I was originally planning on writing a normal timeline similar to the ones I've done for the last few home matches, but a few things have changed my mind. First and foremost, my day just wasn't that interesting...though I did have a pretty decent time at the Brooklyn Bridge viewing party hosted by Red Bull, but we'll get into that later. Secondly, and probably equally as important, is the fact that the New York Red Bulls' performance on Saturday night was so perplexing that I've forcefully blacked out certain moments of the entire day. The moments I do remember, I'll do my best to explain and critique. Don't expect too much. It was a rough day.
New York didn't give their supporters much to sing about on Saturday night. Much like their match against Toronto a few weeks ago, the Red Bulls went into Columbus looking flat and uninspired. There were, however, a few things worth feeling good about as long as you look really hard and maybe squint a little bit.
- Jonny Steele continues to impress.
The Northern Irish winger was New York's only real source of attack against the Columbus Crew. It was nice to know that at least one person was able to continue his run of good form without Thierry Henry or Tim Cahill in the match.
- Um...we don't have to play Columbus anymore?
I'm reaching here, I know. Cut me some slack, will you? The Red Bulls come out of their three game series against the Crew with a 1-1-1 record. Sure, it should be better but four points out of a possible nine isn't the end of the world. New York has looked poor against Columbus in all three matches and should feel relieved they won't have to embarrass themselves against them again.
Oof, where to start? I think the answer to that question depends on how much time you have. I'm not going go as far as to say this match was a disaster. Yes, New York should have won. No, the sky isn't falling. Some folks are going to make excuses like "We were missing our DPs and our Coach!" or, " It was always going to be a trap game!" or "We lost on purpose to make Columbus feel good about their new ownership....yeah, that's it. That's exactly what we did!" But the only real excuse is that the Red Bulls went into this game with a lousy mentality. There were, however, a few specific things that deserve mention.
- Fraser's Substitutions.
Listen, I want Marius Obekop to get more minutes just as much as the next guy, but to sub him in for the only player actually contributing anything to the match was just ridiculous. Why take Jonny Steele out of the game when he has proven that he can do ninety minutes standing on his head? To make matters more frustrating (but kind of hilarious) Obekop ran around like a chicken with his head cut off for the rest of the match. The other two subs were hardly better, though I'm sure Peguy Luyindula was glad to see Ruben Bover wiff that volley in the box. Misery loves company and all that....
- The Penalty Kick.
I'm not going to complain about the call. This is MLS, we should all be used to having bad calls go for us and against us. Leave the bitching to the players on the pitch. Here's what drives me nuts about that PK: New York should have never been in a position where it mattered. The Red Bulls gave up way too many free kicks which was just begging for some chippy play in the box. They were also going up against one of the weaker sides in the Eastern Conference. They should have won that game by at least two goals. Even with a bad PK call, New York could have come out of the match winning 2-1 if they played even close to their potential.
- Robles coming off of his line.
There's nothing I can say that will take away from the beauty of Federico Higuain's perfectly placed chip to put the game away in the seventy-sixth minute. Just take another look. It's pretty great right? You know what's not great? LUIS ROBLES COMING OFF OF HIS STUPID LINE! He was having such a great game, too. To be fair, Robles is probably the only reason New York didn't lose the match by more than two goals. The keeper made a slew of impressive saves to keep the Red Bulls alive but, as he's wont to do, had a major brain fart to allow Higuain to net what will mostly likely be a Goal of the Week nominee. Both Markus Holgersson and Jamison Olave were in position to cut off the Argentine striker's attack. Had Robles just stayed on his line, that shot isn't even taken and New York still loses the game. Oh well.
The Amusing and the Bizarre:
The New York Red Bulls organization was kindly enough to offer us fans a chance to watch the match in the pristinely beautiful Brooklyn Bridge Park. The setting was gorgeous, the beer was cheap and crowd was happy to be there. As it was my first outdoor viewing party, I wasn't all to sure what to expect. It turns out that they're a lot of fun. Here are some of the more memorable moments of the evening.
- Got to briefly meet Lloyd Sam.
- The Know-it-all behind me.