The New York Red Bulls snatched a draw from Sporting Kansas City on the road in Sporting Park. It was a decent performance to open the season on, but, as always is the case, players did well and players did poorly. Herein, we grade these players, on a scale from one to 10, with no half measures, because those are for weak children.
Without further ado, the player ratings for Sunday's draw between the Red Bulls and SKC...
Luis Robles: 8
Sunday night was classic Luis Robles: When he was tested, a few times by defensive lapses, he came up big to keep his team in the game. Granted, this was made easier by SKC's inability to finish, but when they put it on frame, Robles made the save.
Chris Duvall: 6
Duvall did what it seems like new head coach Jesse Marsh is going to expect of him: Get into the attack. And when he was caught up field, he showed a good work rate to get back.
Ronald Zubar: 7
A lot of people are nervous about Zubar, and no one is breathing any easier after his injury. But the journeyman defender acquitted himself well in his MLS debut. If he can build on his debut, I'll happily eat crow over his signing.
Damien Perrinelle: 7
Ditto for Perrinelle, who had a good game at the back, too. If anything, Perrinelle was an even bigger question mark; at least Zubar had Premier League and Ligue 1 experience. Perrinelle, a career Ligue 2 guy, showed he can hang in MLS.
Roy Miller: 3
There was a time when Roy Miller was the most underrated player on the team, and one of the most underrated in the league. Sunday night, his play did not back that up. That's mostly due to the gaffes he racked up, mostly during the Hans Backe era. That was an era ago, but you'd never know watching Sunday's game. Miller went right back to his pre-Mike Petke era form. He lost his mark on the SKC goal and a lapse in concentration late almost let them win it. He made a few potentially costly turnovers, too.
It remains to be seen whether or not this is just early season rustiness, or if Petke is the Miller whisperer. If the latter is the case, then we're in trouble.
Dax McCarty: 5
McCarty wore the captain's armband for the first time as a Red Bull and his debut was...so-so. He made a few good plays in the midfield going forward, but he made a handful of bad ones, too. The clincher was the pass he made directly to a Kansas City defender late, which lead to a break and could have given the home side the win.
Something of a nondescript start for the new midfielder. He had a chance that was snuffed out by SKC keeper Luis Marin and aside from that, and some snazzy play in the center of the field with McCarty and Sacha Kljestan, there wasn't a ton else.
Lloyd Sam: 8
Early on, Lloyd Sam just wasn't getting the ball, let alone getting him the ball in dangerous places. But in the second half, the ball ended up at his feet and he did what Lloyd Sam does: Use some fancy footwork to create space. Except, instead of hitting a dangerous cross, he curled the ball into the back of the net.
Aside from that, there wasn't a ton else going on. But the goal gave the Red Bulls a point, so it was a big one.
Sacha Kljestan: 6
If a re-debut is a thing, Kljestan had one Sunday night. As mentioned earlier, he, Felipe and McCarty made some fancy plays in the midfield, but, at the end of the day, it didn't result in anything.
Mike Grella: 7
Grella didn't receive the warmest of welcomes from the Red Bulls' faithful. And who could blame them? A journeyman striker who never did much striking and passed on a chance with MLS to toil in the English lower leagues does not a popular player make. But Grella did alright in his debut, playing on the left wing. He had the right idea most of the time. His finishing lacked something to be desired, but he looked competent out there.
Bradley Wright-Phillips: 6
One of Brad Fridel's keys to the game was for SKC to limit Wright-Phillips' chances. And they did. Wright-Phillips was limited, basically, to balls over the top from the defense. And he was caught offside multiple times. You can't blame much of that on Wright-Phillips, though. The goal of the offense is to get him the ball in dangerous positions. His teammates weren't doing that, so he was largely ineffectual.
Matt Miazga: 6
Miazga nearly scored the winner, volleying a ball off the turf and just over the bar. Then he almost gave one up by misplaying a ball. But then he stood tall and deflected a shot in the same play. It isn't easy coming into the game as a defender, but Miazga, who's still inexperienced despite this being his third season as a pro, did alright.
Sal Zizzo: 4
It's always nice to have a track star or two on the bench, and bringing in the speedy Zizzo for Grella was the right move late in the game. But when the Red Bulls found Zizzo and his fresh legs with the ball, he should have done better. A prime example: Zizzo is breaking in on goal and instead of shooting, opens his body to make a pass. He had the game winner on his foot. Instead, the Red Bulls didn't even get a shot off.
Anatole Abang: Incomplete
He came on late, but didn't really have an opportunity to make an impact.