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How Much Stock Can We Put in Saturday's Season Opening Loss?

The Red Bulls got trounced in their season opener against the Vancouver Whitecaps. But how much stock can you put in that result?

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Spor

In the interest of calling a spade a spade, let's call Saturday's game what it is: A debacle.

It was awful. Terrible. The Vancouver Whitecaps came ready to play. The Red Bulls looked flat and unmotivated. They were outplayed in nearly every facet of the game.

But, thankfully, there isn't a ton of stock you can put in Saturday's loss.

Yeah, Thierry Henry and Jamison Olave stayed home and that didn't help matters. Henry would provide offensive firepower and an unmatched ability to change the game with a single kick of the ball, while Olave would have shored up the back line.

Those additions reshuffle a line-up that looked lifeless and had lacked a real offensive spark.

That's the obvious bit, but the more important part is that   the biggest perceived weakness for the Red Bulls heading into 2014 was the defense. And despite the score, it wasn't the train wreck you'd expect when you see "4-1." Miller's second goal, a chip over Luis Robles' head,

The first goal? Penalties happen.

The second goal started with a poor cross from Eric Alexander and finished with a strike from Sebastian Fernandez. In between, there were four Whitecaps attacking against four Red Bulls, with nary a midfielder in sight.


Miller's second -- the dagger for the Red Bulls -- started with a pass from Pedro Morales that the 28-year-old Chilean had days to make while Alexander and Roy Miller stood there (quite literally) and watched.


On the last goal, someone should have stepped up to cut down Morales before he put the ball past Robles, "someone" meaning Armando or Ibrahim Sekagya. So put one tally in the "defense's fault" column.

Looking at the chalkboards, neither Armando nor Sekagya, last Saturday's centerback pairing, had a particularly poor game. While Richard Eckersley didn't play well and Bobby Convey was anonymous for most of the game, there are other fullbacks Mike Petke can choose from.

The good news isn't just that changes are coming, but that the issues that plagued the Red Bulls last weekend don't have to continue into this weekend, provided the right changes are made.

So to answer the initial question, no, not much.