The Red Bulls came into their first midweek match as the only undefeated team in MLS. The Colorado Rapids came in with just 1 win on the year. By all measures, the Red Bull should have dominated. By all the action on the field, the Red Bulls deserved to lose this one. If it wasn't for Luis Robles and some lucky calls, it would've happened.
If you were to look at the possession numbers for the first half, you would think that the New York Red Bulls dominated the Colorado Rapids. MLS' stats separates possession into 5 minute chunks and the Red Bulls controlled all 9 of the first half, with over 55% of every single 5 minute period. The scoreline at halftime however, 1-1, told the true story.
A Gabriel Torres free kick which caught Luis Robles flat footed was the opening tally in the 25th minute. In the 30th Bradley Wright-Phillips evened it with a penalty kick after Sacha Kljestan was dragged down in the box.
Despite owning possession, the Red Bulls were not able to get another goal, especially in the run of play. Additionally, they were lucky to not have let up more chances as calls went their way. Damien Perrinelle could've easy had a yellow (or even a red) card going into halftime but managed to escape with nothing after taking down Dominique Badji.
The second half was more of the same. The Red Bulls had the majority of possession but barely got good looks at goal. The closest was Lloyd Sam's cross/shot that barely missed hitting the post after he put it in from a very wide angle.
Marsch went with offensive changes in the second half bringing on Dane Richards for Dax McCarty (73'), and Anatole Abang for Lloyd Sam (87'). The changes were for not as the Red Bulls got plenty of chances in the box but couldn't them in the back of the net.
In the end, Marsch and the Red Bulls had to settle for a draw. The team remains undefeated but they lost out on 2 points they should've easily had.
1. High Pressure
The Red Bulls' high pressure system works because teams in MLS generally can't string enough passes together to force the counter. The Rapids were able to do so on many occasions tonight with Badji getting plenty of open space with the Red Bulls' center backs trailing. Most of the time the high pressure will work to the Red Bulls favor. Tonight showed what could happen if a team breaks it. If Colorado's finishing had been better, we would be talking about a loss right now.
2. Luis Robles
Has to be the Red Bulls' man of the match. He stopped a few Badji runs by himself and saved at least two chances that should've been goals in those situations. The keeper earned his paycheck this week and the back line should be buying him dinner for a week at least.
3. Bradley Wright-Phillips
The lone striker can't do it all himself. Sure, he can drop back and create, but at some point the rest of the team has to create for him. While the team has managed to keep a streak of scoring going, if they want to win games, they have to let last season's golden boot winner actually score goals at some point that aren't penalty kicks.