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 Donovan and 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
Dempsey: Qualifying for the World Cup is bigger than breaking scoring records    
In his bid to "stay relevant" and in the plans of national team head coach Bruce ...
Bruce Arena makes the USA fun to watch    
Before Friday's game against Honduras, I wondered whether the U.S. national team would bring joy to ...
Michael Bradley: USA prepared 'to tilt the bar in our favor' early against Honduras    
As they train in San Jose for a crucial Hexagonal match against Honduras on Friday, the ...
Next move for Real Salt Lake is the most crucial in a decade    
The history of RSL is one of remarkable stability -- just three head coaches since starting ...
U.S. roster announcement: Bruce Arena's return marked by a singleness of purpose    
Multiply the left-back debate with a few more positions each with several candidates and you'll have ...
Quakes encouraged but not giddy after impressive opener    
Four seasons without playoffs has left the fervent fans in San Jose discouraged, but a ray ...
MLS 1-22: Ranking the teams on the eve of a new season    
Eight different teams have played in the last four MLS Cup finals and last year, 2015 ...
Random thoughts as the MLS season draws near    
The 2017 MLS season starts next Friday, March 3, more than a month earlier than the ...
Walker Zimmerman joins the U.S. centerback pool with solid performance    
Two FC Dallas centerbacks were summoned to the first U.S, camp of 2017 and after Matt ...
Rare USA golazo inspires some hope    
One swallow doesn't make a summer, but the USA delivered something impressive with its goal in ...
>> Soccer America Confidential Archives