The New York Red Bulls fell to 4-3-5 on the season on Sunday, thanks to a late goal from substitute Chad Barrett. The goal completed a second half turnaround for the Sounders, who had gone down 1-0 in the first half thanks to a Lloyd Sam header.
The loss extends the Red Bulls' winless streak to 3, with the last two matches being losses to Philadelphia and Seattle respectively. While the loss to Philadelphia proved to be a lesson to the rest of the league on how to beat the high pressure system, this week's loss hammered the lesson home.
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Despite the loss, there are still positives that can be taken from the match. While the team still has yet to score more than two goals in a match this season, they did become the first team to score on Seattle in 338 minutes.
"Nothing's changed," said Bradley Wright-Phillips after the loss. "We take a lot of positives from the games we've lost, the games we've drawn, and the games we've won."
The Red Bulls are still in third place in the Eastern Conference with 17 points and 12 games played, and as usual, they have a few games in hand to catch up to New England (21 points, 14 games played) and D.C. United (28 points, 15 games played).
The Houston Dynamo, on the other hand, currently have 17 points, which is the same amount as RBNY, but also have two more losses than Jesse Marsch's squad. While this would be good enough for 4th place in the Eastern Conference, the Dynamo are sitting in 8th place, right outside the playoff picture. To say the least, the return to the Western Conference has been rough on Houston.
Nevertheless, the past few weeks have been kinder to Houston than they have been to RBNY, although not by much. Houston are 1-2 in their last three games, compared to the Red Bulls' 0-2-1.
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Houston's last outing was in a 1-1 draw against NYCFC. As the scoreline suggests, it was tightly contested affair with possession closely split at 51.3%-48/7% in NYCFC's favor. Houston was content to settle for the draw, especially given that it was an away fixture for Owen Coyle's side.
Who To Watch
Houston: Giles Barnes. Giles Barnes is the obvious man to watch for Houston, and rightly so. The forward is responsible for a large share of Houston's goals, with 6 goals and 1 assist. The numbers don't tell the full story. Barnes has just about done it all for Houston, from free kicks to long runs down the length of the field.
RBNY: Jesse Marsch. While it might seem a bit odd to include the coach as the man watch, Marsch has seen his side slip from 3-0-4 to 4-3-5 in the span of a month. While the Red Bulls haven't been getting blown out either, Marsch must be feeling some pressure from fans to make changes.
- The Red Bulls haven't lost three times in a row since last May, with their last loss of the streak being served up in a 2-1 loss to the Portland Timbers.
- Houston has scored 12 of their goals at home, but only have a home goal difference of +1. BBVA Compass Stadium has been anything but a fortress for the Dynamo.
- The Red Bulls have not lost in their last seven regular season meetings with Houston, outscoring them 18-3.