Another match in the northwest of the country and another crazy night for the Red Bulls as they traveled to face the Seattle Sounders, who were looking very pleased to get Dane Richards back from Gold Cup duty. But the terrible decisions in the net went to Greg Sutton as he had a major meltdown.
It went all Sounders in two minutes as corner kicks had helped this side get their goals when Eric Friberg was at the top of the box and bent a great ball towards goal that Greg Sutton was too slow to react to. The Sounders converted it inside the far post.
Then Sutton lost focus in the next minute when Fredy Montero accidentally bumped him and wanted a foul. No whistle from referee Michael Kennedy, so Osvaldo Alonso took advantage and ripped it home. Sutton looked lost and lost his composure by not paying attention to his situation in front of him and that is something the Red Bulls couldn’t afford.
But after the Red Bulls were able to equalize in this match, Sutton got himself into more problems as he allowed a late brace from Roger Levesque. After a good save from Sutton the Sounders earned a corner and in the 67th minute it was Levesque who dipped his head down and scored while Sutton overcommitted by two steps.
Then in the 78th minute Sutton did the unthinkable. After a pass back from a defender, Sutton held the ball and showed indecision. He was looking down, trying to pass it to Roy Miller, but Levesque was right in front of him and stole it away. An easy conversion and the Sounders regained their two goal lead.
There were some positives for the Red Bulls as they regained their composure and found a way to chip the early two goal deficit. Dane Richards with a fantastic goal from just inside the area where Eric Hassli of Vancouver scored a week ago. Even though Keller got a glove on it, the ball still went in.
The second half showed the Red Bulls controlling the match and pressuring the Sounders. They equalized in the 58th minute as Jan Gunnar Solli came down the right side and forced the defenders to camp out near their goal. Solli’s cross found the left leg of Zack Scott and an own goal leveled the score.
With no Thierry Henry playing due to the red card in Portland, an injured Luke Rodgers didn’t help either. But the problem for Hans Backe right now is his keeper situation. This has been the worst he has seen from Sutton as he lost focus, composure and had no idea what to do with the ball when Levesque closed him down.
While I understand that Sutton is taller than Bouna Coundoul and has a bigger wingspan, Coundoul actually looks calmer in net and has made better decisions when he is called upon. This wasn’t what the Red Bulls needed, but to be fair sooner than later that third loss was coming.
It’s not a time for the club or the supporters to panic because the Gold Cup is about to end and when the Fourth of July weekend comes, they will have a full squad for their return to the west coast at the San Jose Earthquakes. It was a tough loss, but it’s not the end of the world.