Brian Lewis of the New York Post described last night's game as killing the Red Bulls' Supporters Shield chances and burying them six feet under Red Bull Arena. I'll go one step further, last night's 2-0 debacle against Sporting Kansas City not only killed the Red Bulls' Supporter Shield chances, but buried them face down in a shallow grave with a gunshot wound to the back of the head.
Or alternatively, set the Red Bulls' supporters shield chances' feet in concrete and drown them the Passaic River. Whichever vague mob violence reference floats your boat.
Anyway, last night was painful to watch. Essentially, everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. In what was, essentially, the biggest game of the season the Red Bulls choked.
After the jump, some rage distilled into bullet point form.
- Remember that whole "oh man we gave up 12 goals in the first 20 minutes this season, we should stop doing that" post? Yeah, well the Red Bulls gave up two, TWO, goals in the first 20 minutes last night. Not only did their "don't concede early" gameplan backfire, they set a new record in the process. As dismal as their opening salvos have been this season, they've never given up more than one in the first 20.
- We started, essentially, three defensive midfielders. We get it, Rafael Marquez's best asset is playing the ball over the top, but last night's personnel decisions let the Red Bulls with only that option. It's not particularly hard to defend if you know it's coming. On top of that, taking Tim Cahill out of the midfield and putting him as a withdrawn forward, while putting Cahill in his best role, doesn't put the rest of the team in their best positions.
- Speaking of "knowing what's coming" it seemed the team had a bit more going for it when Lloyd Sam was on the field. Our amateur scouts were right in their assessment of the Englishman, there really is a sense of excitement when Sam's got the ball at his feet. Sam's a solid addition late in the year, the perfect weapon when an unknown quantity could give an edge.
- The unbeaten at home stream is over. Not to say Red Bull Arena isn't still a fortress, but the whole "get to the top of the east" thing was predicated on how well the team plays in Harrison... Maybe it's better thought of as getting home field because we're terrible on the road.
- It's nice to know the guys on the field weren't the only ones screwing up last night.
- Thierry Henry is a competitive guy. We all know this, but his competitiveness is a double edged sword. There was one point when he ran into the box and took a dive before a free kick and acted as if he deserved a penalty. Or a card. Or something. I appreciate the effort, but that was just pathetic.
- Someone remarked on Twitter the Red Bulls were playing with one in the back and four or five up top toward the end. They had some opportunities, but nothing was going. On top of their poor play, maybe it was just one of those nights.
- As if the team needed extra pressure to end the decade long losing stream in Massachusetts, if they want to even think about getting to the top of the east Saturday against the New England Revolution is pretty much a must win.
Anything else, guys?