Red Bulls wary of conceding early goal vs. Sporting KC

Tim Cahill and Thierry Henry - Banner

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UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – The New York Red Bulls have been plagued by slow starts in recent weeks, and they know they will need to find a cure for that if they are to take first place in the Eastern Conference.

The Red Bulls host Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night (7:30 pm ET; watch LIVE online) in a match that could go a long way in determining who finishes at the top of the table in the East. A fast start is imperative.

“We looked into it a couple weeks ago and it’s been a number of times and also against the top teams,” Backe told reporters. “We look in the four teams that are close to us, I think we’ve went down against every of those teams in the first 10 minutes and some of these teams [in] the first five minutes. It’s a long way in this league when you go down 1-0.

“Everyone is aware of it, everyone is sharp and ready for the game. I can’t say that anyone is nervous or anything to start a game, but we look a little bit passive in the defending game, the pressing game, the 50-50s, that you probably need to invest a little bit more the first 15-20 minutes.”

The Red Bulls have given up goals within the first eight minutes in four of their past six games (three of those four have come within the first four minutes of kick off) and while many fans and media members have pointed the finger at the unstable defense, the Red Bulls are shouldering the blame as a team.

“The mistakes are just a lack of focus and we need to come out sharper at the start of games,” said Rafa Marquez. “Everyone is at fault for that. We’re a team. We win together, we lose together.”

New York surrendered an early goal the last time they played Sporting KC, a 1-1 draw at Livestrong Sporting Park in late August. But they are looking to show they have corrected that on Wednesday en route to claiming first place in the Eastern Conference.

“We’ve watched the videos and we know what we need to do,” said Tim Cahill. “Hopefully this week we don’t concede silly goals.”

Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached at Franco8813@gmail.com