Tag Archives: Sacha Kljestan

New York Red Bulls and a Pocket Full of Kryptonite

Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, March 23: 0-1 loss

So there I was, at Red Bull Arena probably way too early for my own good. It was cold, as late March usually is. There was a promise of empanadas at some point in the evening, and a very confident New York Red Bulls team was going to face Orlando City, winless as they entered Harrison.

Well I don’t think I can handle this: If RBNY has a weakness, it’s desperate teams. The more cynical among the fans fretted over San Jose’s visit the week before. But the four-goal trouncing of the Quakes allayed those nerves. MLS being, well… MLS, the fear came right back with the Lions anyway. They braced themselves for Dom Dwyer and Portugal legend Nani to blitz a slightly depleted squad, thanks to the international duty absences.

Please put me in your plan: Manager Chris Armas brought out Amro Tarek at center back against his former team. Last year, Jesse Marsch did the same, slating Tommy Redding against Orlando. All things considered, things went better this time around. Alex Muyl, the Earthquake-crusher, was tapped to drop back when an apparent hamstring pull sent Connor Lade to the locker room for medical attention. Lade’s official substitution, Omir Fernandez, also had to be replaced when he averaged one foul suffered for every ten minutes he was on the field. Mathias JØrgenson put in a solid half hour on the pitch for RBNY. Still no hat trick*, but his star is on the rise.

*It occurs to me now that it might be unfair that I have inadvertently made that the benchmark. But here we are. I’m a high school teacher by trade: giving teenagers lofty standards is what I do.

It drives me up the wall and through the roof: Overall, there isn’t a whole lot to comment on with this match. Both teams stuck to their plans and the threats came and went at both ends. OCSC goalkeeper Brian Rowe was credited with three saves on the day. RBNY had seven corner kicks, as well as a couple of free kicks just outside the box. But it was a great big ball of nothing for over seventy minutes of play. Thank goodness for halftime empanadas.

I can’t believe my dilemma is real: Dwyer wasn’t the issue. And Nani? Let’s just say he was handled.

No, the only goal of the match came from former RBNY captain Sacha Kljestan. I still have a soft spot for my fellow Seton Hall Pirate and fellow person-whose-name-gets-misspelled- and-mispronounced-on-the-regular. So while it stinks that Kljestan finally made good on his promise to score on his former team, it’s really to his credit that he made something happen for either side. Besides, there are plenty of folks out there to be upset in my place.

RBNY returns to training this week, and then travels to face another former captain and another winless (and maybe a little desperate) team, the Chicago Fire. At least I can say the Red Bulls are one for one so far against teams named after historic disasters.

(The song is actually NOT called “Pocket Full of Kryptonite,” but the album is. And, to my knowledge, Jimmy Olsen never had a crush on Lois Lane. But this song still slaps.)

Featured image: @NewYorkRedBulls

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Orlando City Gets Fourth Straight Win

Shae Beaudoin - Orlando City/mlsfemale
Official Orlando City Reporter

By Shae Beaudoin // @ShaeEliz

Saturday, April 21: 3-2 Win

This weekend Orlando City faced off against San Jose Earthquakes at home. After an action-packed 90 minutes, the Lions walked away with a fresh three points. 

This win brings Orlando to 4 consecutive victories in a row, a much-needed morale boost after a rocky start to the season. For now, Orlando is sitting pretty in the #3 spot of the Eastern Conference standings. Fingers crossed we see the playoffs this year. Keep reading for the full game recap!

I’ve got two words for you. Chris Mueller. If you’re not familiar with this name yet, you’re snoozing. The rookie was our 2018 Super Draft pick and since scoring his first MLS goal during the intense 3-2 comeback victory over Portland Timbers, he hasn’t stopped making moves. Just two minutes into the game against the Quakes, Mueller put one on the scoreboard for Orlando.

Later in the first half, Sacha Kljestan gave Orlando it’s second goal of the night, which also happened to be Mueller’s first career assist. And just to keep things even more interesting, midway through the second half, Dom Dwyer scored his 100th career goal, and Orlando City led the game with 3 goals, San Jose 0.

Not sure if the team got a little overconfident or if they just started getting tired, but Orlando City game up two goals at the end of the second half, scored by Quakes’ Florian Jungwirth. Without Captain Jonathan Spector (out on concussion protocol) and defender Scott Sutter (out on injury) available to play, it’s impressive to me that the defense held off the Quakes so long this game. While allowing 2 goals is definitely disappointing, it’s becoming more and more clear that the depth in our team is there and it’s getting better as the season goes on.

Last week against Philadelphia Union was the first time this season that Orlando City got the first goal of the match, making Mueller’s goal this game the first at home. It’s also the fastest first goal in Orlando City’s MLS history. So yeah, Saturday was a busy day in Orlando.

Let’s talk next game. City goes on the road and faces the Colorado Rapids on April 29th. It is unclear yet if we will have Spector and Sutter available to play again, but it’s my hope that we will. If they are cleared to play, we’ve finally got a full roster available to play with no one out on injuries and fingers crossed that it lasts.

This winning streak feels really nice, let’s keep it up, yeah? Although, the games against Real Salt Lake and Atlanta United coming up on the horizon certainly have me nervous… But we’ll worry about those later. For now, Rapids, you’re next!

Featured image courtesy: @OrlandoCitySC

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Orlando City finds 3 points at home

Shae Beaudoin - Orlando City/mlsfemale
Official Orlando City Reporter

By Shae Beaudoin // @ShaeEliz

Saturday, March 31: 4-3 Win

Finally. This weekend, Orlando City SC faced off against the New York Red Bulls at home and what a game it was! This was Sacha Kljestan’s first game against his old club, and Orlando City saw some old friends as well with Aurélien Collin, Carlos Rivas, and Tommy Redding all seeing playtime against their old pals in purple.

Shae Beaudoin - Orlando City SC/mlsfemale
Image courtesy: @OrlandoCitySC

This game saw the return of Dom Dwyer, who spent the beginning of the season out with a thigh injury from training. Missing from the available roster this week was Uri Rosell and Jonathan Spector. Spector remains out on concussion regulations from the hit he suffered two weeks ago against NYCFC.

Things looked bleak at the start of the match when just 7 minutes in, Florian Valot put a point on the board for RBNY, but OCSC answered back with a goal by Johnson in the 15th minute. To break the equalizer, Derrick Etienne landed another shoot in the 24th minute. But it didn’t last long, as just 2 minutes later, Dom Dwyer secured a header off of a corner kick, tucking it nicely into the net.

Are you with me so far? 26 minutes in and we’re tied up 2-2. Told you this game was a big one. The remainder of the half was more or less calm, save for a handful of fouls awarded to each side.

At the start of second half, Josue Colman came on to make his home debut, replacing Cam Lindley on the field. At 48 minutes, Dwyer landed another goal for Orlando City after the Red Bulls allowed him to get his left foot on the ball. Never a good idea when we’re talking about Dwyer.

Regardless, Dwyer came off in the 64th minute, replaced by Chris Mueller. My guess is Kreis didn’t want to strain Dwyer, who could still be recovering from injury, though the backflip he did following his first goal may or may not completely negate that thought. Point aside, looks like we’ll have to wait another week to see a Dwyer/Mueller combination on the field.

In the 73rd minute, Amro Tarek came off, subbed by RJ Allen. Tarek had gone down to injury a few minutes before, which put City in a tough situation. Without Spector available and with Tarek down, Orlando had no more center backs. My thought was Kreis would push Will Johnson back to defense and bring in Cristian Higuita or Richie Laryea. Instead, Kreis got creative with RJ Allen, who usually plays right back.

Not a bad call by any means, I’m just wondering if we had signed an extra defensive player or two, could we have avoided this all together?

But let’s get back on track here. In the 82nd minute, RBNY pulled off an equalizer of their own, thanks to a header by Aaron Long. The score wasn’t even for long though, with Scott Sutter scoring another one for Orlando and bringing the match up to Orlando 4, Red Bulls 3.

Now, there’s the City we know and love. Such an action-packed game, right before the crazy LA Galaxy vs. LAFC match. This was a good weekend in MLS. What are your thoughts on this weekend’s games? Share them with me in the comments or over on Twitter.

Featured image courtesy: @OrlandoCitySC

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Hello, Goodbye – Latest news on New York Red Bulls

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

The only constant is change. We’re all intellectually aware of this, and yet we are jarred by the actual changes when they happen. During the MLS offseason, there are all sorts of opportunities for players to enter, exit, and trade one kit for another. While we know that players are commodities to be tossed around by the powers that be, it is important to remember that they are also parts of families and communities that are affected.

The New York Red Bulls family has said goodbye to free agents Dilly Duka and Sal Zizzo. Perhaps we’ll see them again on another field. Maybe they’ll have to move on to entirely new adventures.

