Friday NY Gaffer: Picking up the pieces

There’s no denying that right now, the New York Red Bulls are in a bit of a slump. New York have won just once since May 7 and Thursday night’s 4-2 loss to Seattle typifies this downward turn of results.
The Possession Factor

Despite falling behind 2-0 in the opening 12 minutes, the Red Bulls still managed to have the run of play and time on the ball, a shocking stat for a team that conceded four goals in Seattle. New York held the ball 62 percent of the match but had few scoring opportunities to show for it.

The Red Bulls got victimized on three set-piece goals and then a poor giveaway from usually steady goalkeeper Greg Sutton, leaving them wanting a bit. Head coach Hans Backe called it “an even game” and it was one that, but for New York’s glaring mistakes, should have been a result for the Red Bulls.
 
Sutton’s Gaffe
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Several weeks ago, Backe switched Bouna Coundoul in goal for Sutton, not because of any mistakes by the former but because Sutton was known for his distribution out of the back. Backe in fact said that Sutton was like having another field player in the back with his comfort with the ball at his feet.

But in the 78th minute, Sutton took a back pass, waited on the ball too long and then passed right into a pursuing Roger Levesque for an awful giveaway.
Backe said it all: “Greg’s mistake killed the game for us.”
Great Dane
If there was a bright spot from the loss, it was the reemergence of Dane Richards, who returned to the team earlier this week from Gold Cup duty with Jamaica. Richards was a constant threat all night long partnered up top with fellow midfielder Dwayne De Rosario to form the strike partnership.
His 31st-minute goal past Kasey Keller and was a wonder strike from a tough angle that cut Seattle’s lead to 2-1. Right back Jan Gunnar Solli called it “terrific” and Backe hailed the player’s constant effort, just not the goal.
“He’s always a threat,” Backe said. "Everyone is always afraid of his pace."
 
Unsettled Pieces
New York have given up 13 set-piece goals since tying the Galaxy on May 7. The fact that the Red Bulls could be running away with the Eastern Conference and be battling for the Supporters' Shield if they cut down on the mistakes is not lost on the team.
“It’s 100 percent unacceptable,” defender Stephen Keel said. “It’s something we have to sit down and figure out.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer