Sean Davis playing for the ball
New York Red Bulls captain Sean Davis and New England Resolution midfielder Carles Gil tangle up during a match at Red Bull Arena on Saturday, July 31 (Credit: New York Red Bulls)

The New York Red Bulls’ run of costly late goals continued against the New England Revolution on Saturday night. The visitors scored three during the second half, including two in the final ten minutes. New York’s defense crumbled and the team was left with a 3-2 loss.

The Revolution have won all three meetings with New York this season and scored three goals in each. The two teams will not meet again in the regular season and New England still remains atop both the Eastern Conference and league table.

Bulls’ head coach Gerhard Struber showed visible frustration on the sideline following the match. In the post game media call he wasn’t much happier.

“It’s not easy to find the right words for this result. It’s very painful,” he said. “I think we have big energy and some very good moments but then have yet again big (lessons to learn) one more time.

“A big challenge to show resilience and big endurance in the brain for the next one (on Wednesday).”

The result follows a pattern set in three of the team’s last four games. Late goals which have resulted in draws or, in this case, a loss. The stretch of games in which New York has played against opponents that have been missing players due to international duty has resulted in only two points out of a maximum of 12.

It isn’t as though the team didn’t look good. In the first half the midfield and defense were working in tandem. Players like Caden Clark and Sean Nealis were passing around a confused looking Revolution squad. Tom Edwards and Amro Tarek did not look like the same underperforming defenders as of late and were instrumental in blocking any New England offense in the first half.

The offense somewhat struggled to get into the final third but overall the game was being played in front of the Rev’s backup keeper Brad Knighton. He played decently but when Wikelman “Wiki” Carmona gave Bulls a lead in the eighth minute off a banger from the top of the box it seemed like this was going to be the script.

But that’s how the Red Bulls have started this season and in the second half the same procedure began to follow. The defense that had looked so good and began to falter. Edwards, for all his talent, is not a center back. A long pass to New England’s Brandon Bye found his head since he can jump higher than the 5’10 Englishman. That goal was the critical piece that allowed the visitors to tie the game for a second time. The momentum they got from that lasted the rest of regulation and stoppage time.

After that it almost felt like Adam Buksa’s 90th minute game winner was a matter of “when” and not “if”.

While the defense lacked the offense did start to come alive in the final 45 minutes. Two minutes after the Rev’s equalized off a low Gustavo Bou slot-in, Clark flipped a pass to a jumping Fábio in the box. The resulting shot was slow, bouncy, and went in the opposite direction of Knighton.

It was dreadful to watch but it worked and the Brazilian striker earned his third goal of the season. The sharp uptick following his assist heavy start to 2021 has tied for the third most goals on the team.

It’s clear the team needs another piece if they want to go the full 90 minutes and wins. Recent reports claim that the team is close to signing a new backline piece. Struber echoed this during the postgame saying the team has been looking since they lost Aaron Long three months ago..

“We are very close to doing something in center and hopefully we can realize that in the next few days,” said Struber, explaining they are looking for a player with both experience and ability rather than a young talent. “I think it’s very important to finish that transfer for my team.”

For now the Red Bulls will need to move on quickly with the roster they currently have. They host FC Cincinnati this Wednesday at Red Bull Arena. This will be the first time Frankie Amaya plays against his former club since joining New York during the offseason.

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