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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1LA
0SEA
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11/30 9:00pm
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LA
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Western Conference Championship
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Leg 1
11/23 FINAL
1NY
2NE
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11/29 3:00pm
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NY
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Eastern Conference Championship

Early mistakes doom New York to first home loss of 2012

HARRISON, N.J. – Thierry Henry warned about the New York Red Bulls’ troubling penchant to concede early goals after their 3-1 victory over the Columbus Crew last Saturday, saying it was an aspect of the club’s game that needed correcting in order to avoid a big letdown in the near future.

That big letdown took place on Wednesday.

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The Red Bulls suffered their first loss of the season at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday night, falling 2-0 to Sporting Kansas City in a game that could have put New York in first place of the Eastern Conference.

Once again, early goals haunted the Red Bulls, as C.J. Sapong put the visitors ahead 12 minutes in before Kei Kamara nodded home a Graham Zusi corner kick to double the lead seven minutes later.

“It’s a lack of focus, we’re not paying attention to our defensive assignments and we need to keep working,” said Rafa Márquez when asked about why the team continues to struggle early in games. “This has been our cancer since the first game of the season, but the one that needs to address that is the head coach.”

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What makes matters worse for the Red Bulls is that head coach Hans Backe and the players had talked at length about the need to not concede in the opening minutes in the build-up to Wednesday night’s pivotal Eastern Conference match. Backe and his coaching staff recently even went as far as to look at how many times the team had surrendered early goals in this season, and the players watched video in order to correct their mistakes.

Still, the damning errors managed to rear their ugly heads again on Wednesday and this time they proved costly, as there was no comeback by a New York side that has now fallen five points behind Sporting KC for first place in the Eastern Conference.

“We’re disappointed with the way we started the game yet again,” said Connor Lade. “I think we really need to address this and take it really seriously, because we want to make a run in the playoffs and make a run for first place and Supporters’ Shield. These are the types of things we need to fix now.”