Even though RBNY was spared in the expansion draft for newcomers LAFC, the re-entry drafts claimed Mike Grella and Gonzalo Verón for Columbus Crew and DC United, respectively. Grella, who had been out nearly this entire past season with a leg injury, is a New Yorker through and through, with a house near his parents a la “Everybody Loves Raymond”. He was claimed by the Colorado Rapids and then flipped to Columbus, neither of which are close to Glen Cove. As for supersub Veron, he scored 8 goals in all competitions this season and became a darling of the fans. This exit was unexpected to say the least (at this time, no official deal has been settled with DC, so there’s a chance Gonzi will be elsewhere by March 2018).

Defenders Gideon Baah and Damien Perrinelle both have come to the end of their contracts. While I held out hope for both of them, it would seem there is no room for either of them since international slots are limited on MLS rosters. Anyone who has read, like, two of my articles knows that I will sorely miss seeing my favorite French footballer, and to be honest I never got a chance to really get into Baah as a player. (The rumor that Damien would come back to the RBNY staff doesn’t have as much traction as it used to, especially since he moved out of his NYC apartment. I can’t give up, though.)

Speaking of rumors, the buzz about captain Sacha Kljestan is only getting louder, with sources saying deals are being discussed with LAFC, Minnesota United, and Orlando City. Legit negotiations, or just wagging the dog? Remains to be seen. I just think it would be strange for RBNY to shuffle off their captain 2 years in a row.

Players leaving also means players arriving. RBNY II players Stefano Bonomo and Florian Valot have ‘leveled up’ to the first team. Fans are also not-so-patiently waiting for the announcement of Argentinian midfielder Alejandro “Kaku” Romero Gamarra, who has reportedly transferred from CA Huracan in Argentina for an eye-popping $6.25M. (As of Jan 1, the transfer has been blocked by a complaint from Kaku’s former agent. Story is still developing.) And there is still plenty of room on the roster for more trades to happen. We may see a player or two, previously jeered while wearing some other color, come to be lauded in the red* and white. It will be March before we know it.

*The new RBNY kit was unveiled on New Year’s Day, and it is indeed predominantly red. Fans have wanted a red jersey for several years, and the response is generally positive.

UPDATE: Sources confirm the trade of Sacha Kljestan to Orlando City SC. In exchange, RBNY acquires attacker Carlos Rivas and defender Tommy Redding. Rivas seems to me to be a good addition for sake of depth, but a young defender is what RBNY really needs. I will miss my fellow Seton Hall Pirate Sacha, but I wish him all the best… until he faces the Red Bulls next season.

Featured image of Gonzalo Verón courtesy: Noah K. Murray/ NY Post

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New York Red Bulls: Bridesmaid Revisited

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Sunday, November 5th: 0-1 Win (2-2 agg.) Toronto FC advances by away goal rule

I should be apologizing for taking so long to write this.

I should apologize for the fact that this post won’t have the musical theme that has really become my schtick over the course of the season.

I  might even apologize for the fact that the title of this post, a send-up to a major piece of English literature, has also been used by a bunch of crappy TV series as an episode title over the years.

But I’m not here to apologize. I’m here to offer some closure. To give the season post-mortem. To talk about where the team goes from here.

So. 22 seasons. No MLS Cup. No Open Cup. No CONCACAF Champions League Cup. No Supporters Shield this time. Always the bridesmaid, never the bride.

The game was terrible and wonderful, just as the 1st leg had been. There were fouls and fights. The 2nd half saw the team without their captain. Goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips answered the call and put the ball in the net (54′, assisted by Danny Royer). But RBNY needed one more to advance past the Reds, and they just couldn’t find it. As dominant as they had been, and as much of a fight as they had shown (in more ways than one), RBNY just couldn’t continue their run.


Winning, Drawing, and Losing all at once is probably the most Metro thing that could have happened.

Overall, it wasn’t a bad run, was it? The team faltered– a lot– during the regular season. Injuries destroyed their depth. The team lacked cohesiveness and determination too often to make a difference when it counted. So, to turn it around by the end of the regular season and put up as much of a fight as they did… I’m still disappointed, of course. But it could have been worse.

Now what? Part of the reason I haven’t been able to finish this article is that business seems so unfinished. I couldn’t attend the final Media Day of the season. And now come the rumors. Who will leave? Who will stay? Do the players even know where they stand with the team?

Right out of the gate came the report that both Los Angeles-based teams are showing interest in Sacha Kljestan for next season. Phenom Tyler Adams is getting much more attention since his Senior Team USMNT debut in a friendly against Portugal, to the point where some are wondering if he’ll get picked up somewhere in Europe before the new season begins. Can Mike Grella and Aurelien Collin make their comebacks following injury? And most recently came the whispers that Gideon Baah and Damien Perrinelle are not going to have their contracts renewed. (However: this news is quickly followed by the rumor that Perrinelle will stay on as a scout for the club. This would not surprise me in the least. I’ve spoken to the French international and it is clear that soccer is in his blood. A front office position like that is an amazing opportunity to stay in the game.)

And don’t cry for me, Red Bulls nation. I’m going to dig into the rumors as much as I can, as well as cover the USSF presidential election coming up in February. I’ll be freezing my butt off in historic Red Bull Arena before you know it.

In the meantime, #SaveTheCrew. Enjoy the rest of the Playoffs.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

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Crew SC Unbeaten in Seven

Hilary - Columbus Crew/mlsfemale
Official Columbus Crew Reporter

By Hilary // @hils4crew

Saturday, September 23: 3-2 Win

While the calendar says September, Saturday night at Mapfre Stadium felt like the middle of July as Columbus Crew SC took on the New York Red Bulls in the continued hunt for a playoff spot.

Crew SC rolled out the same line-up that started at Vancouver with two exceptions–Mensah returned at centerback and Justin Meram returned to left wing.  This time, however, we had a different result than Vancouver with a 3-2 win for the Black and Gold.

Scoring started with Crew SC in the 6’ as Higuain sent in a free kick that Mensah headed into the net.  You could see the joy on the center back’s face as he celebrated his goal with the team. 

New York was quick to tie it up in the 14’.  Columbus felt one of the New York players had been offsides, but the AR did not make the call and Bradley Wright-Phillips finished the goal.  BWP was given much too much space regardless.  With a goal scorer like that, defenders should not give him any space. 

Santos was fouled in the 39’, but the ref let play continue on to the Crew’s advantage.  Ola Kamara, virtually alone as a defender tried to catch up with him, tried to chip the keeper to tie the game, but he overshot the goal.  Kamara continues to miss the chances you think he should finish and finish shots that look nearly impossible.

Crew SC took the lead again in the 54’ when Meram took on two New York defenders and shot the ball into the net.

In the 66’, Josh Williams who apparently didn’t want to be outdone by his center back partner decided it was time for a goal.  His first since 2013.  He headed in a Higuain corner kick for goal number three of the game.

New York wasn’t done yet.  In the 69’, Mensah fouled Gonzola Veron.  There was some heated argument from both sides as the foul occurred outside the field of play but kept Veron from getting to the ball.  After video review, the Red Bulls were granted the penalty kick, which Veron finished. 

Crew SC was able to hold the Red Bulls off resulting in a victory and 3 more points toward making the playoffs.

Some thoughts on the match:

Pipa had all three assists in this match.  He continues to show why he is a central cog for this team

Meram scored a goal.  It was pretty.  However, there are a lot of times when he should pass and doesn’t.  I don’t want him to stop trying to take on defenders.  I just wish his judgment on when to do this and when to pass would improve.

The refs in this game were horrible.  As a player, I was always taught you play the refs’ game.  Arguing calls wasn’t going to help, so you don’t.  Those words to live by would have gone down the drain had I been a player on the field on Saturday night.  I think the officiating wasn’t great for either team.

After the Red Bulls scored their second goal, I grew concerned that this would turn into another game like Vancouver where they scored to tie it up near the end of the game.  Or, it would be like earlier in the season where we gave away a lead.  I was pleased to see that Crew SC can finish out a match as I’m sure this skill will be necessary if we plan on winning any playoff games.

I do not understand Sacha Kljestan’s moustache.  Please someone explain it to me….

This season has gone incredibly fast and next Saturday is Columbus Crew SC’s last regular season home game against DC United.  It would be nice to get 3 points from this match and help solidify a playoff spot.

Featured image courtesy: @ColumbusCrewSC

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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.


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?).


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.


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.”


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.


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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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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No Joy in Harrison

Sylvana - NY Red Bulls
Official NY Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench

Sunday, May 14th: 1-3 Loss

So here I am again, having watched the New York Red Bulls (5-6-1, 16 points) lose to a non-conference team that has been suffering this season (LA Galaxy, 3-5-2, 11 points), and feeling the urge to explain what is going wrong for the Red Bulls. But I also insist that the answer is above my pay grade. So I can’t explain. I can only guess.

