Join Now | 
HomeAboutContact UsPrivacy & SecurityAdvertise
Soccer America DailySoccer World DailySpecial EditionAround The NetSoccer Business InsiderCollege Soccer ReporterYouth Soccer ReporterSoccer on TVSoccer America ClassifiedsGame Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalkSoccer America ConfidentialYouth Soccer InsiderWorld Cup Watch
RSS FeedsArchivesManage SubscriptionsSubscribe
Order Current IssueSubscribeManage My SubscriptionRenew My SubscriptionGift Subscription
My AccountJoin Now
Tournament CalendarCamps & AcademiesSoccer GlossaryClassifieds
Red Bulls eye rebound at home
by Ridge Mahoney, March 15th, 2013 12:26PM

MOST READ
TAGS:  mls, new york red bulls

MOST COMMENTED

By Ridge Mahoney

What's the perfect remedy melting down twice on the road to start the new season? Coming home, of course.

According to the Red Bulls’ head coach and a few players, a home opener against bitter rival D.C. United fills the bill perfectly. Speaking after last Sunday’s 2-1 loss to San Jose in which goals in the 83rd and 92nd minutes wiped out an otherwise laudable effort, they were anxiously looking ahead.

“Big, big game against D.C.,” said Dax McCarty of the Saturday match (12:30 p.m. ET) to be televised on NBC as part of a 10-hour MLS marathon broadcast by the main channel and its affiliate, NBC Sports Network. “It’s one that we’ve got to win in front of our home fans and we’ve got to get on the board.”

Coach Mike Petke lamented a second straight collapse, following a 3-3 tie in Portland March 2 the Red Bulls had led, 3-1, early in the second half. Two newcomers, Fabian Espindola and Jamison Olave, scored their goals, but a late Olave own goal resulted in a disappointing deadlock.

The Quakes were missing four injured starters, including Bash Brothers Steven Lenhart and Alan Gordon (who scored a combined 23 goals last year), yet emulated their amazing run of 2012 comebacks by striking back through rookie sub Adam Jahn’s spectacular volley to tie the game and a re-taken Chris Wondolowski penalty kick to win it.

“I’m very happy with a lot from last week and a lot from tonight,” said Petke, obviously pained by two squandered opportunities to claim his first victory in charge. “Like I said, they pushed so many guys forward trying to get that win, get that goal back, and we didn’t do a good job dealing with it. However, up until that point, I’m very happy with the way we played.”

Until Jahn’s stunning volley from a tight angle, New York took claim as the better team. Aside from a Wondolowski header that floated well wide and a few other half-chances, the Red Bulls squelched the San Jose attack and led, 1-0, on a close-range volley by midfielder Eric Alexander. But for the second straight week, New York’s breakdowns – stemming this time from a failure to keep possession as three Quakes’ substitutions ratcheted up the pressure -- undid its heretofore good work.

“It’s happened twice. The second half of both games, we’ve just caved in,” said centerback Heath Pearce, whose partnership with former RSL defender Olave is among the key changes of the Petke regime. “We haven’t withstood the pressure, we haven’t broken pressure well enough.

“The times we do break pressure, it gives us a chance to breathe and we find some good rhythm in the game. Though I thought we were in control late in the second half I still think we need to do better to hold the ball and implement our game on other teams for 90 minutes.”

The obvious guilt of defender Roy Miller -- whose handball gave away the penalty kick and subsequent encroachment provided Wondolowski the opportunity to erase keeper Luis Robles’ leg save of his initial attempt -- obscured other issues. Central mids McCarty and Tim Cahill lost their foothold in that part of the field, and the previously secure flanks were breached by subs Sam Garza and Cordell Cato, whose moves opened up space.

San Jose equalized when Sam Cronin got to the left byline and crossed to the opposite post for Jahn to finish emphatically. “It was pretty good defending, we were well-organized for 80 minutes, and then it’s a runner [Cronin] out of midfield,” said McCarty. “We don’t follow him, it’s a great ball in, and the guy [Jahn], give him credit, it’s a good finish.

