Over at MLSsoccer.com, Fanco Panzio has a story about how the Red Bulls don't want to give up an early goal, especially not tonight in their first place tussle with Sporting Kansas City. Hans Backe, essentially, looked at the stats and didn't like what he saw.
"We looked into it a couple weeks ago and it's been a number of times and also against the top teams," Backe told reporters. "We look in the four teams that are close to us, I think we've went down against every of those teams in the first 10 minutes and some of these teams [in] the first five minutes. It's a long way in this league when you go down 1-0."
But just how often have the Red Bulls gone down early?
The answer: Ten. Plus one game where they took an early lead only to give it away.
Eleven times this season the Red Bulls have given up an early goal, ten of those times sealing their fate early in three of their four losses and featuring in four of their seven draws (as mentioned above in one of those draws, Jan Gunnar Solli tallied an early goal, only for the Red Bulls to give it right back).
Instead of going through it game-by-game in one long, confusing paragraph, here's a handy little chart that should keep you on edge for tonight's first 20 minutes.
FC Dallas (A)
Montreal Impact (H)
|DC United (A)||Chris Pontius||8||L (4-1)|
|Chicago Fire (A)||Patrick Nyarko||4||L (3-1)|
|DC United (H)||Chris Pontius||1||W (3-2)|
|Toronto FC (A)||Danny Kovermans||6||D (1-1)|
|Seattle Sounders (H)||Alvaro Fernandez||16||D (2-2)|
|Houston Dynamo (A)||Jermaine Taylor||2||L (2-0)|
|Portland Timbers (H)||Bright Dike||8||W (3-2)|
|Sporting Kansas City (A)||Kei Kamara||4||D (1-1)|
|Columbus Crew (H)||Mirovan Mirosevic||3||W (3-1)|
Note: that the chart is in ascending order, starting with the earliest game this season and only counts goals scored within the first 20 minutes.
Take from this chart what you will. It's a bit remarkable the Red Bulls have earned 15 points, three wins, fighting from down 1-0 early on seven different occasions, only dropping points in four games. Then again, those wins came, largely, against sub-par teams -- only Columbus is really fighting for a playoff spot. Two of the three draws came on the road and all of the losses came away. All the wins were at home.
Any other observations?