Watching the team in action, it’s almost as if no one is showing the necessary initiative. Sure, Sacha Kljestan was a natural successor in the role of team captain, and he takes the role seriously enough. The roster is full of players who have been a part of the system for a long time, from veterans Felipe and Bradley Wright-Phillips to Homegrown players Connor Lade and Alex Muyl. But it seems that everyone is more willing to let someone else take the lead in the moment.

The back line, with its near-constant rotation, isn’t taking charge of the space in the defensive third while opponents are on the attack; Bradley Wright-Phillips seems to be aiming for the assist rather than the goal; Sacha Kljestan spends several touches squaring up the ball for someone who just isn’t coming.

When Galaxy DP Roman Alessandrini scored a brace in the first 10 minutes of the game, it’s not because he was waiting for the injured Jermaine Jones to return, or depending on just the right pass from Gyasi Zardes. He just went for it. This evening, I sat closer to the field than I had ever been, and could hear Luis Robles screaming to his teammates to “wake up”. But they never did. There isn’t the explosiveness on the field that made them Supporter Shield winners in the past.

On a more positive note, Mike Grella made his return from injury in the 2nd half. He tried to help turn things around for the team, and the fans were happy to see him back on the pitch. The frustration levels were rising, leading to a penalty in the box in the 78th minute that was converted by Giovani Dos Santos, bringing the Galaxy to a 3-0 lead.

Galaxy defender Bradley Diallo was issued two yellow cards which resulted in a sending off in the 90th minute, and that opened the door for Daniel Royer to make the consolation goal in the 93rd. It was a welcome celebration, but too little too late. As the rain was falling in the waning minutes of the game, disappointed fans began to pour out of Red Bull Arena. Like the sad fans of Mudville, they had no choice but to admit that the mighty Red Bulls had, in their own way, struck out.

The team faces Eastern Conference leaders Toronto FC this coming Friday, giving them only a few days to regroup. Who will be the team’s lightning rod? And how soon can they get the team charged up?

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

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Red Bulls Get the Job Done Against DC United

Sylvana - NY Red Bulls
Official New York Red Bulls Reporter

By Sylvana Budesheim @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, April 15:  2- 0 Win

It’s a holiday weekend.

I have 4 kids, not to mention a family that traditionally goes big for this holiday.
So I couldn’t go to iconic Red Bull Arena for the latest installment of the Atlantic Cup.
And I wasn’t the only one with this problem.

But thanks to the miracle of modern soccer broadcasting, the game was available in the comfort of my (parents’) home.

The New York Red Bulls (3-3-1) began a welcome run of home games with their first meeting against DC United (2-3-1) for this season. RBNY stumbled at the beginning of the season, albeit an improvement from the slow start in 2016, and injuries plague the team (Mike Grella and Gonzalo Veron are still on the Injured list), but they have been determined to turn things around.

And try they did. The Red Bulls dominated the first 45 minutes of play, keeping the ball in the attacking third. They had plenty of set pieces (plays that re-start action, such as corner and free kicks), which have become their signature goal-scoring plays. But they just couldn’t finish. DC goalkeeper Bill Hamid made some great saves during the first half, but RBNY just kept knocking at the door…

It took until the 1st minute of the second half to finally make a breakthrough. Sacha Kljestan, wearing the captain’s armband emblazoned with the logos of the three official supporter’s groups for the club, found the head of Alex Muyl on a corner kick and suddenly it was 1-0 for the home team. The team was able to relax a bit with the lead, and even though it resulted in more time in the defensive end of the field, the confidence was noticeably higher. Then in the 80th minute, thanks to a perfectly-placed pass from Felipe Martins, lead goal scorer Bradley Wright-Phillips nutmegged Hamid, sending a shot between his legs and doubling the lead. Red Bull GK Luis Robles, known as the Ironman, made some great saves to maintain the clean sheet at home.

A rivalry is always a great place to find even more than the usual physicality on the field, and this match was no exception. The head referee’s book was opened plenty, with a total of 5 yellow cards issued between the two teams. There were plenty of tackles and 1v1 plays, and players could be found on the ground nursing a sore shin or knee following these plays. Unfortunately, DC’s Steve Birnbaum had to be stretchered off the field in stoppage time following a head-to-head clash with RB defender Damien Perrinelle, and hopefully he is well. Also, it was nice to see Lloyd Sam again, who was traded to DC United last season. I always hope he does well… unless he’s playing against the Red Bulls.

This coming weekend is not a holiday weekend.
I hope I can make it to the game.
And I hope plenty of others can make it as well.

Featured image courtesy: @NewYorkRedBulls

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