“We kept Wondo in check. He didn’t have too many opportunities, if any, and then basically we hand the game to them on a silver platter in the last 10 minutes.”

A Jahn header struck Miller, standing just a few yards away, on the arm. If that incident could be deemed bad luck, no such defense could be presented for Miller’s blatant encroachment on the first penalty-kick attempt that Robles repelled. Miller subsequently admitted he’d encroached intentionally to nullify the initial PK had Wondolowski converted it, not realizing that encroachment by a defending player during a successful kick does not necessitate a re-take. In that case, the goal would have stood and he’d have been cautioned anyway.

Instead, he compounded his encroachment gaffe by gifting the league’s most prolific scorer the past three seasons (61 goals) a second chance. Publicly, at least, his coach and teammates have stood by him. Without naming names, Pearce lamented Henry’s encroachment on a penalty kick during the Eastern Conference semifinals against D.C. last November. The violation forced Kenny Cooper to re-take his successful kick, and backup keeper Joe Willis saved the second attempt as United prevailed, 1-0, to win the series on aggregate, 2-1.

“Then to give up a penalty, save it, and have to go through it again, it’s kind of like a repeat of the playoffs last year,” Pearce said. “It’s disappointing for us.”

New York can wipe away a lot of that disappointment by beating D.C. in the first of three Atlantic Cup meetings this season. Petke admits frustration at trying mold a possession-oriented team capable of withstanding pressure and riding out rough spells without conceding goals, while still grinding out results with a revamped roster. If need be, he’s more than willing to sacrifice style for points.

“This is a results business and when we’re winning in the 80th minute, I’d like to think we’re gonna have men to step up and figure it out and gut it out and get it done,” said Petke. “Whether they ran out of steam or not again, I couldn’t tell ya, but I’m proud of them for most of the game.

“At the end of the day, we’ve got to really re-think if we’re going to be a possession team, because if we can’t be, or we refuse to be, then I’m going to bring on guys who can win head balls and just hammer the ball 60, 70 yards up every game, get a flick-on, and score.”



1 comment
  1. I w Nowozeniuk
    commented on: March 15, 2013 at 6:22 p.m.
    Fom the first two games, the RB team shape has been fair to poor with too many MF & D breakdowns; off the ball runs and distributions are off key... Miller remains a liability with hands up and not closing down opponents (never did); Epindola needs better service, and Cahill with Henry need to make things happen...coach Petke needs to find the right player chemistry sooner than later.

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




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Confidential
For once, USA starts off a year just as it's supposed to    
Defensive miscues. Sloppy touches. Blown assignments. Confusion. These negative facets of play have been part and ...
Jozy shows he's still the man up front    
U.S. soccer fans have a love-hate relationship with most of their big stars. For every fan ...
Lee Nguyen on how he parlayed longer offseason into national team success    
Revs attacker Lee Nguyen got his first U.S. start against Iceland last Sunday and turned in ...
Revs' Heaps relishes competition and preaches consistency    
Aside from the apparent departure of Jermaine Jones, not a lot has changed on the New ...
USA-Canada match underscores Olympic issues for Klinsmann    
A games against Canada Friday may be the last opportunity for USA coaches Jurgen Klinsmann and ...
Christian Pulisic, 'the American Jewel,' must be protected    
I can think of 10 reasons we should be excited about Christian Pulisic. Those are each ...
Paths of Miazga and Cropper cross with both at crucial points    
An FA Cup match this weekend between MK Dons and Chelsea is a tussle between a ...
Return of Movsisyan reconnects Real Salt Lake with its rise to success    
After five years in Europe, striker Yura Movsisyan has come back to Real Salt Lake on ...
Coaches-in-training ready to whip LA Galaxy locker room into shape    
With three MLS titles in five seasons with the LA Galaxy and a scoring rate that ...
For once, some healthy signs are coming out of Toronto    
A flurry of offseason moves has strengthened Toronto FC after it conceded as many goals as ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives