident, but even accidents have consequences.  If Zizzo had left the ball alone, Perrinelle would have been able to mark Villa and even block the ball.  Instead he made a decision which could have injured someone.  No one should have qualms with Villa being awarded the penalty.

sadsnoopy

Everyone knew the match was over once the penalty was made.  Marsch had waited too long to sub in Gonzalo Veron and Michael Murillo.  The team was too deflated to even out the score.  They had become so Metro.

But that’s not why they lost.  The team played well and with promise.  Kljestan’s form as a number ten is returning; he moved the ball with precision and assisted on both New York goals.  Wright-Phillips is becoming a laser-focused striker, putting himself where he needs to be and timing his goals in astonishing ways.  The only area that needs improvement is the shaky backline.  Hopefully, more time together will lead to better decisions and improved marking. 

Featured image courtesy: New York Red Bulls Instagram

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @kerissaward

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Derby Fatigue: A Morality Play

C.M. Brandon - NYCFC/mlsfemale
Official New York City FC Reporter

By C.M. Brandon // @lukacharms

Sunday, August 6: 3-2 Win

New York City FC walked into yet another meeting with their bitter cross-state-lines rivals this weekend. Though it was only the fourth time they’d confronted the New York Red Bulls this year alone, it felt like the fortieth. Before the whistle blew, everyone formed a circle on the hallowed ground of Yankee Stadium and held their hands, alternating blue and red, blue and red, blue and red. They solemnly vowed to not meet again until next season because enough is enough, and then the whistle blew.

The boys in blue enjoyed a rousing game of aggressive football. Though Bradley Wright-Phillips did his best to one-up David Villa goal for goal, he was no match. Their nemeses exited Yankee Stadium with defeat bitter on their tongues as NYCFC celebrated their comeback win.

“It’s possible you are a robot whose sole purpose in life is to play football,” a reporter told Villa after the game before his thought petered out into a nervous laugh. “But that’s crazy, right?”

With no life behind his eyes and the chants of the crowd still ringing in his ears, Villa smiled. “Yes. So crazy.”

He resisted the urge to say he was human, because that’s exactly what a robot would say.

All looked to be peaceful at last in the land of New York… Until Don Garber rode in on his highest of horses and slammed his ruby-and-sapphire-encrusted staff into the ground.

“No!” he bellowed to the heavens, shaking the cherubs (who, strangely enough, all looked like Yangel Herrera before he grew his baby beard) from their slumber. “No, I demand more rivalry weeks! I demand revenue! I demand MLS be taken seriously, but mostly I demand revenue! You shall meet again! YOU SHALL ALL MEET AGAIN.”

He disappeared in a cloud of smoke. The horse remained.

“I don’t particularly want to be doing this again,” Jack Harrison said in his piping voice, like a lovely caged songbird who will inevitably be released soon for a lot of money.

Patrick Vieira lifted his gaze to the skies, searching for any sign of their overlord only to find none. “We must,” he sighed Frenchly. “The Don commands it.”

“It won’t be so bad.” David Villa threw everyone a roguish grin. “You have me, so.”

Yes, he was indeed the hero of the night. Not one goal, not two goals, but three goals found their way from his anointed foot to the back of the net. His first hattrick! Surely there would be much jubilation tonight. Heavy is the head that wears the crown, but you’d never know it by looking at their captain, indefatigable and effervescent as ever.

“Somebody should probably take care of that horse,” Alex Ring pointed out, because he’s perfect and the only one with his priorities straight.

“I want to ride it.”

“Maxi, that’s dangerous.”

“Let me ride the horse.”

“No, Maxi. He’ll stomp you. You’re a quarter of his height!”

With no warning, the horse let out a mighty whinny and shook its glorious star-spangled mane. From its tresses fell– a check for extra allocation money to sign a new right-back?

No. No such luck. It was merely a note straight from The MLS Mechanism Room. With the collected calm of a man no longer burdened by his own flowing locks, Tommy McNamara picked it up from the ground and read it aloud to the group:

THE NEXT TIME YOU MEET WILL BE IN LESS THAN THREE WEEKS. THE HUDSON RIVER DERBIES WILL CONTINUE UNTIL MORALE IMPROVES. NO GODS, NO MASTERS. IN NEW YORSEY WE DIE LIKE MEN.

C.M. Brandon - New York City FC/mlsfemale
Image courtesy: Daily Mail

Andrea Pirlo awoke from his nap just in time to hear the news. “Very ominous,” he deadpanned. Nobody knew if he was being sarcastic or not. Nobody dared to ask.

