Well all good things must come to an end. The Red Bulls' 18-game, regular-season unbeaten streak has been snapped and the team suffered its first MLS defeat of the season in a 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders.
Granted the deck wasn't exactly stacked in the Red Bulls' favor: most teams would prefer not to be the club that has to make a cross country trip to Seattle for the Sounders' home opener. It was really designed to be the kind of story they make primetime TV shows out of: the victorious team welcoming its legend Clint Dempsey back home against an opponent that nobody had beaten in league play since last July. The script wrote itself.
Jesse Marsch had the team going full throttle in the first half, which left it clearly gassed by the second.
RBNY managed to equalize in the middle of the second half thanks to Bradley Wright-Phillips' header, but by then they seemed so lethargic that they could not keep up with Seattle and got rolled over in the final 30 minutes.
The backline was simply awful. After two solid performances from Aaron Long and Damien Perrinelle, the two CBs fell back to Earth and made countless mistakes. The outside backs - Sal Zizzo and Justin Bilyeu - were just bad.
The Red Bulls now have six days to not only prepare for a home game with Real Salt Lake, but do so without the services of Sacha Kljestan, Derrick Etienne Jr, or Michael Amir Murillo - all of whom will be on international duty and unavailable on Saturday.
Here are the RBNY player ratings vs Seattle Sounders:
Luis Robles - 4
An uncharacteristically weak performance by Robles, who got sucked in to conceding a penalty by a bad back-pass in the first half, and spent much of the rest of the game fielding similarly difficult situations without great reward.
Justin Bilyeu - 4
It should come as little surprise that Bilyeu was a step down from Kemar Lawrence at LB.
Damien Perrinelle - 3
Well it looks like Perrinelle might have just played his way off the starting XI. He was mostly to blame for Seattle's first goal - or at least the circumstances leading to the penalty - and the rest of his game was an invitation to Jesse Marsch to see whether Aurelien Collin can do better.
Aaron Long - 5
One of the reasons Robles needed to get off his line so often was because of mistakes by Long and company.
Sal Zizzo - 5
Zizzo was almost solely responsible for the second Seattle goal by deciding not to kick the ball out of bounds at the endline. But he was also the guy who made the pass to BWP for the lone goal the team scored, so he does deserve credit for that.
Sean Davis - 6
Davis had a very good game, he was very active and excelled at separating Sounders players in the first half. He was less effective in the second though.
Felipe - 6
Nobody had more fouls suffered than Felipe with four, and he did a very good job maintaining possession, for the first 60 minutes at least.
Sacha Kljestan - 6
It's easy to see why Kljestan wasn't on the initial USMNT roster given how much he has struggled to keep up with younger, faster players these last three weeks.
Daniel Royer - 7
Royer's combination of speed and endurance makes him absolutely perfect for the high-press. Unfortunately his speed didn't translate into scoring opportunities as he failed to make a single shot in the game.
Fredrik Gulbrandsen - 5
It wasn't exactly a coming-out party for Gulbrandsen in his first start for the Red Bulls. Aside from a few chances created, Gulbrandsen picked up a yellow card for simulation and did little else up front.
Bradley Wright-Phillips - 7
BWP notched his first goal of the season with a picture-perfect header.
Mike Grella (for Gulbrandsen) - 5
Grella serves as a calming presence for the team, and it was his addition to the roster and smart play that helped set up the Red Bulls goal. But he faded right after and constantly gave the ball away.
Derrick Etienne Jr (for Sean Davis) - 4
Etienne was overmatched against Seattle.
Alex Muyl (for Royer) - n/a
Very little time for Muyl to make an impact.
Agree? Disagree? Leave a comment down below!