The New York Red Bulls opened their 2019 League campaign on the road to Columbus, Ohio, as they were prepared to take on the Columbus Crew and wreck their celebration as the #SaveTheCrew hash tag was a reality inside the state Capital of Ohio.
After a make shift starting eleven was given a chance while the majority of starters were being rested for the Quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League, the Red Bulls came away from Columbus Crew Stadium with a one goal draw.
The Red Bulls scored early in the 6th minute as a red hot Andreas Ivan found a way to score a goal in his second consecutive game. Along the far side Michael Murillo passed the ball to Florian Valot, who crossed a beautiful ball to the middle of the Crew area.
As the ball was coming down, it looked like Harrison Afful was able to leap up and either head the ball away, or shot the ball into his own net. But it was Ivan who actually headed the ball into the back of the net as Afful missed it completely.
From subbing into the second half of the CONCACAF Champions League and converting his first Red Bulls goal, to now scoring in two consecutive matches and two goals in all competitions, Ivan has looked great.
But late in the first half the Red Bulls conceded and allowed the Crew to equalize. After all the corners were allowed to be given to the Crew, the Red Bulls gave an unforced corner, that allowed Federico Higuaín to deliver from the far side.
Once the ball was crossed from the corner Gaston Sauro was able to get into position and got a touch on the ball off his right shoulder, that was deflected off the head of Murillo and past Luis Robles in the 41st minute.
But after the first half ended, the Red Bulls knew that had to find a way to try and earn the lead again, but they already started to make subs to prepare themselves for the next two to three days as some starters were being replaced to prepare for their Champions League match against Santos Laguna.
The Crew made a late surge near the end of the second half and who was there to make sure the visitors were going to keep that road point, but the Captain in goalkeeper in Luis Robles, as he made two huge saves by getting a touch on the ball, to taking a hard challenge from Gyasi Zardes.
But after the full ninety minutes and five minutes of stoppage time was exhausted, the Red Bulls were able to head back home with a smile on their faces. But sadly there is an issue that has started to plague the Red Bulls and that is the play of Michael Murillo.
While he has been performing well, there has been a lot of mental breakdowns that we have seen at the start of this season that has already been concerning. The first booking he received at Club Atletico Pantoja by pulling his man down from behind.
The second booking he received in the second leg where he lost his cool at the referee which has given him a one match suspension towards the first leg of the Quarterfinals of the Champions League, and now poor decision making where he allowed Justin Meram to flop down and earn a free kick in a dangerous position.
If Murillo isn’t careful head coach Chris Armas may have to sit him down for a match or two, to try and collect his thoughts, because he is such a talented player who can’t continue to make these mental mistakes that gets him off his game.
But after the match Chris Armas spoke to the media after the match. “We know Columbus well. Once again they are a well coached team and you see already Caleb (Porter) imprint on the team.” said Armas “They play with a lot of passion and they had ideas with and without the ball, they were impressive.
“It’s a tough building and we put in a lot of different guys on the field and some guys who have a lot of experience in who we believe in. 1-1 on the road, you give up a set piece goal which was a bit disappointing, but most proud of sticking with it and trying to earn the three points.”
Now it’s time for the Red Bulls to get back into the CONCACAF Champions League where they await Santos Laguna for the first leg this coming Tuesday, then a road trip to Torreon at the Estadio Corona in the second leg of the Quarterfinals.