It was about 48 hours before their match this past Sunday against FC Dallas when Juan Carlos Osorio called the players to the locker room at their training facility in Montclair State University and told everyone after practice that he wasn’t going to wait for the end of the season to leave the club. He did so at 3PM that Friday afternoon. Richie Williams who was Osorio’s assistant was tagged for the second time within four seasons of Red Bull NY the interim head coach.
Reports from training saw that he gave attention to detail for every single player individually and on the field. Barking out orders as well as trying to be encouraging on the field. So far it looks like those words finally sunk thru into their heads and gave a great performance during an afternoon where the heat and the pouring rain came down in a hot and heavy match. This was also the return of Dave van den Bergh who played two seasons last year with RBNY and was sent down to FC Dallas in the Jeremy Hall Super Draft trade.
Juan Pablo Angel got the scoring started early when Albert Celades quickly sprung him and as he got to the ball chipped a high and bending rainbow to get the club on the scoreboard and tied the record held by Giovanni Savarese with 41 goals in MLS Regular Season play. An equalizer by Dax McCarty in the 19th minute made the nine thousand plus sulked, but RBNY would pick it up in the 27th minute when Celades would spring John Wolyniec for the attack. He stopped inside the area, made a quick cross to an oncoming Dane Richards and it was a quick smack inside the net for the two goals to one lead & amazingly there was no let down inside the final five minutes of the first half.
But when the second half got started once again controversy and a feeling of not again came back in the 60th minute. RBNY with a corner kick and in the area it was Andre Rocha tangling with Kevin Golthwaite when out of nowhere an open hand half shove by Golthwait was called an elbow and a straight red sent New York down to ten men. Van den Bergh waited for his time to get revenge on his former club as he took advantage of a bouncing ball that Dane Richards tried to stop, but Van den Bergh took a wonderful strike with the left foot just outside the area and with a wicked bend, got past Danny Cepero.
Solid substitutions by Williams as he put in both Jorge Rojas & Macoumba Kandji to add more offense and somehow find a way to get more than just a single point. Two minutes left in regulation and RBNY looking for a third. Kandji attacking with the ball and takes a hard rip at the net that was stopped by Dario Sala, yet he couldn’t control the rebound and Angel waiting for the ball took a stab and scored his second goal of the match, the record breaking goal to pass Giovanni Savarese with 42 & more importantly they finally got a win after three months of pain & frustration. Friday night, May 8th a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Earthquakes at Giants Stadium was the last time this club had won in MLS play.
But going back to Richie Williams, once again this man has brought confidence and some form of stability back to the club after his first stint in 2006 when he took over for Mo Johnston from June 27th thru August 12th going 3-3-2 in MLS play but he got the club a 4th round victory in the US Open Cup on the road at the Wilmington Hammerheads with goals by Seth Stammler & Jordan Cila for a 2-1 win.
If some of you remember the Match Night website I was writing for the NY/NJ section and I wrote up an article on Williams after Bruce Arena left the head coach position with the US Men’s National Team to join RBNY as head coach and General Manager. Here is that article I wrote back in 2006.
Since Mo Johnston got fired by Red Bull after the two nil loss on the road in Chicago June 25th, his assistant Richie Williams took over on an interim basis. So far with the current results as well with the performance of the squad things have looked a lot better with the on field performance including the current three match winning streak at home against Colorado & Kansas City sandwiching their first victory on the road in Columbus, this side has left the cellar and shot up into sole possession of third place.
Williams went back to a 4-4-2 formation with the club and has gotten Amado Guevara to play better and he has given the Captain’s armband to him so his performance looks like its back when he came over in 2003. Marvell Wynne is finally getting a chance to perform with the way he attacked the Columbus defense and made several good crosses. Giving a chance to both Joe Vide & Jerrod Laventure and so far Laventure has repaid that faith with a goal and an assist in five matches coming off the substitute’s bench. Jon Conway has also earned Williams confidence and gained valuable time in net with the staff infection to Tony Meola’s right leg has given the club a chance to win and all three victories have been clean sheets.
It looks to me that Richie Williams can become a head coach in the future and maybe somewhere in the far future if he can get the results he needs to lead a club to a championship, possibly a future candidate as a head coach for the US Men’s National Team. You can scoff at me and write up as much negative comments as you want, but this man looks like he has passed Bruce’s school of head coaching to a tee and maybe one day, when Arena does decide to giving up the Head Coaching position for Red Bull NY and keep the Manager of Soccer Operations title he could hand the reigns to Williams. I wouldn’t mind it and in such a short period of time Richie Williams to me has already deserved a chance on a full time basis. He has earned the confidence from his players and it shows on the field that they are creating many chances as well as helping out the keeper with the defense.
We are all happy that Bruce Arena has decided to take both positions as Manager of Soccer Operations and Head Coach of the club. He will take over the reigns on the field during the clubs friendly against Barcelona on August 12th, but I have to say that Williams looks like a version of a mini Bruce and he already has the respect of his players and quickly from the supporters as well.