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Red Bulls Defense Turns From Best to Worst

The New York Red Bulls have quickly gone from being the league's best defense to its worst, conceding 11 goals in its last four games after starting the regular season with just four conceded in eight. Injuries have a lot to do with that, says Michael Lewis of Big Apple Soccer, as evidenced by the use of 11 defensive starters in nine different lineups and configurations in 12 total games.

The latest goal-leaking result came at the hands of the Kansas City Wizards, pretenders to New York's current place at the top of the Eastern Conference standings with two games in hand. Regular starters Jeff Parke and Carlos Mendes were on hand for Saturday's 3-3 draw at Giants Stadium, but Todd Dunivant and Hunter Freeman were still missing. So too was defensive stand-in Dema Kovalenko.

"We're bringing back injured players too early," Arena told Big Apple Soccer. "We don't have a choice." Excuses, excuses some might say, but coaches will tell you that a solid, unchanged defensive unit is often a common thread among title-winning teams. But 11 different starters on defense in 12 games? That's got inconsistency written all over it.

Read the whole story at Big Apple Soccer »

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