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Red Bulls 2nd Half destroys NYCFC Wins series

Two sides once again get ready to duel as they are trying to either even up the scorecard or take a full advantage on the first ever season series of this Hudson River/NYC Rivalry. Coming to the big ballpark in the Bronx the Red Bulls are finally playing on this field that opened in 2009 to a World Series title against the Philadelphia Phillies.
NYCFC won the last three games and started to look strong when the opening whistle blew by referee Mark Geiger and right away they started to boss the Red Bulls with an solid start. A 6th minute tally by Thomas McNamara as he beat Luis Robles to the near post and the left field bleachers went crazy along with the whole stadium as this was a quick answer at who might be running the show.
But after that goal you saw the Red Bulls continue to get into the game and play better & better with some solid runs, solid defense and when they looked threatening it was Josh Saunders who made some solid saves and the you can tell that the second half was going to be a bit different. First came the substitution during half time as Ronald Zubar was subbed out for Damien Perrinelle and then the goals were coming and the Red Bulls took advantage.
Bradley Wright-Phillips was able to cash in on a fantastic cross by Sacha Kljestan from the near side as he smacked it home top shelf to level the score at one a piece and now has three goals in two matches against the upstarts in the Bronx. The original ball came to Wright-Phillips but couldn't get a handle on it till he laid it off to Kljestan and got into position in the 47th minute. But five minute later it would be the defenders to get their names on the score sheet.
Red Bulls earned a free kick in the 52nd minute and it was bent inside the NYCFC area but headed away, Mike Grella would hustle to get the ball back and then crossed it in deep as Anatole Abang headed it back to Chris Duvall and he goes top shelf to earn his first professional goal in his history. It would be a two goals to one lead as Duvall celebrated running towards his bench and getting hugs from his teammates to take the lead so quickly.
Matt Miazga has been gaining a lot of confidence since he started to get some great minutes in the CONCACAF U-20 Tournament, took over for Ronald Zubar who was hurt for most of the season and qualifying for the FIFA U-20 World Cup and playing some solid games as a Center back. This time all that great play has paid off and was rewarded with his firt professional goal on another set piece.
Kljestan on the far side took the free kick near the NYCFC area and as he crossed it Miazga tracked the ball perfectly and headed it inside the near post and surprised Josh Saunders and the celebrations were on as Miazga ran towards third base of Yankee Stadium and gave a Home Run swing. After everything he had to go thru last season with the Red Bulls and all the work he has put into this season, a true reward by scoring his first goal as a professional.
When the final whistle blew over 2,200 Red Bulls fans who were a part of the sold out 48,047 fans that filled up the new Yankee Stadium would see their side celebrate this big achievement for the club and the first two matches of this short but exciting rivalry. Now there are two days of physical & mental rest for the Red Bulls as they will be hosting another New York City area team in the NASL's Cosmos in the 5th Round of the US Open Cup and that will be just as intense as it was in the big ballpark in Bronx for this Sunday.

Red Bulls break the winless streak and defeat 9 men Real Salt Lake

Finally three points have come the Red Bulls way, finally a losing streak that has been a big thorn in their sides has been pulled out and the club can move forward thinking about their next match which will be not to far away in crossing the Hudson & Harlem Rivers to Yankee Stadium in three days. But before the thought of that game will be discussed, let's take a look at how the Red Bulls defeated Real Salt Lake by a goal to nil.
Another early goal that gave the Red Bulls an early lead and stuck by it to get the three points as they converted in the 4th minute on a well worked goal that got started going down the near side. When the initial pass was blocked Bradley Wright-Phillips got the ball and sprung Kemar Lawrence who got the ball and when he was near the area crossed it to Sean Davis who tried to slot it inside the far post, but Mike Grella came in to smack it home for his fourth of the season in the 4th minute.
From that point on the Red Bulls were able to continue to press Real Salt Lake and earn the win in six tries as they broke a four game losing streak and winless in five. They were gifted by two red cards from referee David Gantar as Real Salt Lake finished the match with nine men. Javier Morales who somehow survived not earning a second yellow in their last match at Rio Tinto Stadium on Sunday night on a terrible challenge against Sporting Kansas City was sent off in the 40th minute as the last defender.
With Felipe attacking down the near side of the field Morales hustled back to help his defender and when he slid to tackle the ball away, he got Felipe instead and while Gantar never blew his whistle on the challenge his fourth official Jose Carlos Rivero gave instructions on the headset to blow his whistle and give Morales his walking papers.
Then Real Salt Lake went down to nine men 10 minutes after the 2nd half began as Demar Phillips came in on a hard tackle and brought down Connor Lade, but to be fair the card was not correct, yes it was a hard challenge and yes studs were showing. But that challenge was not a red card at all, but at the end of the night the Red Bulls went home winners. 
"I thought that we were on top of the game from the start, getting an early goal always helps." Said Marsch, "Overall I thought we handled the game pretty well. They weren't really ever able to threaten us except for set Pieces, but overall we played well and it's great to stop the bleeding."
When it came to the young guys getting a chance Marsch was als pleased with their play. "Abang showed flashes of some really good stuff like we know he has. He's still a little bit raw so his sense of how to see the line and stay onside, how to not just think about plays for himself but how to make a final pass as well to set the next guy up. But overall I think the two defenders for Salt Lake would say they had a hard time on him. And then Sean (Davis), we played him at attacking mid, left mid, right mid & left back today. So he's very versatile, a very smart player, he's got great qualities and the reason why we can put him in so many spots is because we trust him."
Now the club can rest up and get ready for their next game which will be in the big ballpark in the Bronx, go to see a soccer game inside a baseball stadium will be interesting and we shall see if the Red Bulls can take two straight from the upstarts that claim they represent the city.

