You got the feeling the moment you saw the starting XI and realized that six of the team's top players were being benched that Jesse Marsch wasn't exactly desperate for a win. Between moving former attacking midfielder Sal Zizzo to centerback and giving first MLS starts of the season to Gonzalo Veron and Michael Murillo, the team didn't seem fully committed to winning on the road against one of the best teams in MLS. Unfortunately, that perception was supported by the result: a 2-0 loss for RBNY.
The first 45 minutes went as about expected - the Red Bulls failing to maintain possession, get quality chances or make good shots. Surprisingly enough, they did manage to keep the game scoreless, thanks in large part to Luis Robles and Aaron Long.
The rest of the team was a whole lot of "meh" for the bulk of the game.
But the dam broke early in the second half, with Dom Dwyer notching his first of two goals on the night mere moments after the re-start. After Dwyer got his second goal, not even the super-subs of Sacha Kljestan, Bradley Wright-Phillips or Daniel Royer could do a thing against the home team's defense and the game ended in a 2-0 SKC win.
Here are the RBNY player ratings vs Sporting Kansas City:
Luis Robles - 7
Robles was a huge reason the team didn't give up any goals in the first half, making several brilliant saves. Sadly, he can't be in his spot AND Sal Zizzo's spot at the same time..
Connor Lade - 5
Aaron Long - 6
The very fact that the season felt over for a moment when Long was down on the ground shows how valuable he;s become to this defense.
Sal Zizzo - 3
In the first half Zizzo looked like a pretty good makeshift CB. In the second half he looked like Sal Zizzo.
Michael Murillo - 6
Not a bad debut for Murillo.
Sean Davis - 5
Yeah, Tyler Adams still looks like the better option right now.
Felipe - 5
Derrick Etienne Jr - 6
About the only guy starting up front who tried to do some defending, Etienne failed to make any impact as an attacker.
Alex Muyl - 5
Muyl seemed invisible for most of the night. If not for a shot in the 78th minute, one would have forgotten he was playing at all.
Fredrik Gulbrandsen - 4
Showed a complete disability to win a fight for the ball
Gonzalo Veron - 4
Granted he didn't exactly have the Red Bulls' A-team supporting him, but Veron didn't contribute a darn thing.
Sacha Kljestan (for Veron) - 5
The energy of the game changed when he came in - albeit briefly.
Bradley Wright-Phillips (for Etienne) - 4
Daniel Royer (for Gulbrandsen) - 4
So now the Red Bulls head back to the mid-Atlantic for a showdown with winless Philadelphia Union. Hopefully Marsch brings his top players back to the starting XI to avoid giving the Union their first win of the season at his team's expense.