After some poor form, the Red Bulls had seemed to get back to winning ways with three straight wins, two in MLS and one in the US Open Cup. With the stretch of 5 matches taking a toll on the Red Bulls, most people expect a heavy mix of reserves to be incorporated into the lineup against Columbus Crew SC. Jesse Marsch however went with a different strategy, only taken out two starters (one because of injury).
The plan seemed to work as the Red Bulls got on the board first with Anatole Abang notching his third MLS goal in the 8th minute. Columbus would equaliqize before halftime though as Ethan Finlay but a bullet past Luis Robles (who did get a finger on it) in the 33rd minute.
The second half was dominated by the Crew, who took the lead on another goal by Finlay in the 74th minute. Moments before though, the Red Bulls were calling for a handball call in the box, and the replays showed that a penalty kick should have been given.
Despite the missed PK call, the Red Bulls did not look up to the task in the second half, with the physical toll of their 3rd match in 7 days showing as they were consistently clearing the defensive line to escape pressure from the Crew. They had some chances late in the match but aside from a diving save on a Bradley Wright-Phillips header, the Red Bulls did not look dangerous. The Red Bulls now get a week off before they host the New England Revolution on July 11th.
Abang deserves to be in the Starting XI from now on. He's quickly become a must start and goals like this show his promise and value to the team.
Robles made a few saves tonight that kept the Red Bulls in the match. They may have lost but if it wasn't for Luis Robles, this could've been easily a 4-1 loss.
July 4th Curse
So the Red Bulls still have not won a match on July 4th since 2001. They still have never played a home game on our nation's birthday. Eventually one of those has to change, right?