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Goalkeeping Gaffes, Set-Piece Mistakes Cost Red Bulls In Loss To Seattle

At least The Great Dane is in top form.
At least The Great Dane is in top form.

I know what you're thinking. Greg Sutton should commit seppuku.

That's a bit harsh, to be honest. Yes, he was terrible, and yes, with a better goalkeeper between the posts, the New York Red Bulls might have taken a point or three out of Seattle last night. However, the defense in front of him didn't play very well either, and New York was missing half of its starting XI, including both central defenders.

It was always going to be difficult to take a result out of this game given the players that the Red Bulls' were missing, that this game came in the middle of a tough road trip, and that the Sounders are a pretty solid team. Even so, the Red Bulls made a good run at it, coming back from two goals down early to draw level in the second half.

In case it's not totally obvious, I don't really want to write in much detail about last night's game. It's not a loss that reflects any significant failings outside of the goalkeeping position -- there were no systemic problems in the Red Bulls set-up from open play, no questions of fight, attitude, or quality. The game came down to set-piece mistakes (again), poor defending, and bad goalkeeping. Hans Backe may be able to solve at least two of those problems with the existing Red Bulls team, although New York's weakness on set pieces has been a recurring theme this year.

Tim Ream and Rafael Márquez will be back in the team next week, which should go a long way towards sorting out the Red Bulls' defense. As for the goalkeeping position, Greg Sutton's play the last two games has made his position untenable -- he hasn't even played like he is good enough to be a back-up goalkeeper for New York.

The one player who certainly stood out in a positive way for the Red Bulls was Dane Richards. The Great Dane showed us exactly what we'd been missing the last few weeks, causing the Seattle defense plenty of problems with his pace, passing, and great shooting. And to think that this time last year I wanted him dropped from the bench.

On the whole, this team is built to attack (even Ream and Márquez are fairly attacking for defenders) and when the full complement of scoring talent is back in the side by the San Jose game, the Red Bulls should be quite dangerous again. Thierry Henry will be back for Sunday's game against the Chicago Fire, and hopefully with a different man in goal, the Red Bulls will be able to bounce back with a win. At the end of the day, this is MLS: a playoff league where ten teams make the post-season. The Supporters' Shield has probably slipped away, but there are still two big trophies up for grabs, and the Red Bulls still have a solid chance to win at least one. I believe that we will win.