Tag Archives: Sean Davis

West (of the Hudson) Side Story

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

By Sylvana Budesheim // @WhiteZinWench 

Friday, August 25: 1-1 Draw

I feel like I was just here a month ago. And again a couple of weeks before that, and again only a few days before that. My Blue Counterpart summed up the feeling quite well.

So, this is basically my last chance to complain about the “rivalry” that is the New York Red Bulls (12-10-3, 39 points) and New York City FC (14-7-5, 47 points). This is a geographical rivalry. Like the New York Giants and New York Jets of gridiron football and the fabled Subway Series of the New York Yankees and the New York Mets. And those have been in place for what feels like forever. Because the NY Metropolitan area is easily large enough to accommodate fans for both teams. But then again, as my favorite Ginger Soccer Philosopher states in a recent ad campaign, “…soccer has supporters. And they’re a different breed entirely.”

Because of the structure of MLS, no one team can blow away the competition with stacked talent, premium accommodation and transport, or exorbitant payroll. So regardless of how heated it can get on the field, when the final whistle blows, everyone on the field shakes hands and exchanges jerseys, because ultimately they are all brothers in the same player’s union. The rivalry belongs to the fans supporters, who argue the tri-state area can only be one color when, in fact, it has always easily been various shades of several colors.

As I sat in the press box and watched this last installment of the Hudson River Derby, I began to liken it to a completely different rivalry that was much more my speed as a child:

WON’T BE JUST ANY NIGHT: As soon as the traffic slowed to a crawl 2 miles before the exit to the arena, I knew it was going to be a different game. NYCFC was looking to sweep the series*, and RBNY was not interested in having that occur in their home. Also, the announcement had been made earlier in the week that, due to a scheduling conflict with the Yankees, NYCFC will have to host the Houston Dynamo next month at a stadium in East Hartford, Connecticut.

To be clear, I actually respect that NYCFC feels such a deep connection to the city of New York, and can appreciate the upset many Blue fans have voiced over the change. But since the bulk of the trolling from NYC fans has been geographically based, this was just extremely sweet and low-hanging fruit for Metro fans. The pettiness was turned up to 11, and I am here for that.

(*= in league play: I wrote about the Red Bulls eliminating NYC from the Open Cup competition… RBNY is heading to the final in a couple of weeks.)

A BOY LIKE THAT: Usually the conversation during these match-ups centers on Bradley Wright-Phillips and David Villa, who still made their mark on the game with 5 and 3 shots respectively. But it was Sean Davis who really seemed to be leading the charge for RBNY in the first half. His 3 shots and 82% passing accuracy were notable in the first act… I mean, half. Villa could only be credited with an assist with Maximiliano Moralez putting up the goal for NYC in the 56th minute. And when the moment came for RBNY to go to the spot following a foul on Sacha Kljestan, it was Gonzalo Veron who converted the equalizer.

BE COOL: Was there pushing? Tripping? Diving? You’d better believe it. And I ain’t even mad. Three yellow cards (Alexander Ring 19′, Kemar Lawrence 35′, and Rodney Wallace 43′) don’t lie. And it wasn’t like Video-Assisted Refereeing was getting involved apparently. But the majority of the action was just the run of play. And that’s great too. At the end of the day, a lopsided game is what makes for a sad “rivalry”. So, even though the 62% possession from the Red Bulls only resulted in a goal from a penalty kick and only 358 passes from NYCFC was enough for them to score, the balance is what made the draw, the first one in the soon-to-be-acceptable Hudson River Derby.

I LIKE TO BE IN AMERICA: The Red Bulls will face FC Dallas next week while the rest of the world takes an International break for World Cup Qualifiers and Friendlies. RBNY defenders Michael Amir Murillo and Fidel Escobar will once again join the Panamanian team, and congrats to David Villa on his return to the Spanish National Team. Meanwhile, RBNY Reggae Boy Kemar Lawrence is expected to decline the call-up for the Jamaican team’s Friendly against Canada. (My Fantasy team thanks Kemar for this, too.) Also, MLS cathedral Red Bull Arena is hosting the US Men’s National Team as they play Costa Rica. It’s an exciting week for the NY Metropolitan Area.

