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Fantasy: Are Red Bulls defenders suddenly red hot?

07 May 4:35 pm

Fantasy: Are Red Bulls defenders suddenly red hot?

By Ben Jata

New York earned their second clean sheet of the season in as many weeks on Saturday with a rookie keeper and a makeshift backline. After grabbing a 1-0 lead just 19 minutes into the game, the Red Bulls had to fight off a barrage of attacks in order to escape with a huge road win. Ironically, it’s the NY defenders that have now become a hot item in Fantasy Soccer: Manager.

Points Breakdown (Week 9)

GK Ryan Meara – 9 points

D Jan Gunnar Solli – 10 points

D Connor Lade – 8 points

D Markus Holgersson – 7 points

D Tyler Ruthven – 7 points

M Brandon Barklage – 6 points

It looks as if New York’s early-season defensive woes could be a thing of the past – at least for now – because if you had any of the guys above in Week 9, your investment paid off.  Ryan Meara was tied for third among 'keepers in points scored this past weekend and the rest of the guys didn’t do too shabby either. Brandon Barklage could’ve had nine points, but he’s listed as a midfielder. This only gave him one point for the clean sheet, while Solli (playing midfield) grabbed the full four points. With two games coming up this week most of these guys could be solid pickups, with Meara ($5.0m) and Lade ($4.3m) being exceptional options at a very low price, unless of course, Roy Miller returns.

Let’s take a closer look at the stats and the chalkboards to see how the RBNY defense shut down the MLS Cup 2011 champs.

Possession: LA Galaxy 63% - NY Red Bulls 37%

The Galaxy controlled possession for the entire game, but it wasn’t just meaningless passing in its own half. LA attempted 274 passes in the opposition's half while NY attempted less than half of that (130), with the Galaxy completing 72 percent and the Red Bulls completing 77 percent. In the image below you can see that LA (right) not only flooded the entire half with passes, but they drove the ball into the box repeatedly. New York's possessions are on the left.

Open Play Crosses

LA continuously served the ball into the box hoping that something would come of it. New York only managed four crosses from open play all game, but the Galaxy drove it in eight times that amount (32 crosses). New York (left) connected on just one of their four crosses (25 percent), while LA (right) connected on eight of 24 (33 percent).

Clearances & Interceptions

The defensive statistics were even more staggering. In 90 minutes, the Red Bulls (left) tallied 66 combined clearances and interceptions (28 interceptions and 38 clearances) in the defensive half, while the Galaxy (right) managed just 13 (three interceptions and 10 clearances).

New York were extremely fortunate to have not conceded a goal, but regardless, their confidence has to be growing. Coming up in Week 10, they play the Houston Dynamo at home and the Philadelphia Union away. With both teams struggling, a shutout looks like another possible feat in at least one of the two games, making New York defenders more enticing than they ever have been before.