The New York Red Bulls dropped their second straight game on Saturday to the Chicago Fire, 1-0, on the road. This is the first time since May 2017 that New York has lost back-to-back MLS regular season games and also the first time since then the team hasn’t scored a goal in consecutive losses.
The result is the first win for Chicago in 2019 and improves its’ record to 1-1-2 (4 pts) while New York also ends the day with a record of 1-1-2 (4 pts).
Despite having the “best” starting XI available, including the returning Kaku, Michael Murillo, and Aaron Long, the team played uninspired offense. Only one of the seven shots New York took all day was on-target and that was when the team got into any sort of positive offensive movement.
“I know we’re gonna score goals,” head coach Chris Armas said following the game in a press conference. “It’s more (about) some of the performances from us, that’s gotta get better. When we stick to who we are it looks very different. There’s no real concern right now other than we have to get moving.”
While Armas is right in the sense that goal production will come, it’s almost certain he didn’t mean the own-goal Tim Parker accidentally knocked in while trying to clear a goal-line deflection early in the second half. That mistake would be the closest most of the team got to the line for the entire game.
The match at SeatGeek Stadium continued to highlight issues that have fans worried. Traditional fixes in the past, such as line-up changes, have yet to work as well in the early going and even if they do a few tap-ins from Bradley Wright-Phillips against a weak side in coming weeks aren’t going to inspire confidence. The games against Orlando and Chicago were supposed to be those weak sides as well. For a team that excelled at ball passing and team-play last season, the Bulls haven’t started 2019 like defending Supporters’ Shield champions.
The game also continued to create worries regarding the team’s biggest stars. Besides a meaningless goal against an already defeated San Jose team in the season home opener, BWP hasn’t done anything of note in both MLS play and during the team’s short run in the CONCACAF Champions League. Kaku, for all non-starts and absences from games as of late, hasn’t produced anything while he’s on the field either. This game against Chicago did not help those worries with the only SOG coming from BWP and Kaku not even getting any real chances.
The best player for the squad continues to be team captain Luis Robles who helped keep New York in the game from his box.
Robles’ efforts, mixed with a Chicago offense that could not finish clear attempts on goal, kept the game within reach for his teammates. The Fire took 11 shots and while only four were on target the captain saved all of them when the opposition was the shooter.
Meanwhile, while the team’s offense sputtered as Alex Muyl’s hat streak of set-ups and shots came to a halt. Besides him though, there hasn’t been any other players who have stepped up to help replace Tyler Adams this season. The team has effectively tried to fit multiple square pegs into one Adams sized hole and it isn’t working.
Chicago’s game wasn’t great, but it was enough. They were going to score eventually and while it is a horrible way to lose the Red Bulls have no one to blame but themselves.
The squad returns home on Saturday, April 6, to face off against Minnesota United FC who are coming in on a two-game losing streak but currently sit at 2-0-2 overall.