Before yesterday’s road match at Rio Tinto Stadium for the New York Red Bulls, the discussion during the week in training was the difficulty in breaking down Real Salt Lake. Since 2008 season in the regular season, and the Western Conference Final was the last time this club scored in Utah.
That trend continued as the Red Bulls once again tried to break thru and couldn’t on this Jason Kreis side, falling 2-0. Everything looked good in the first half until a bad giveaway led to the first goal of the game. In the 39th minute a bad ball by Victor Palsson allowed Luis Gil to spring Fabian Espindola and beat Ryan Meara through his legs.
At the time it looked like Espindola was in an offside position when the cross was made, but on a better angle Roy Miller kept Espindola onside and it was off to the races. Then more problems arose on defense for the Red Bulls as they couldn’t help their young keeper again.
In the 58th minute RSL was on the attack again. A great cross into the area found Espindola again, but his shot was stopped by Meara. The loose rebound was there for Gil to score, while the defenders were floundering around. Miller, who was close to the ball, reacted late and allowed Gil to score.
Once again, Jason Kreis has found ways to keep the Red Bulls away from their goal and frustrate them thoroughly. Certain players who were in the starting eleven were replaced by new ones due to injury. But to be fair, Kreis has had this team playing well for five straight seasons.
Meanwhile all you can do is point at the little positives. Ryan Meara did well in goal again and is clearly the starting keeper for this team. Markus Holgersson had a better second game than his first in Major League Soccer. Sadly, the problems have been coming from Head Coach Hans Backe.
While it’s clear he is waiting for Luke Rodgers to make his return from England with his visa issues, it seems to me that he is forsaking Kenny Cooper as a starter. Juan Agudelo, the supposed future of the club, got the nod over Cooper at FC Dallas last week, but did not play well.
Backe this week turned to a 4-5-1 formation with Thierry Henry as the lone striker. Cooper came off the bench again at the start of the second half. Mistakes have led to these earlier problems and unfortunately, Backe doesn’t want to fix those said problems. What would really work is to have a creative, central midfielder, but they appear to be waiting for the summer window to address that concern.
Right now, there are too many holding or defensive midfielders clogging up the middle. They lack creativity and after a fantastic 2010, it has all fallen apart with the sacking of Richie Williams and Des McAleenan. The Red Bull fan base is a ticking time bomb ready to explode, and they don’t care. Backe & General Manager Erik Soler must fix this problem at once, or they must be sacked.
The start to 2012 has been a travesty, and has already started to stink. If it continues on this kind of poor form, then expect new blood to come in either from an American Coach, or a former international coach that knows MLS from top to bottom.