The Red Bulls have started off red hot to start 2018 with four games in the CONCACAF Champions League and the season opener at home with four big wins and a draw. But a road trip to the state of Utah have put them in a holding pattern as Real Salt Lake cooled off the visitors with a one goal clean sheet victory.
The only goal of the match came inside the 4th minute as Albert Rusnak converted a spot kick against Luis Robles. The play began as the Red Bulls conceeded a free kick about 10 yards away from the Red Bulls area.
There was jousting going on but sadly it was Carlos Rivas who was in a size mismatch with David Horst. Rivas already wrapped both his arms around Horst outside the area, but pulled him inside the area and when Horst was going down referee Ted Unkle originally called the foul and gave a free kick.
Video Assistant Referee Drew Fisher contacted Unkle to inform him he may have made an error in judgement, After Unkle made the box motion that he has been in contact with VAR, the call was changed to a penalty.
The penalty was converted inside the fourth minute by Albert Rusnak as he waited for Robles to make the first move. Robles dived to his left while Rusnak converted to Robles right and that would be the only tally of the match.
But while that was the only tally of the match, Real Salt Lake were comfortable to play bunker ball and they looked disjointed throughout the match. Unforced errors, poor passes and getting picked off by the Red Bulls were the main reasons why they didn’t look themselves.
But once again Nick Rimando was up to the challenge and while he did pick up some form of an injury to his right leg, ankle or foot area, he made two strong saves on Vincent Bezecourt in the first half and a Tim Parker flick header in the second half.
But for the Red Bulls, they weren’t firing on all cylinders in this match and it’s the lack of quality plays and quality chances that got them into this funk which gave them their fist loss in the 2018 calendar year.
“Overall not a great performance, it’s partly the altitude, partly the adding up a lot of games which has let us to perform not the way we wanted, those are excuses though and we need to learn from this.” said Jesse Marsch.
“It’s important to always make sure we play that we wanted to play and guys know their roles and we execute on game day. A little step backwards, but I told the team this is a normal step in the process and we need to get better.”
The Red Bulls once again did a little bit more of squad rotation as Alejandro Romero Gamarra finally gets his first start in MLS and both Daniel Royer as well as Bradley Wright-Phillips came off the bench towards the middle of the second half.
But at the end of the ninety minutes the Red Bulls will get back to the drawing board and get ready for their first home match against Minnesota United FC as they look to be improved and ready to go to challenge a playoff spot in the Western Conference.