Red Bulls getting ready for Beckerman-Less Real Salt Lake.

That was a very bad loss by the Red Bulls, but the truth was that the energy and determination was still out there for the side that was down a man against the Vancouver Whitecaps and still made a game out of it when Anatole Abang scored his second goal of the season. But when you discuss the next game for the Red Bulls it still doesn't get any easier when you have a solid Real Salt Lake side flying over after their national televised game on Fox Sports 1 against Sporting Kansas City this past Sunday. 
The late dramatic win against a tough Sporting Kansas City side, flying over in a short amount of time, crossing over two time zones and getting ready for a team that will play or is playing five games (four at home & two US Open Cup games) within these two and a half weeks. That means while there won't be any gimmes as the Red Bulls have to end this slide right away. 
That means it falls on the shoulders of head coach Jesse Marsch to try and fix these problems before it truly becomes too hot to handle and that great start of the season slips away. "I think that there are certain guys who showed are hungry, but we won't change our philosophy. We need to win pretty, or ugly or just go out and take it to Salt Lake." He's also seen the kids who have played well in their USL Team that are showing well and are very strong on the ball. "We have seen guys like Anatole Abang, (Sean) Davis, and (Manolo) Sanchez taking advantage of their situation and they are hungry for it and now wants to make a claim to the first team." 
But the real question is how do you find a way to get out of this negative rut as the club has lost four straight and gone winless in five. The loss against the Whitecaps was the lowest point of this current season and Jesse felt the same way. "Brutal. There's no feeling sorry for ourselves, there's no looking back. We know we need to compete at a higher level, players are in but now we need to convert these performances into results." 
Captain Dax McCarty has echoed the same thing as Jesse has and he was very honest in his assessments of what needs to change. "We've been leaking some pretty soft goals in the last couple of games and we need to play with a little more urgency. The alarm bells have been ringing and we need to be a little bit meaner and a team that needs to step it up. If we need to play cynical or play like Bastards then that's what needs to happen." 
Kyle Beckerman earned a yellow card in the last match against Sporting Kansas City and will be suspended on accumulation, would that have any effect on Dax's thoughts? "I don't really care how dangerous he is with them in the midfield, because he won't be there to be dangerous since he's suspended. We all know he's a great player and we have respect for him and has been doing it for a long time. We know he will be missed by Real Salt Lake."
But Sacha Kljestan will also be missed as he will serve his red card suspension, which is why it looks like Sean Davis might be in Jesse's plans to get the nod in midfield either coming off the bench or possibly start, but we shall see what happens as the match is coming very quickly on Wednesday.

Red Bulls go winless in five edged by Whitecaps

Coming off a big win in the 4th round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup against the Atlanta Silverbacks, the club was ready to right the ship in league play as they took on a tough and talented Carl Robinson Vancouver Whitecaps side that has been playing very well and is in the top three in the Western Conference standings. Chances for the Red Bulls came early on the good and the bad. 
First chance for the home side came at the 4th minute when Sal Zizzo was tripped up inside the area and referee Jorge Gonzalez pointed to the spot. Bradley Wright-Phillips who has been perfect converting from the spot going eight for eight got stopped by David Ousted going to his right, replayed showed Ousted stepped off his line a bit early but none the less he did prevent Wright-Phillips from scoring. 

