The New York Red Bulls grabbed a win away from home against the Columbus Crew this weekend. It was the team's second straight with, and a good one on the road, 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 the Crew...
Luis Robles: 8
Robles does what Robles does. There wasn't a lot he could do on the goal, and, like Shep said, if you give up enough corners, they'll score eventually. But Robles made two big saves to keep the Red Bulls in the game and grab three points against a team many picked to be near the top of the East come October.
Chris Duvall: 6
Like Robles, Duvall is Duvall. He's a young, steady hand along the back line.
Damien Perrinelle: 7
Yeah, Perrinelle got an early yellow and gave the ball away a few times, but the Columbus Crew's only goal only came on a set piece, not from open play, so that has to count for something. He's clearly overcoming physical limits -- he's not the fastest guy -- with soccer smarts, which is made all the more remarkable by the fact that MLS, and American soccer generally, loves "physical."
Matt Miazga: 7
Last season, Miazga put in a few good shifts when Mike Petke was looking for answers along the backline, but promptly followed that up with some poor play. But right now, Miazga is doing well and if Jesse Marsch is only looking for Miazga to put in a good spot shift here and there in a season where the Red Bulls won't get too many more breaks, he should do well enough.
Anthony Wallace: 4
Wallace's Red Bulls debut wasn't good. He made some bad giveaways and genuinely didn't look like he had gelled with his teammates during training. The good part here is that he's the third choice left back. The bad part is that Marsch doesn't think Connor Lade can play any better than whatever it is that Wallace did Saturday.
Dax McCarty: 7
Again, McCarty put in a good shift, as did the entirety of the Red Bulls' midfield trio. If the three can keep this up, it can only be a good team that's looking to be more of a team than the Thierry Henry-and-10-other-guys-type squad Erik Soler and Hans Backe built and Andy Roxburgh and Mike Petke had to fix. Which is no short order, since the Red Bulls don't have much in the way of rest for the remainder of the season.
For the second straight week: Felipe is proving wrong everybody who worried he couldn't put the defensive work in. Myself included.
Lloyd Sam: 7
Sam has been asked to cut inside more this season, and he's risen to the challenge. The Red Bulls' first goal looked much like a few others this season. Sam gets the ball in the box, and goes to get a shot off. The only difference being that he was fouled and drew a penalty, which Bradley Wright-Phillips converted.
Sacha Kljestan: 6
Kljestan comes and goes as the facilitator in the center of that attacking three in Marsch's 4-2-3-1. It's clearly a position he's not entirely comfortable playing in quite yet, and it shows. That said, he's committed no major gaffes and it's not as if he's being asked to do something completely out of his depth.
Sal Zizzo: 4
Unfortunately, what can be said of Sam can't be said of the guy on the other wing. Zizzo doesn't seem to be coping well with playing more narrowly. If this were last year's 4-2-3-1, Zizzo might be a player. But with this year's tactics, he's having a tough time.
Bradley Wright-Phillips: 8
Wright-Phillips' metamorphosis from Chris Wondolowski-style finisher to a creator in the Robbie Keane mold continues to great effect. First, he converts a penalty to put the Red Bulls up, then forces a turnover to set up Mike Grella to sinch the three points. One would be forgiven for worrying that Wright-Phillips would resemble a fish out of water being asked to take on the role of a more complete forward, but he's taken to it swimmingly. Puns intended.
Mike Grella: 8
I was almost tempted to give Grella a 10 for that crazy chip, but that would be grade inflation, and like that Harvard professor that gives two grades, the one that'll go on their transcript and the one they really deserved, I staunchly oppose grade inflation. That said, he scored the Goal of the Week and an early Goal of the Year candidate.
Dane Richards: 6
Richard came in to do what Richards would do best at this point in his career: Wreak havoc with his speed. He did exactly this, though one has to wonder about Marsch's insistence on pouring on the offense to protect a lead. At some point, McCarty, Felipe and Kljestan will need a rest and continually blitzing the opposing teams' defenders will probably come back and bite him at some point. They can bring on their own attacking players, and if they break the pressure, it's fresh attackers against run-ragged defenders.
Anatole Abang: Incomplete
Abang has played in every game this season, but hasn't played long enough to warrant a grade. He literally only plays stoppage time. He is the living embodiment of a kill-the-clock sub. Which, I suppose isn't a bad gig for a teenager. But still. Sub in Sean Davis or something, please.