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3 Thoughts: Red Bulls rattled by the Earthquake

The Red Bulls gave up what should have been an easy 3 points and settled for 1.

Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

Lack of flexibility

Let's take a look at the subs used by coach Mike Petke in this game:

Minute On Off
74 Peguy Luyindula Tim Cahill (Injury)

When this game was 1-0 going into the 60-65 minute range, Petke should have been looking to make changes. The New York Red Bulls did not have a goal in the run of play and the back four was absorbing pressure that got through the midfield. This isn't a single game occurence. Petke has seemed to really adopt the Hans Backe style of sticking with the Starting XI unless necessary. You get three subs and can't take any with you, so why not use them and maximize the impact? San Jose, despite using 2 of it's subs after the 80th minute, at least used theirs. It's not a way to manage a team, and more importantly, win games.

Pedal to the Metal

The San Jose Earthquakes came in as the worst team in the Western Conference and 2nd worst in MLS as a whole. While the Earthquakes have a relatively stingy defense (1.125 goals per game coming in), there is no reason that Red Bulls, who had scored 31 prior to tonight, couldn't dominate. Bradley Wright-Phillips is the leading goal scorer; Thierry Henry is leading the assist category. These guys have been magic together, but they couldn't do anything, and like so many other games this year, the supporting cast couldn't do anything either.

Truly Pathetic Defense

In this game, the Red Bulls back four faced way more pressure than they should have. The midfield did a horrible job of keeping the pressure on the Earthquakes, but that doesn't excuse the defense falling asleep late in the game. In the 85th minute, the defense couldn't clear the ball, and Steven Lenhart took a ugly shot, but didn't what the Red Bulls forwards couldn't do, score a goal.

Bonus Point: Fall Comes Early

The Red Bulls now sit at 24 points on 20 games played. They sit only 2 points above the 6th placed Philadelphia Union. The Red Bulls have a friendly against Arsenal next week, but they will be inert for 11 days in MLS. They could see themselves sitting outside of the playoffs the next time they take the field for a MLS match.

Bonus Point 2: The Referee

I want to make this clear, the referee isn't the reason the Red Bulls dropped 2 points at home. The Red Bulls should never have been in a position to need a call. That being said, in stoppage time, Luyindula went down in the box after what looked like he got kicked in the face. Replays show he didn't, and the ref (correctly) carded Luyindula for simulation. However, when you compare it to the incident on Wednesday in Philadelphia with Maurice Edu, which should've been called, and things just seem to always go bad for the Red Bulls.