It was not the start that the Red Bulls were looking for in the 2012 season. All the pomp and pageantry for FC Dallas at the home opener looked very bright, and they punished their opponents at every opportunity.
Failed attempts to clear the ball caused problems for the Red Bulls defense. They got properly punished in the 11th minute when a corner was not cleared at two attempts. Markus Holgersson barely got a touch on the ball and when Dax McCarty failed to lift it out, it was Zach Loyd who got the first of the season.
A bad turnover from Roy Miller in the 61st minute led to a big goal by Ricardo Villar as he sprints towards the net, found a way to chip the ball past Meara and take the two goal lead. All match long FC Dallas looked strong and dangerous, making plenty of runs that overtook defenders that looked sluggish and confused.
FC Dallas deserved their victory at home and had the look of a possible threat to break thru into the top half of the Western Conference table. Blas Perez was a great pick up as he looked dangerous all match long, from setting up chances to taking them.
For the Red Bulls, the defense and midfield sadly failed from the start. Markus Holgersson looked nervous and lost on the field at times. For the first time you saw Jan Gunnar Solli have a very poor performance as he couldn’t cross the ball. His passes weren’t sharp and the defender looked frustrated.
Roy Miller had his usual giveaways and mistakes, but the midfield was even worse. Dax McCarty just couldn’t get into his own space to create and kept on bumping into Teemu Tainio. The communication broke down and it wasn’t a club, but more like a herd of sheep in one place.
But if there are any positives from this match for the Red Bulls, it was the goalkeeper position. Fordham University product Ryan Meara passed with flying colors. I wrote in my Red Bulls preview that for the first time the keeper position was in question, but it seems that question has been answered.
Meara’s positioning was perfect all game long. He challenged every single ball and when there was that one moment he looked questionable, he answered with a fantastic save off the bomb from Perez. Meara took that ball right in the gut halfway off his line. He will be something special.
The second positive, sadly enough for Red Bulls fans, was recognizing Hans Backe’s mistake for not putting Kenny Cooper into the starting XI. When he subbed in for Dane Richards, the action picked up and Cooper pulled one back in the 78th minute. A fine cross from Henry allowed a high chip from Cooper that beat Kevin Hartman.
Thierry Henry had a chance to equalize late in the first half when he had a free kick and told referee Jair Marrufo that he didn’t want the ten yards. He caught FC Dallas napping, taking the free kick but sadly it bounced off the near post and out.
So for FC Dallas they are off to a positive start in the tough West, but for the Red Bulls questions and doubt has crept in. It won’t get any easier for them next week as they travel to Rio Tinto Stadium and face Real Salt Lake side, who got a solid win at the Home Depot Center against the Los Angeles Galaxy.