The schedule is very tough this week for the New York Red Bulls after playing strong while down to ten men for the entire match against Atlanta United, and pulling out a win from their backside, they ended thier midweek clash with the W=Vancouver Whitecaps with a two goal draw.
You also knew roster rotation was going to be big last night as most of their starters were going to sit down, and prepare for their road trip to face FC Cincinnati. Yet once again these kids up to the task, and did a brave job.
But it all got started against the Red Bulls in the 29th minute as the Whitecaps found ways to beat center back Sean Nealis for converting goals. Joaquin Ardaiz was attacking down the far side and he juked Nealis to cut inside to make a nice cross which was deflected off of Kyle Duncan, but Scott Sutter with a tight angle beats luis Robles.
But eight to nine minutes later the Red Bulls converted an equalizer to level the match at one a piece. After a corner wasn’t converted Kaku was able to get the rebound, and crossed it back in the middle to Amro Tarek who headed the ball towards goal, but Brian White was there to flick the ball past Zack MacMath for his third of the season.
White created more magic on this night when he forced the Whitecaps to put the ball into their own net. In the 55th minute Kaku springs White down the near side, when he got inside the Whitecaps area, White was trying to cross the ball, but Whitecaps defender Andy Rose accidentally deflects it inside the back post and in.
VAR would play a pivotal role in the Whitecaps taking home a point as they informed referee Victor Rivas to head over to the video monitor. As Sean Nealis tried to defend a cross, he put his left arm up and handled the ball. All Fredy Montero did was convert a penalty in the 61st minute and that was all she wrote in this one.
Once again a solid first half, only to be thwarted by a not so solid second half, but this time the Red Bulls have earned points in five of the last six matches, but there is still frustration from Head Coach Chris Armas.
“So knowing that a team is going to sit back, four in the back, we suspected and we saw them play five in the back recently, so we knew that structurally, what it could look like, but tactically, that they would plug up spaces and yeah, try to catch us on the counterattack, which they did throughout the game.” said Armas “So in nights like that, in games like that, going into it to know exactly the play -- and it’s a game plan for that, and then meet the demands of that, right, which takes discipline. It takes discipline when you know exactly what it is and now can you execute.
“Listen, we probed all night long. I thought if we stuck to it even more, attacking flanks, getting guys on the move, challenging their back line, it’s going to take some guys making plays. It’s about quality of the run, quality of the ball, is it pull it back, so you don’t set up a counter-cross, reframing the box.
There’s a lot of little details that go into that that we work through and talk through, prepare for. We thought it was going to be there for us when we saw at start of the game. And credit them. They made some plays and made it hard for us. Made it hard for us.”
While this side has done well in drafting collegian talent and finding the best players with in the New York City tri-state area, sometimes they will have a poor match and it looked like Sean Nealis was struggling in this one.
“Well, the first thing I have to say about Sean Nealis is we put a big demand on him. We knew it physically, it was a quick turnaround for him. We knew that going in that that would be a challenge.” said Armas “That’s why a lot of the guys got the night off. So the starting point, yeah, and then seven backs on our team, generally get put into difficult situations, transition moments, big spaces to deal with, clever attackers.
“So that’s just not easy. So, of course, we say the defenders get judged for their bad plays, right, so he putts out 20, 30, 40 fires tonight on plays that he does well on, maybe a couple slip.
But he’s such a young player, but he gives a lot. So we’ll always look and try to learn from it, and he is -- that’s why he’s out there. He’s got courage and he’s growing quickly. But then, you know, should it be a yellow card early?
That puts him in a tough spot, too. Listen, we’re happy with Sean. We’re happy with him and we put a lot on him and we thought, yeah, it wasn’t our best night as a team, all of us. He’s going to be a good player for us.”
Now it’s time to finish the week with a solid performance at FC Cincinnati and continue to earn points in six of the last seven, while they have already moved on from Alan Koch, this will be a tough place to win with a sold out Nippert Stadium.