The Red Bulls were, all cliches considered, a team defined by two separate halves in its match against the New England Revolution on Saturday night. A dominant first 45 lead to a split second half where a break by Gustavo Bou evened the score for the visitors and allowed both teams to leave with a point, 1-1.
“In the first half we had a real grasp on the game and we could have maybe scored a few goals,” Red Bulls head coach Chris Armas told media in the post-game press conference. “There’s a lot of positives for us to take tonight and we’ll also look hard as we do and keep gaining better understandings of what it’s going to take to win the LA FC game and to win tonight when it’s right there… We’re not happy we left two points on the table.”
New York took the lead early in the game off a Marc Rzatkowski goal in the 18th minute when a failed clear by the Revolution’s Edgar Castillo allowed him to settle the ball at the top of the penalty area. Daniel Royer’s cross into the box just before had just been one-touched by Brian White and blocked by a sliding Jalil Anibaba but kept in play.
“He tried to clear it and then I was there for the second ball,” Rzatkowski said after the game. “I think I had a good first touch and the second shot was a good strike for sure.”
He also noted how many chances his team had to not only increase their lead but also win the game during the full 90.
The game was not only notable for missed chances but also the smell blowing from the east off of Keegan Landfill in nearby Kearny, NJ. The area, which has been an issue for local residents for months, sent a rotten smell into the arena eliciting reactions from both the Supporters Groups, who chanted “It smells like ****” during final minutes of the first half, and players who were heard mentioning it after the game.
It’s unknown if anything will be done in the coming weeks or months as the issue is currently being discussed between state officials.
The team started the first half off by completely sectioning off the Revolution from getting attempts on Luis Robles’ net. Compared to the Bulls’ 13 shots (6 on target), New England only had two shots at all and while both were towards goal neither really felt like a threat. One came in the early goings of the match from Bou in the seventh minute, when his shot from distance caused the Captain to make a small dive for a corner.
Where the team really succeeded was in it’s midfield. Cristian Cásseres Jr. really stood out in their limiting of New England advances deep into the box and getting the ball to Royer or White. Though the latter’s night was cut short.
A few moments following the restart following New York’s first-half goal, White was involved in a collision/tackle with a Revs player. The forward got up but after two more collapses on the field, including one following a long pass, one-touch shot right to keeper Matt Turner, he was helped off the field and subbed off for Bradley Wright-Phillips in the 28th minute. No official comment on White was given after the game though he seemed in good spirits and was seen walking around the locker room.
For his part, BWP played 62 minutes, his most since returning from injury, and had two shots on goal including the near game-winner in the dying moments of second-half stoppage time.
“It was great that Brad got the extended minutes,” Armas said. “It’s important Brad is getting these minutes. He’s the guy that we’ve relied on so much over the years to get us goals and be a presence. He’s a winner.
“He worked hard, as he always does against the ball, and got himself in a number of good spots. He almost helped us set up the game-winner. There’s a lot of happy people in that locker room that see him back out there.”
The issue did come replacing White’s speed with Wright-Phillips, as during the game, second half especially, the forward passes weren’t challenging the back-line as much when passed to BWP. The trio of Royer, Rzatkowski, and RBNY’s all-time leading scorer became a two-man striker formation with Royer usually feeding one of the other two for chances on net.
The Revolution, while still getting out-shot nine to four in the second half, was able to stop more forward progress and challenge the mid and back-lines more. Kemar Lawrence and Aaron Long did well at first along the left side but the right, which included recently signed Rece Buckmaster, showed its failings and that’s where Bou was able to break past, get Robles to come off his line, and slip the ball in.
The Red Bulls have little time to rest as they have two more games, both rivalry match-ups, before weeks end on the road. First, the team heads to the nation’s capital to take on DC United on Wednesday.
After that the team returns to the New York area for the second installment of the Hudson River Derby at Yankee Stadium against New York City FC on Saturday.