The Red Bulls re-enterd league play with a big road game inside the capital of Ohio as they faced the high flying Columbus Crew. After taking out NYCFC in the US Open Cup, the club was able to right a poor opening forty-five and got a massive road goal at Maphre Stadium.
Vincent Bezecourt suffered a right leg injury early in the first half after he colided with a Columbus attacker. That sub forced Jesse Marsch to change up his game plan for a bit, but you could see the midfield getting torn apart and that finally allowed the Crew to earn the opening goal.
in the 26th minute Gyasi Zardes earned his 10th of the season as he poked home the opening goal. Federico Higuaín brought the ball up the field and laid it off beautifully to Harrison Afful. A nice cross that saw Zardes wide open and when Aaron Long tried to play the ball, it was too late and a snap header got the Crew the advantage.
After the needed halftime break came and went the Red Bulls were able to get back into the match and they looked strong and solid attacking the ball. That’s when a foul was called in the 57th minute and it gave the Red side a chance to equalize with a set piece.
Marc Rzatkowski who subbed into the match for the injured Bezecourt was able to deliver a perfect ball on the set piece. Along the near side he bent the ball into the middle of the field and Alex Muyl found a seam where he leaps for the ball and heads it in for the equalizer.
The first half for the Red Bulls saw them melting in the hot weather till the storm came over and threatened to delay the match, but the cloud cover did give some escape and thankfully the storms never threatened the entire game.
“The way the guys found some form of energy to finish off the first 45 minutes was inspiring, but that being said, as I was walking in, I saw that the cloud cover was coming, and I just knew it was going to be a different half in the second half.” Said Luis Robles.
“Columbus gave us their best, and yet, we’re in a decent position to get a result, and that’s what halftime was about, regrouping, not only tactically, but physically. You really have to applaud what the guys gave in the second half, because even 1-1 feels not enough for us. It felt like we still had an opportunity to even get all 3 points, and yet, the one thing that really was the highlight of the whole thing, is that Hassan [Ndam] continues to play well, continues to grow in confidence, and even got more minutes.”
You do see Hassan Ndam improving and getting confidence when he is on the field. He is now giving center back depth with Tim Parker away on National Team duty and also giving Aurelien Collin a break and not being over used.
Yet once in a while Ndam does jog towards the center circle into the midfield when he abandons his center back partner in Aaron Long and he can’t continue to do that. Ndam needs to remain on the backline to prevent goals during the run of play.
But overall what were the thoughts of Jesse Marsch? “First half was tough, it was hot and we were chasing a lot. We created a couple moments, but we defended a lot more. It was a lot due to fatigue.” Said Marsch.
“When we came in at halftime we made a couple of adjustments tactically and then just challenged the guys to really be up for the challenge; to really put as much as they have into it for each other; to dig in as deep as they possibly could.
We said that when we build a good team around here it’s not for the easy games when we are up 3-0, it is for when the games are tough; when your backs are against the wall, not getting a lot of calls, when the heat is against you, when you are down a goal.
I thought then the second half was outstanding and we were a little unlucky not to come away with a win. I am really proud of our guys and I think it is a really good lesson about how to stick with it, stick with the game. We will take this point and move forward and be ready for the next challenge.”
So now the Red Bull will gear up for another mid-week match up in the League as they return to Red Bull Arena and get ready for the Seattle Sounders, then they travel down to Chester to face the Philadelphia Union the following Saturday in the 5th Round of the US Open Cup.