For as much as they may have wanted to rally against the forces of the universe, they knew deep into their hearts that it would be futile. No man can supersede The Don. Many among their own ranks had tried, and where were they now? Gothenburg. Salt Lake City. Orlando. Retired, which everyone knows is a code word for something much more sinister.

No, to stay alive in New York City, one must play the hand they’re dealt. And if that means every other match being a Hudson River Derby to appease the whims of a fickle federation, then so be it. They had to accept their fate, prepare for their trip to the west coast and begin to brainstorm a way to defend their derby title, short-lived as it may be.

Still, nothing could take the night’s victory from them. As they headed out into the dusky evening, nineteen men and one mysterious horse, they did so with one immutable truth burning at the forefront of their minds:

New York is blue.

Featured image courtesy: @NYCFC

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @lukacharms

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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

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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

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @kerissaward

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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

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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Do You Believe in Magic?

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Thursday, July 13: 0-1 Win (US Open Cup Quarterfinals)

In my last article, I mentioned how hard it has been for the New York Red Bulls to defeat the New England Revolution in league play. But they did it. And now, just over a week later, RBNY had to make the trip up I-95 to do it again.

I’M SPOILED: I was in the press box for the last round Open Cup match vs Philadelphia Union, as well as the round before vs NYCFC. So it’s a big change watching the live stream on my tablet at home. It’s much smaller. And I had to make my own dinner. It’s… just not the same.

I can’t say it looked much better up at Jordan Field at Harvard University. Turf field, metal bleachers, threat of torrential downpour. Still, about 75 Red Bull supporters joined the team to cheer them on. It was a familiar sound coming through my tablet when the supporters sang and cheered through the whole match.

CHANGE WILL DO YOU GOOD: with mainstay defenders Aurelien Collin and Damien Perrinelle entirely of the lineup, manager Jesse Marsch made important changes to the starting XI. Connor Lade was given his chance at Center Back, a spot usually reserved for…uh… well: a *taller* player. But he did an amazing job in the back line alongside Aaron Long, Sal Zizzo, and Tyler Adams, who had the freedom to overlap with Sean Davis on the attack.

A SLOW START: Despite being scoreless in the first half, RBNY held on to the ball well. They went on to claim 56% overall possession and over 400 passes. But I was sure this was going to extra time until: 

Bradley Wright-Phillips has been called “The Ultimate Scoring Machine,” a clever send up of the BMW slogan. Can’t argue that!

BREAK RED: Revs defender Benjamin Angoua was shown a Red card in the 75th minute following a challenge on Bradley Wright-Phillips. The challenge itself didn’t seem particularly vicious, and the usual argument with referee Jorge Gonzalez appeared uneventful. But there was Gonzalez, pointing to the sideline, and captain Lee Nguyen trying to calm an incensed Angoua and escort him off the field. I still don’t know exactly what he did or said to merit the red card, but I’m terribly nosy and will keep looking into it.

BONES TO PICK: I’m not one to complain, but this is my article, dang it. And I know I’m saying these things out of love…

WYD Alex Muyl? Stop scrambling and stay on the ball!

And Gonzalo Verón STILL isn’t getting more minutes? I know strategy is above my pay grade, but

Snl GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

Hopefully RBNY will be closer to full strength when league play resumes, although Kemar Lawrence and Michael Amir Murillo could still be on international duty. Either way, the boys in red and white should bring the confidence from this win back home to Red Bull Arena. A sprinkling of the magic, if you will.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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Last Minute Redemption

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

Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Wednesday, July 5th: 3-2 Win

I’ll let you in on a little secret: I wouldn’t be the reporter I am without my social media presence. Still being relatively new to soccer, I get a lot of context about MLS from the rumblings on Twitter. For example, I learned that the New York Red Bulls (8-8-2, 26 points) don’t usually win on the 4th of July. And that RBNY hasn’t won at Gillette Stadium since 2014. So there was some trepidation on my part going into the game against the New England Revolution (5-9-5, 20 points).

GET WELL SOON: It feels as if the team just got back defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Mike Grella from injury, and now both are out with injury, with Grella out for the season.

 

PLAY YOUR KIDS: With Grella and Collin out, and defenders Kemar Lawrence and Michael Amir Murillo away on National Team duty (Jamaica and Panama, respectively), RBNY looked to their USL squad to fill out their roster. This resulted in 7 homegrown players available for New York (4 in the starting lineup: Sean Davis, Connor Lade, Aaron Long, and Alex Muyl). RBNY has a solid developmental academy, and the proof is in the lineup. Congratulations to Dan Metzger on his MLS debut.

STAY THE COURSE: What does it benefit RBNY to play against their system just because they’re on the road? The Red Bulls have lacked consistency so far this season, so if that means the team commits to the high press on the road, then that’s how it goes.

BOY THAT ESCALATED QUICKLY: There were three goals in the span of 8 minutes (Teal Bunbury 21′, Bradley Wright-Phillips 23′, Lee Nguyen 27′). Up until the scoring began, the play was so choppy that it was a wonder the ball got anywhere near the net! Going into halftime, the play from the Red Bulls was rooted more in frustration than strategy.

The team ended with 23 fouls and a surprising 4 yellow cards. I have said in the past that if RBNY wants to pull a little of that “Bad News Bears” attitude, I really don’t mind. I’ve met enough of the players to know they’re plenty nice and can go ahead and be a little naughty on the field. The Revolution went hard as well, with 20 fouls of their own, including a foul in the box on Davis that took Daniel Royer to the spot to level the score in the 55th minute.

BIEN TRABAJO: For someone who is 100% Hispanic, my Spanish is not great. But forward Gonzalo Veron is Argentinian, and I’d like to make an effort for him. Veron came onto the field in the 83rd minute to replace BWP and got straight to work. He was everywhere: defense, offense, up and down the field. And then the gorgeous finish on a pass from Felipe in the 90th minute completed the turnaround started by Royer’s converted penalty kick.

Oye, Gonzalo: Me gusto verte trabajar.

 

WHAT’S NEXT?: The transfer window is about to open, and coach Jesse Marsch has already hinted at some changes coming down the pike. I don’t really get excited about this aspect of soccer, because it’s business. I’ve already seen some players come and go, and have to admit that the occasional mercenary can be just as useful as a stalwart mainstay. I’ll take the changes as they come.

The Gold Cup begins Friday, and I’m looking forward to some solid CONCACAF competition. Best of luck to the USMNT and all the MLS players who received call-ups.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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Keeping an Open [Cup] Mind

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

Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Wednesday, June 28

Open Cup Round of 16: 0-0 draw; 5-3 win in PK shootout

Having been eliminated from the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup competition the past two years—both times by the Philadelphia Union—the New York Red Bulls were looking for vindication. Their form slumping of late, still smarting from the loss against NYCFC, it was up to the boys in red and white to make the third time the charm.

OH BEHAVE

Last year, when Philly was in the process of knocking the Red Bulls out of the Open Cup, Jesse Marsch… didn’t take it well.

As a result, he was suspended for the first game of this year’s competition (a 1-0 victory over NYCFC). This time around, Marsch was more even keeled during the match. However, his patience was wearing thin by Extra Time (well… wasn’t everyone’s?).

STILL NOT A RIVALRY

I said this in my last article about the Union. I don’t care if Philly fans want a rivalry. I don’t care if New York vs Philly is a thing in gridiron football. And baseball. And hockey. The Union is just an opponent that the fans enjoy seeing the boys defeat. That doesn’t make it a rivalry. Don’t ask me again.

SIX AT THE BACK?

You know how they say the best defense is a good offense? Well, Marsch decided to reverse that one. I’m going to bust out terms that I haven’t used for a long time: RBNY played 3 fullbacks and 3 halfbacks. Kemar Lawrence played in front of Damien Perrinelle, doing the kind of work up the channel that Michael Amir Murillo has been doing more recently. When pressed to describe the formation at the press conference following the match, Marsch laughed and replied, “We don’t need to call it anything.” Despite losing central defender Aurelien Collin to an apparent hamstring injury, the substitution of Connor Lade (23’) helped to bolster both the defense and the attack. As Marsch said, “It gets the best out of a lot of different guys.”

NOT GIVING UP MY SHOT

RBNY still have their work cut out for them on the attack. Bradley Wright Phillips was outpaced multiple times while trying to make a run to goal, and nearly every corner captain Sacha Kljestan made went to the head of a Union player instead of a Red Bull. The only saving grace is that the same was true on the other side of the field. Lawrence took advantage of his higher position to try a couple of shots, including a diving header that was an inch too short (26’). RBNY went for a total of 17 shots, the kind of attack that is encouraging going forward.

Let me take a moment to say: I have heard the lamentations of many a fan telling Kljestan to Shoot. The. Dang. Ball. He must’ve done this all season to lull the opposition into a false sense of security, because he was completely unmarked and was able to poke the ball right past McCarthy (42’), his first goal this season. While RBNY was unable to hold the lead (Roland Alberg, 86’), they at least held on through Extra Time to force a penalty shootout.