Then the home side went down to ten men as Sacha Kljestan got a straight red card in the 11th minute as he was tussling with Kendall Waston in the area and threw an elbow that never made contact. Then he tried to trip up Waston and when that didn't work Waston fell down and Gonzalez went back pocket to send off Kljestan who was not happy about it and put his behind the eight ball for 79 minutes. "It was a stupid play by me and I take full responsibility for it." Said Kljestan, "Waston is hugging me in the box and he's holding me so I threw an elbow towards him to get rid of him. It didn't connect but I need to take responsibility for it and I apologized to my teammates at half time." 

The Whitecaps took advantage and four minutes later it was a fantastic cross down the right side by Steven Beitashour who found Kekuta Manneh down the middle who side foots the ball past Luis Robles for the opening goal of the match. Their second goal came late in the 2nd half around the 77th minute as Kianz Froses and the Whitecaps went on a counter and slotted the ball past Robles right side and converted inside the far post for the two goal lead, but the Red Bulls did pull one back with another quick strike by Anatole Abang as he side footed a Chris Duvall cross five minutes later. 

But it wasn't enough as the Whitecaps continue to vex the Red Bulls since they came into the league back in 2011 and win for the first time at Red Bull Arena by a final of two goals to one. This game had tons of chances for the Red Bulls to try and equalize this game and nothing was going their way. The club also got a second penalty attempt and when it was called in the 64th minute Wright-Phillips did not blink an eye, he wanted to take the spot kick again & Ousted guessed correctly and made another huge save to keep the one goal lead at the time till Froses doubled it later. 

Jesse Marsch looked dejected and feeling defeated on this current bad stretch of losing four straight and winless in five league matches. "We need to continue to find ways to have good starts, to grab control of games, I don't think I've ever been apart of teams that can't seem to control the game and come out losers. The biggest positive was that we had a better second half after a nervy first after (Sacha) Kljestan was sent off. But I have to take blame for what's going on with these results and I will work hard to right the ship."
In the middle of the 2nd half the South Ward started to chant Michael Petke's name and while it wasn't loud enough, the stirring has started and if the club can't fix these issues before the match this coming Wednesday at Real Salt Lake, those Petke chants will be louder and louder and who knows what will happen next.

Red Bulls Down Silverbacks in US Open Cup

After taking a good week and a half break from League action and not having certain results going your way, the Red Bulls were ready and refreshed to face an opponent outside of Major League Soccer as they hosted the NASL’s Atlanta Silverbacks who just finished their shortened Spring Season in last place with only one win.

The Red Bulls wasted no time what so ever as they got on their horse and started to attack when the opening whistle blew and in the seventh minute it was Lloyd Sam who converted a great chance from his friend Bradley Wright-Phillips. It was a looping ball from Dax McCarty that found Wright-Phillips in the area and when he collected it and turned around, Sam was yelling for it so he laid it off and a thunder strike by the former Leeds United man found the back of the net.

Eight minutes later the Red Bulls quickly made it two goals to nil and the man who finally was able to get back on the pitch to get his first goal with the club was Ronald Zubar who has been struggling with a hamstring injury since the season opener at Sporting Park. Red Bulls get a corner on the near side & Felipe crossed it towards Dax McCarty, who laid it off to Sacha Kljestan. The shot was saved by former Colorado Rapids Keeper Steward Ceus, but the rebound was spilled to Zubar who smacks it home.

After the goal you can see how happy Zubar was as he ran in front of the goal and headed towards Jesse Marsch and gave him a big hug, thanking him for not giving up on him with this terrible leg injury and giving him 45 minutes to play.

When you talk about the Red Bulls teams that have done well in the academy system and now with their USL Red Bulls 2 team, you wondered who’s going to take the next step and show what he is worth and that player is Sean Davis. He was able to put the final nail in the Silverbacks coffin when Wright-Phillips got the ball towards Mike Grella and when the Glen Cove native found Davis, it was a quick back heel flick and Davis ripped his chance inside the far post. Even though Ceus did get a touch on the ball, it wasn’t enough as the Red Bulls not only win this US Open Cup match handedly, it was the first time they finally scored three goals in a single match.

Even though the Silverbacks showed good effort, it just wasn’t enough for them to make a dent against the MLS side and even with Hans Denissen who subbed into the match in the middle of the 2nd half and is always a dangerous player when he starts or subs in. But this time around he couldn’t get the Silverbacks on the score sheet and the Red Bulls advance to the 5th Round of the US Open Cup.
At the moment the Red Bulls don’t know who their opponent will be as the draw will be seen live on US Soccer’s website at 11AM Eastern, 10AM Central, but step one is complete for Jesse Marsch’s side and now the club is back in league action this coming Saturday against the Vancouver Whitecaps.

