Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
Red Bull Revival? Not just yet
by Ridge Mahoney, October 6th, 2011 8:44PM
Subscribe to Soccer America Confidential

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, new york red bulls

MOST COMMENTED

Sorry, I'm not yet convinced this Rise of the Red Bulls is the Real Thing.

A 2-0 victory over a depleted, exhausted Galaxy squad Tuesday at Red Bull Arena – which was full and passionate, unlike most recent performances by the team – certainly did move NYRB to within two points of the Eastern Conference lead, which says a lot more about the conference as a whole than this Ramped-up Red Bull Revival. Somehow a mark of 2-0-1 in the last three games has purified the putridity that preceded a Holy Trinity of results.

All of a sudden, the mega-team can do no wrong, setting aside the fact it has set a league record for ties (16) and has needed a recent mini-surge to get back into the playoff slots, which should be a given considering its $15 million payroll and Euro pseudo-savvy. In those categories, at least, New York is clearly No. 1!

With both teams shorn of important players because of international callups and injuries -- thanks to it being rescheduled during the FIFA fixture window, nice planning -- the match didn’t come close to being the super-power showdown promoted by the league and ESPN, but still many outlets hailed NYRB’s triumph as a grand performance. It was hardly that.

For all of the lavish praise heaped upon maligned midfielder-no-longer-a-defender Rafael Marquez, several times in the first half – before the fatigued Galaxy players more or less conked out – he played unpressured passes right to an opponent. None were exploited by a listless attack missing Landon Donovanand Robbie Keane, and were thus forgiven. One outlet raved about him actually lowering himself, literally, to win a ball with a slide tackle. What a competitor!

This is not to say NYRB is sans weapons. A team that has compiled a goal difference of plus-seven must be doing something right.

Thierry Henry leads a potent front line, Joel Lindpere heads a capable midfield, and though the back line isn’t great it has jelled somewhat with Marquez’s move to midfield (a classic case of addition by subtraction). Keeper Frank Rost has shaken off a minor injury and shaky start to silence calls for the return of Bouna Coundoul.

Marquez hasn’t been the only disappointment, though he is certainly the biggest one in the wake of a hefty DP salary and sharp criticism directed as teammates. But if he, and they, can leave that furor behind, not much else will matter. For all of them, the mantra is “buckle down and bust tail.” There’s no shortage of talent and experience; Marquez is just one Red Bull imbued with plenty of both.

After the FIFA break, New York has two more games: at Kansas City Oct. 15 and Philadelphia at home on Oct. 20. Playoff intensity should prevail. It can win the conference (possible), or fall out of the picture entirely (unlikely), or wind up somewhere in between (probable). One benefit could be if NYRB falls into a wild-card slot, it might have a week of rest for its knockout game (Oct. 26 or 27); teams playing on the final weekend will have at most a few days.

After SKC and Philly, a lot more will known about whether these Red Bulls are Ready.



0 comments
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: October 7, 2011 at 10:27 a.m.
    Marquez is an instant reminder of Lothar Matheus who had a stellar career with Bayern Munich and went into almost instant regression with the Metrostars. Rafa's problem is that quality around him is sparse and he can't get himself motivated to do some extra work, probably because of his international ego.
  1. Kenneth Barr
    commented on: October 7, 2011 at 6:50 p.m.
    Rafa Marquez should never have been moved to the back four in the first place. He is a classic link player, one who turns defense into offense. It was a mistake to play him strictly as a defender. Your cynicism about the Red Bulls is justified, given their history, but Marquez should remain at the center of midfield and that might just give this maddeningly inconsistent team the momentum it needs for the play-offs.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
Struggles of MLS Cup finalists are to be expected for smaller-market teams    
Portland and Columbus defied the odds -- and economic reality -- by reaching the MLS championship ...
Olympic women's soccer: Our winners & losers    
Olympic women's soccer left the taste of what might have been. A USA-Brazil semifinal at Maracana ...
'Cagey' Swedes deserve some credit    
The USA women fell short of the semifinals of a major tournament for the first time ...
'Worst MLS signing' Lampard is tearing it up    
A great run of form earned New York City FC midfielder Frank Lampard Player of the ...
Assessing the middle third -- of the MLS season    
Coaches and executives often speak of dividing a season - much as they do of the ...
Schmid departure starts to clear Sounders' deck for Lagerwey    
Eighteen months after joining the Sounders as president of soccer and general manager, Garth Lagerwey is ...
Toronto FC must rebound after embarrassing defeat for crucial home stand    
After an eight-game road trip to open the season, Toronto FC is in a playoff spot ...
Quakes need to build on stunning victory    
Every struggling team looks for a spark, a turning point, a shift of fortune that transforms ...
MLS Midseason Awards: Villa and the other Kamara are among the leaders    
The six major categories of awards presented each season by MLS run the gamut of experience, ...
Are U.S. women ready for another union fight?    
This should have been a good week for the National Women's Soccer League.
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives