The Red Bulls were excelling in these last five in six games which lasted two weeks before heading on the road to try and finish on a flourish. Seeing head coach Jesse Marsch using his depth as much as he can to give proper rest and to use certain players to play and help attack the opposition. There next game was on the road at the Columbus Crew and the last time they were in the state capital of Ohio it was a Mike Grella long floating rip that beat Steve Clark for the full three points.
It looked like it was going to happen again as the rookie sensation from Cameroon Anatole Abang is on a role and gets great support from Bradley Wright-Phillips as he was marked by Emanuel Pogatetz and in the 8th minute Abang on a sever angle finds a way to beat Clark and nestles the ball inside the far post for the early lead once again. His third in league play and fourth in all competitions, Abang continues to amaze and play well with his veterans.
But another alarming moment from the Red Bulls as they broke down on a play once again that plagued them from their US Open Cup victory against the New York Cosmos as the keeper would start the goal from distribution. Clark took his goal kick and the ball floated all the way across down the field finding Kei Kamara who would head the ball to a wide open Ethan Finlay and he bent the ball towards the far post and in for the equalizer in the 33rd minute.
In the 5th round match against the Cosmos the Red Bulls were beaten on the ground, this time they were beaten in the air and the concerns about the defense were back. You can see in the middle of the second half that the visitors were starting to tire and even though Jesse Marsch tried to bring in fresh legs it wasn't enough as Finlay earned his second of the match in the 74th minute by heading in the cross from Kamara once again to get the full three points.
But damage has been done by referee Juan Guzman as he refused to give the Red Bulls any spot kicks in the second half as there were two separate times the ball was handled inside the Columbus area by Waylon Francis. The first one came in the 64th minute when Lloyd Sam attacked down the right side and Francis was inside his area, As soon as Sam made the cross to the middle Francis stuck out his left arm and the calls for handball weren't coming.
Late in the 2nd half another chance for the Red Bulls to equalize went away as it looked like Francis who was helping Clark at the far post also got his arm for a second time and handled the ball and that wasn't called. Marsch was furious in his technical area and yelled at both the head referee and the 4th official, that's when he got his marching orders and was sent to the showers and he will now be suspended for the home match against the New England Revolution either managed by Denis Hamlet or Chris Armas.
But while this loss was a bit difficult for some to take, the truth is that the Red Bulls had a successful two weeks of games that has put them at the top in this area. Let's remember that it started with a US Open Cup win against the Atlanta Silverbacks of the NASL, then a lopsided loss to the Vancouver Whtiecaps. A mid week win at home against nine men Real Salt Lake, then two consecutive wins at Yankee Stadium against NYCFC and then a 5th round win at home against the Cosmos.
This match was going to be a difficult one as it ended six consecutive without a break and the truth is that you were hoping for a big road draw, but it never came and while I understand no one likes to see this stretch end with a loss sadly it was bound to happen. But the truth is that the play has been improving and all the players are communicating a lot better, they went 4-2 including their two US Open Cup wins that has given them a Quarterfinals birth against the Philadelphia Union.
Dax McCarty who played five straight wasn't available due to a coaches decision to give him a break and get refreshed for New England this coming Saturday. That will be a wild one again at Red Bull Arena as the club is trying to continue their winning ways and hope not to take a step back like they did during their four game losing streak and winless in five stretch.