COOL UNDER PRESSURE

Goalkeeper Ryan Meara was primed to be the lead GK when Luis Robles took the position. He has since made appearances with RBNYII, part of the squad that won the USL trophy in 2016. One might think he would have a wandering eye to other clubs, but his value is clear in RBNY. He made a whopping 7 saves, and managed the hefty defensive line like a starting GK. When it came to the shootout, Marsch assured the team that Meara could handle the pressure: “We knew we had a good goalkeeper.” The cheers when all 5 RBNY penalty shots went in were nothing compared to the eruption of the crowd when Meara saved the shot from Picault.

Sylvana Budesheim - New York Red Bulls/mlsfemale

Now it’s a well-deserved weekend off before heading to Jordan Field at Harvard University to face the New England Revolution in the Open Cup Quarterfinals, but not before a return to MLS play… against the New England Revolution at Gillette Stadium.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

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Feeling a Little Blue

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, June 24th: 0-2 Loss

When NYCFC (9-5-3, 30 points) began their run in MLS, I was intrigued but not concerned. It was easy for me to wish them well in any game that wasn’t against the New York Red Bulls (7-8-2, 23 points). I had only recently come back to soccer myself, so it wasn’t strange to see a new team and new fans feeling their way around MLS. That season, RBNY went 3 for 3 in what was being dubbed the “the clash of the crosstown rivals.” HOLD THE PHONE.

Rivals? This is a rivalry? The Red Bulls have had a long-standing rivalry with DC United, dating back to the beginning of MLS when the New York/New Jersey Metrostars had to make the trek down I-95 to RFK Stadium. Rivalries are about history, not necessarily proximity. In the three seasons and now 8 games since (in league play), both sides have done a good job of making this a chippy and rousing battle.

CIVILITY IN THE PARK

After seeing the standard—and sometimes harsh—banter between “red” and “blue” fans on social media, I was slightly concerned about what would ensue on the day. What I found was the usual pre-game atmosphere– red and blue jerseys everywhere, games on the BULLevard, and conversation in the beirgarten. NYCFC was given a special tailgating area separate from the parking lots where Red Bull fans congregate. Then it was time to let the game itself do the talking.

LOVE FIGHT PASSION GLORY

At the start of the game, the Red Bulls honored longtime fan Wendy Herm, who lost her battle with a brain tumor. At the team walkout, the starting XI wore tribute t-shirts and armbands, and a moment of silence was observed.

Following the national anthem, the South Ward raised a pride-inspired tifo. The official pride event for RBNY is scheduled for August- but there’s nothing wrong with showing pride any time!

Defensive midfielder Tyler Adams officially graduated HS the same day as the game, but chose the kit & boots over the cap & gown. He played 82 minutes, with one shot on goal. He, like striker Bradley Wright-Phillips, was too easily contained by NYCFC.

A WELL-MATCHED MATCH

Both teams opted for a 4-2-3-1 formation, both teams utilized all their subs, and both teams hit double-digit fouls (including 3 yellow cards each: Murillo 11’, Muyl 77’; Lawrence 90+5’; Chanot 20’, McNamara 28’, Ring 84’) RBNY midfielder Felipe, known for suffering a lot of fouls, was cautioned early on for drawing fouls.

NEVER GET TIRED OF CALLING HIM IRONMAN

Goalkeeper Luis Robles, during his 157th straight appearance, put up 4 saves but was not able to keep a clean sheet. His save in the 54th minute that has been nominated for MLS Save of the Week, his third nomination of the season.

CREDIT WHERE IT’S DUE

It’s one thing to get scored on by the opponent at home, but it’s a special kind of disappointment to be scored on by the team RBNY has been able to outscore 18-5 over the course of the “rivalry”. But, as coach Jesse Marsch said in the press conference following the game, “you have to give them credit”. The NYC goals (Harrison, 33’; Sweat 65’) were solid, the result of strong possession and attack. The fans, while more a fan of the f-word than this soccer mom would like, had a good showing and were heard chanting “we can’t hear you” following the first goal.

WANING MINUTES, RISING FRUSTRATION

The yellow card for Alex Muyl (77’) for diving was met with bottles and cans being thrown onto the field from the South Ward. I’ve never seen that before, and with the immediate ejections of the perpetrators, I’m confident it will not happen again. The pace of the game grew frantic by RBNY in an effort to save the game, and the substitutions (Gonzalo Veron, Sal Zizzo, and Connor Lade) didn’t calm the team. When the final whistle blew, NYCFC had made New York **slightly** more blue. They’ll only have to do this five more times to really level the rivalry.

Featured image courtesy: New York Red Bulls facebook

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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

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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