Featured image courtesy: newyorkredbulls.com

Follow and chat with me on twitter // @whitezinwench

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Lion Tamers Wanted

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

Sylvana Budesheim// @WhiteZinWench

Saturday, August 12: 3-1 Win

“Welcome back my friends
To the show that never ends
We’re so glad you could attend
Come inside, come inside” 

–Keith Emerson

The circus that is MLS. They have their daring heroes, their colorful sideshows, and the universal appeal of the performance.

Let me tell you what I love about soocer: anyone can play. If you have a ball and can agree where the goals are, YOU CAN PLAY. And that’s the message behind the You Can Play Project. It’s about going out there and showing the world your talent. Soccer is supposed to be the most level playing field. If you have the talent and the drive, you can do well in this sport, no matter who you are. So with rainbows on scarves and t-shirts, and the mindset that anyone can join in, the New York Red Bulls (12-9-2, 38 points) marked its first ever Pride Night by facing Orlando City SC (8-10-6, 30 points).

THE SHOW MUST GO ON: Recent USMNT shooting star and even more recent OCSC acquisition Dom Dwyer had to have a minor procedure on his nose, so he stayed home in Orlando. I don’t want to say, “Yay, crisis averted,” but it’s at least one less concern for the team. Strikers Kaká and Cyle Larin are enough of a difficulty usually. And they made their presence known on the field… for better or for worse.

THE LIONS ROARED: They scored first (Carlos Rivas 18′),

They stayed physical for the full 90+, and they weren’t afraid to foul or be fouled, to apply pressure or be caught offside. It may have resulted in an own goal (Léo Pereira, 30″), but the team deserves a measure of credit for bringing the fight to RBNY.

THE BRAVE TAMER IN THE CENTER RING: RBNY took over the 2nd half of the game, which has been their form of late. Knowing a tie was not enough to keep them safely above the red line, Bradley Wright-Phillips (60′) added to his career goal tally (now up to 83) and Sean Davis sealed the deal (80′) with an amazing bend on the ball that caused an eruption of cheers in the crowd.

(Sitting in the press box, I have an obligation to not react to the run of play, but I will admit that I am enlivened by the roar of the crowd. I’m still not jumping up and down or anything, but it puts a smile on my face.)

CLOWN MOVE: I have neither the time nor the inclination to consider every team on the eastern seaboard a “rival” so I wasn’t expecting the level of animosity between RBNY & OCSC that came to a head over the course of the match.

(It was originally thought that Kaká was making a motion insulting Sacha Kljestan‘s mustache. Now I kinda wish he had. I’m here for pettiness.)

From MLSsoccer.com:

https://player.ooyala.com/static/v4/stable/4.12.6/skin-plugin/iframe.html?ec=8zYWJiYzE6T1___bdFotmJgpCksqbv7E&pbid=2d940881487848159b3b99a3ae8125b9&pcode=V3dTcxOgz_2CW8ZIY8iy58lLBNvQ

Additionally, the Disciplinary Committee has found both Orlando and New York in violation of the Mass Confrontation Policy in the 94th minute of the teams’ meeting. Both Orlando City and the Red Bulls have been issued warnings for each club’s first violation of the League’s policy this season.

And then there was the Video Review of this interaction, which resulted in a red card for Kaká. This made the 4 minutes of stoppage time in the 2nd half become 8 minutes. That’s just… unnecessary. And I’m not really convinced that the action was worthy of a red card! But the final whistle eventually blew, and the Red Bulls had won the day. The fireworks between the teams were replaced by actual fireworks to light the sky above the arena.

Courtesy Fernando Gonzalez via Twitter

With barely enough time to breathe, RBNY headed to Cincinnati for the Open Cup semi-final…. but that’s for another article.

Featured image courtesy: newyorkredbulls.com

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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