Let’s not sugar coat it: The New York Red Bulls are in the danger zone. Full on downward trend, spiral, with no easy fix readily available.
On Saturday, while the rest of the country was having a really mellow and fun day (where legal), the Red Bulls lost their game against the New England Revolution, 1-0, in the team’s fifth straight winless endeavor.
The team’s record is now 1-4-2 (5 points through seven games) and RBNY now sits at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with Atlanta United. Honestly, it’s amazing how far last year’s top two MLS have fallen in such a short time.
The Revs’ Cristian Penilla scored in the 74th minute which enough to give his team the win on a rainy night in Foxborough, MA. The goal ended a streak of 281 consecutive minutes, the equivalent to three full matches and an additional 11 minutes, that the team was held scoreless.
The Bulls out-shot the Revs 13-9, with shots on goal still favoring New York 5-2. You can’t just look at the numbers though since that would make it seem as though New York dominated the game but just couldn’t convert.
The team is playing sub-par attacking soccer. Bradley Wright-Phillips, the Bulls’ all-time leading scorer and main forward, has now gone five straight games without finding the back of the net.
Of his four in the game, only one of BWP’s shots was on target. In recent matches, the Bulls have tried to change up the formation by bringing a second forward up front with Wight-Phillips but head coach Chris Armas elected to pull back and make changes in different areas, leaving the struggling BWP to take the most shots of any player for his team with none being threatening.
His only goal this season came against San Jose in Week 2’s home opener, less of a testament to his talent and more as an example of how bad San Jose is right now.
The whole blame can’t be put on BWP as much as some fans would like to believe. Despite his age and slow stat pace this season, the rest of the field isn’t helping him.
The team was without Kaku due to his one-game suspension stemming from his red card last week against Sporting Kansas City – who will probably be suspended/disciplined further for his action. It’s uncharted territory for the league when it comes to how long a suspension for kicking a ball deliberately into the stands, so we’ll need to stay tuned. It could be one game, could be the MLS equivalent to the Malice in the Palace, it could be something in-between.
For the Revolution, the team played how they needed to in order to walk away with three points. Early in the second, Diego Fagundez had a clear lane on the left side of the RBNY box past the back-line. With only Luis Robles to beat, he held the ball far too long allowing defenders to converge on him, and even after getting around the midfielder skied the ball four rows behind the net. The team did well on the counter-attack which lead to Penilla’s goal though – but it was rarely seen since the Bulls’ attack was less than the present.
This is a historic, modern-day low for the New York Red Bulls. Last year the team lead the league with 14 shutouts and this year through seven games the group has yet to help Robles earn a clean sheet. It says something that most of the coverage around the team this week hasn’t been on the poor play. Instead, the rumors regarding former RBNY and Arsenal FC legend Thierry Henry being considered for a head coaching position have been grabbing headlines.
“It’ll be good to be back in front of our home fans and we definitely need a win right now so being at home will be good for us,” Long said.
The team heads home to Red Bull Arena to face new MLS side FC Cincinnati on Saturday, April 27. On the RBNY Twitter, Aaron Long said in an interview that he and the team are looking forward to returning home and possibly turning the tides back in their favor.