By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench
Where has the time gone?
At first, I just thought to myself, “Self, let’s just take a few minutes to breathe. You’ll get those recaps on the games against the Colorado Rapids and Atlanta United in a day or two.”
It was Mother’s Day weekend, the New York Red Bulls were on the road, and I was watching the games as a fan, the first with the darling gents of the Seeing Red podcast at a sports bar, the other from the comfort of my bed. Both games were wins (1-2 and 1-3, respectively).
And… well… I got complacent. I tossed aside the analysis and the critiques. Because hey! They won! This is what they’re supposed to do. And they’re just gonna keep on doing it! No big deal.
But then the road got a little bumpy. A loss in Foxborough. Then a resounding win against NYCFC (again). A draw in Columbus. A scrappy win against Seattle (I missed that game entirely– thanks, life!). And then a devastating fall in the Open Cup to… the Philadelphia Union. The same team that was able to keep RBNY down in league play really got their number in the single elimination tournament.
While the Red Bulls were called the favorites of the tournament after making it to the finals last year, the heavy roster rotation and intensified schedule got the better of the team. Five games in eleven days is just not the norm. The team seemed frazzled, disjointed. Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra was back, as were Tim Parker and Tyler Adams. But it was like they were all carrying an albatross through the first half. They buckled under the weight. The Union were not so encumbered by expectation. The result, in hindsight, was inevitable.
There are two awards left to claim: the Supporter’s Shield, which RBNY have claimed twice before, and the MLS Cup, which has eluded the Red Bulls even since they were the New York/ New Jersey MetroStars. But is their confidence shaken? Have tempers flared? Has the team philosophy taken a hit?
Oh, and did I mention the rumors? With the semi-surprising departure of NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira for OGC Nice in France, the rumblings that Jesse Marsch will be called to RB Leipzig in Germany have grown to a dull roar. Or is it Tyler Adams, who impressed in Ireland and France during the International Friendlies, who needs to brush up on his German? Either (or both) is fine with me. It’s a credit to the organization.
This week has seen a much-needed break for the team as the World Cup began in Russia. It is a source of pride to see Fidel Escobar and Michael Amir Murillo represent Panama. But MLS shall march on. This Saturday is back at home against FC Dallas. I heard there will be fireworks. And empanadas. Frankly, I’m stoked. Back to business, everyone!
Featured image: @NewYorkRedBulls
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