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Instant Reaction: Fire vs. Red Bulls

The Red Bulls and the Fire played to a 1-1 draw Sunday afternoon.

Not to toot my own horn over here, but looks like my prediction was pretty much spot on...

Look, I realize it's only the third game of the year, but I'm not particularly impressed with the team so far. It doesn't matter how many nice overlapping runs your fullbacks make if you can't bang in one, single goal on 29 crosses. But you know what? I'm pretty nonplussed by Chicago. Aside from Mike Magee, I'm not terribly worried about them.That said, I don't think the Red Bulls will play badly enough to lose. But I don't think they'll play well enough to win, either, which is the real problem.

The Red Bulls played well enough not to lose, but not well enough to beat the Chicago Fire on opening night in Bridgeview. The 1-1 draw is an absolutely fair result in a game where neither team had the killer instinct to put the ball in the back of the net.

That said, it's a result that comes on the road, in a stadium that hasn't been particularly hospitable to the Red Bulls. It's not a terrible result, it's just not the one we wanted.

The issue seems to be that, a whole pre-season and three games in to the season, Mike Petke and the Red Bulls' braintrust hasn't come up with an optimal starting XI. Deploying Johnny Steele on the left made attacking down that side look more threatening, but putting Eric Alexander in the middle of the park over Peguy Luyindula didn't fix the lack of creativity there. When Luyindula stepped in, the attack was considerably more dangerous.

The Red Bulls have a tremendous amount of talent at their disposal. It just comes down to getting all the pieces to work. We've seen flashes of that, but it needs to be seen for the majority of 90 minutes.