Well that was really boring.
The New York Red Bulls came out, controlled possession, and only managed a draw against Danish side HB Køge (pronounced Koo-yay for those wondering), in a game characterized by high winds and no fun.
Jesse Marsch elected to play a 4-2-3-1 formation, with mostly regular starters minus Bradley Wright-Phillips. The lineup was as follows:
Robles | Miller-Zubar-Perrinelle-Duvall | Felipe-McCarty | Zizzo-Kljestan-Sam | Grella.
Mike Grella scored a wonderful goal in the 36th minute of play. A cross from Lloyd Sam hit Felipe Martins in the back of the box, Martins tried to put the ball on net, which failed miserably. The ball then deflected off an HB Køge player and back to Roy Miller waiting behind Felipe. Miller tried to do the same thing, and after a deflection, Grella flicked the ball in the air to himself and shot the ball past HB Køge Frederick Due.
Køge's game plan was to limit the field of play, concentrating on trying to keep possession near the left side for the first half, and the right side for the second half.
The Red Bulls struggled to find rhythms of possession to start the game, and it would be choppy throughout. To call this game clean would be a massive understatement.
Both sides traded chances in the first half, with the Red Bulls' being of superior quality. Køge managed one or two corners in the first half, but the wind managed to be too much of a factor on that side of the pitch.
The second half was pretty eventless for the Red Bulls, with trialists eventually coming on as substitutes. Connor Lade, Peguy Luyindula, Sean Davis, Leo Stolz, Marius Obekop, Anatole Abang, Anthony Wallace, Anthony Jean-Baptiste, Dane Richards, and Jhon Kennedy Hurtado coming on as subs in the final 30 minutes.
The Red Bulls were one broken possession away from grinding out a "gritty" 1-0 win, but in what seemed like the span of 10 seconds Køge forced a turnover, managed to turn that into a 3-on-1 situation and Philip Zinckernagel (more on him soon) scored a screamer past Luis Robles. Thus the narrative shifts to the Red Bulls earning a boring draw.
- Køge has a few players with amazing names, and the Red Bulls should sign them because of that. How can you not want a Philip Zinckernagel, Frederick Due (who may be Freddy Adu in disguise), Kristoffer Munksgaard, or Jonas Skovengaard on your team?
- I cannot stress how much the wind was a factor in the Red Bulls' side during the second half. Peguy Luyindula tried a free kick from just outside the box, and after kicking it as hard as he could and successfully curling it over the wall, it just died. I'm talking the trajectory looked like this:
- Lloyd Sam was all over the pitch. In the first half Køge was clogging the pitch on the other side of him, so the Red Bulls would swing the ball out to his side and allowed him room to run. He also factored in on the center of the pitch. I think this is what Jesse Marsch means about Lloyd Sam becoming a complete player. He was defensively responsible, and had a great connection with Chris Duvall. They worked off each other really well especially given...
- The Left and Right Backs acted like wing-backs and pushed up really high. I love that. I think it works really well in a 4-2-3-1, but requires a LOT out of your backs. I think Miller does it well, but I hope the team signs Anthony Wallace, who in his limited role looked perfect for this.
- Peguy Luyindula is still a great footballer even when he's not in full shape. He was making crisp, really fluid passes. He wanted an assist on the winning goal. When he came into the game Kljestan shifted to the left wing for a hot second before Marius Obekop came in. If Kljestan is going to play a "10" role, then Luyindula will come off the bench, which is probably for the best given his age.
- I want to reiterate how windy it was and say that definitely factored in.
- Leo Stolz made some nice passes. I hope he gets more time to play next game. He could be something. He is wearing number 19 now if that means anything. Anatole Abang has the number 9 shirt.