Inconsistency. The word every soccer fan hates to hear, yet, one Red Bulls fans have grown accustomed to after about a bit more than a decade-and-a-half of Metro ball. Flying high after a 2-0 road win at D.C. United, the Red Bulls came crashing back down to Earth after a 1-0 loss at Red Bull Arena, the place that would supposedly be a fortress for the Red Bulls, much like we saw last year. The truth of the matter is, the sanctioned home dominance that we thought we could rely on for wins hasn't come together for the Red Bulls yet. Their home record currently stands at a mere 1-1-1, the only win coming from a bit of individual brilliance from Thierry Henry in a narrow 2-1 victory. Mind you, it's still early in the season, meaning that there is still time to right the ship. Mike Petke has the necessary tools at his disposal, it's just a matter of putting them together. Specifically, there were quite a few good individual performances in Wednesday night's match, but the gelling wasn't quite there. Let's see how the players did...
Luis Robles (6.5)- Came up huge on a dangerous one-on-one, and otherwise made a few solid saves against KC's attackers. Was beaten on Collin's goal, but then again, there wasn't much more he could do than getting a hand to the defender's powerful header.
Roy Miller (6)- Red Bulls' fans criticize this guy way too much, and I'll admit, I wasn't very fond of him after he pretty much single-handedly costed the team a win at San Jose. However, he hasn't let the constant berating get to head, and turned in a solid and active game on the left wing. Only point of contention was his flubbed cross towards the tail end of the second half.
Jamison Olave (6)- Lost his man on SKC's goal, but then again, it was a well-crafted set-piece. Made a few very good blocks and tackles before being substituted for injury early in the half.
Markus Holgersson (5.5)- Hmm. Not sure what to make of Holgersson's performance. Decent distribution out of the back, but a fairly quiet day for the Swede.
Brandon Barklage (5)- Frequently got beaten by Zusi on the wing. Not a good defensive performance from the right back.
Eric Alexander (5.5)- Overshadowed by the debut of Marius Obekop. Didn't provide much of an option out wide, but did beat a few defenders on occasion. Not a great game for Alexander, but not necessarily a bad one.
Dax McCarty (5)- Lost possession multiple times, and couldn't provide a pinpoint pass when needed. Defensively, he was O.K., but needs to work on keeping the ball under pressure and taking more shots.
Juninho (4.5)- I might be putting too much weight on the red card he received- silly and unprofessional, although Jimmy Nielsen really sold it- but that really costed us. Juninho's a big player for the Red Bulls, and his absence should be felt against the Revolution. On and off free kicks, good passing, but turned over the ball in a play that could've costed the Red Bulls another goal.
Tim Cahill (6)- The guy's an animal on the pitch, and did well to close down SKC's central midfielders (namely, Feilhaber and Rosell.) Went hard and fierce into tackles and made a few key passes. The goal will come soon.
Fabian Espindola (5.5)- Tried to make his presence felt, but ended up dribbling into either trouble or nowhere too often. Needs to be a little more unselfish with the ball, but then again, not every defense has as good a centerback pairing as Collin and Besler.
Thierry Henry (6)- Drifted in and out of the game, and uncharacteristically put a great chance just wide of the post. When he's on his game, Henry is unstoppable. Showed flashes of that brilliance, but couldn't put together for the entire 90 minutes.
Mike Petke (5)- Petke might have found a true gem in Marius Obekop. Speed, power shot, confidence, he has it all. If Petke comes to his senses and gives Obekop the starting role, it gives the Red Bulls a real threat out on the wings. Otherwise, decent substitutions, but might have to consider delegating Henry as a second-half substitute.