Second half melt down dooms Red Bulls in Houston

The situation is getting ugly and now it's getting close to frightful. Another lead at halftime goes down the tubes and this time it was a four goal drubbing in the second half by the Dynamo that were helped by Red Bulls deflections. After a well worked Mike Grella goal that got the Red Bulls a late lead towards the end of the first half, some fans didn't feel confident they would hold it or extended it and they were right.

Oscar Boniek Garcia who subbed into the start of the second half had a gift of a chance in the 59th minute when his shot was deflected off the boot of a defender and sadly caught Luis Robles away from his line and the rotation on the ball slowed up in the air and gently landed inside the net. After Ricardo Clark's first goal was disallowed because he grabbed Dax McCarty's jersey inside the area, he got a second bite of the cherry in the 72nd minute.

Boniek Garcia took a  corner from the far side of the field and crossed it into the NY area and Clark was able to break away from the pack and slipped in behind them to take his shot one time and beating Robles for the two goals to one lead, Will Bruin was able to convert two goals to seal the victory as his tightrope run along the top line of the New York area and shot once again took a deflection and beat Robles far post in the 80th minute and converted on a quick break in second half stoppage time.

The only consolation prize the Red Bulls took into this match was the first MLS goal for Cameroonian Striker Anatole Abang who has been doing a lot better for the USL Bulls converting his chances and working well with Derrick Etienne in the lower levels. But while that's all fine and dandy, at the moment the MLS Bulls are in a three game losing streak and winless in their last four.

Right now Jesse Marsch is in a situation that I believe he needs to fix or if you are looking at Ali Curtis, he needs to hit his phones and hit them hard to find someone who can come in and improve the squad right now because this isn't a bump in the road anymore, it's becoming a hole that is quickly starting to open and while they are getting a week and a half break before their US Open Cup match against the NASL's Atlanta Silverbacks facing a two strong Western Conference opponents in the Vancouver Whitecaps & Real Salt Lake will not show them any mercy.

The two questions that pop up is this, are the Red Bulls tiring in the second half from this press offense situation or are their opponents making changes at halftime to adjust and taking advantage of them to win the match. Whatever it is the club needs to figure it out and quickly before June 16th comes around or else they might join NYCFC below the playoff line.

Late Dempsey Goal sinks Red Bulls point

The chirping is already underway. Two consecutive losses and three match winless streak as the Red Bulls got a solid road point in Frisco, a good first half but a poor second against a bottom of the standings team in the Philadelphia Union. So going across the country to face a red hot Seattle Sounders squad was a solid test for them to try to get any form of points possible.

It looked like this match was going to be an even game and to be honest it was a well played match when Lloyd Sam finally got a goal in the 36th minute that was well played and well positioned. After a hand ball was whistled against Brad Evans who did have his right hand out in an un-natural position and outside the area.

Free kick for the Red Bulls and it was Bradley Wright-Phillips who didn't take his kick well, as the ball deflected off the Sounders wall, but Sam who was inside the wall & onside found a way to position himself to get the ball and heads it inside the near post. A solid first half again for the Red Bulls and they break their goalless streak that was over 200 minutes.

But right now their play in the second half is starting to fall apart defensively as the Sounders were able to equalize and then a late winner by US International Clint Dempsey as not just two points were lost, but the full three inside second half stoppage time. Give Marco Pappa plenty of credit as he found a way to twist and turn Right Back Chris Duvall on a one on one situation. When Pappa got inside the area he blasted the ball just over the gloves of Luis Robles and the match was leveled in the 69th minute.

But unfortunately in 2nd half stoppage time the central defenders who rushed after the ball froze when it was crossed in front of the goal and all Dempsey had to do was put a toe on the ball into an open net and the Sounders who were down a goal, got level and won it late. Once again the second half is the downfall of the Red Bulls where they played a fantastic match, but just couldn't find a way to keep a point or all three points.

Right now the level of the freak out meter should be at concerned, because at the moment there is every right to be concerned about the play of the club. Is the quality of the club at a poor level? At the moment it's several ticks below good, clubs are already scouting at what the Red Bulls are doing with their press offense and hopefully Jesse Marsch can start to try and make some adjustment and Ali Curtis can start going to the phones and make some calls about possible loan deals or trials.

One more match left before they take a longer break and return to Red Bull Arena on Tuesday June 16th to face the Atlanta Silverbacks in Round 4 of the 2015 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup and then home games against Vancouver, Real Salt Lake & their first trip to Yankee Stadium to face NYCFC for Round 2 for the MLS Battle of New York.

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