No more moral victories
And, yeah, there were positives in those games. But the Red Bulls, with one of the most talented rosters in the league, went six games without a win. Positive signs are nice, but wins are the bottom line.
The team seemed to know that tonight. There was no slow start early on. They spent less time getting to know the opponent and instead focused on beating them.
And they did. A late red card to Ibrahim Sekagya and the penalty that stemmed from it gave the Philadelphia Union some life late, but the Red Bulls did enough to hold on and get the three points.
Did the Red Bulls play demonstrably better than any of their previous games? Probably not. But they got the three points and that's miles better than a dominating performance in a draw or loss.
Sam keeps impressing, while Alexander steps up
Lloyd Sam kept up his impressive 2014. In addition to scoring his first goal of the year, Sam (again) looked the most threatening player on the field.
On the opposite wing, Head Coach Mike Petke opted to go with Eric Alexander. Admittedly, this pick elicited some head-scratching, but Alexander acquitted himself nicely, assisting on both Red Bulls goals and consistently getting involved in the offense.
Injuries keep piling up
Both Tim Cahill and Armando made appearances, the latter a surprising one that only came after the aforementioned Sekagya red card.
With those two back, the Red Bulls can breathe easier, but the Red Bulls might be without Thierry Henry, who suffered an achilles injury late. Henry has been showing his age a bit this season, but his goal to put the Red Bulls up 1-0 shows he's still got a bit left in the tank. Not to mention, it was exactly what the Red Bulls needed: a breakthrough. Henry has a knack for scoring goals when the team needs them.
If he's sidelined for any significant amount of time, the team will feel it in more ways than one.