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Eastern Conference Championship

Backe dismayed by NYRB attack, sees silver lining in D

The New York Red Bulls may have surrendered a late goal to the New England Revolution this past Saturday, but that did not stop Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe from giving some plaudits to his defense.

Following the 1-1 draw at Gillette Stadium that extended New York’s winless run there since 2002, Backe told reporters he was pleased overall with how the Red Bulls held up defensively, especially in response to going down a man following the ejection of rookie right back Connor Lade.

“They didn’t create any chances when we were one player down,” Backe said after the game. “I think the back four defended well, the midfield the same. Tim [Cahill] fighting enormous up front to get a hold of the ball. So overall it’s a decent defense we had.”

On the other hand, there was the New York offense. Backe didn’t hold back, insisting there were no excuses for the subpar outing the team delivered, but he admitted the turf field hindered a Red Bulls attack that was already without suspended star striker Thierry Henry.

“It’s a difficult pitch to play on,” said Backe. “It’s bumpy, you need to handle the ball, you need more touches on the ball, it’s difficult to get a rhythm in the attacking game or passing game, but it’s the same for every team. That’s the way it is.”

Offensive struggles aside, Backe also revealed Rafa Márquez asked to stay in the game after picking up a slight injury in the early goings of the Eastern Conference match. Márquez came out of the game in the 35th minute.

“We checked with him and he said, ‘Let’s do five minutes more and see how it works,’” said Backe. “I think it went perhaps 10-15 more before he just said it’s a hamstring or a tired muscle.”

The 1-1 draw inside of their house of horrors capped a three-games-in-eight-days stretch for the Red Bulls. They beat the Columbus Crew, lost to Sporting Kansas City and then tied the Revolution in a week that saw the team go through a roller coaster of emotions.

“All of us are disappointed with a draw here, so I’m happy that my teammates are upset with a result today,” said Cahill. “The good thing is, we’ve had a lot of games this week and hopefully we can get a good rest this week because it seems like it’s took its toll.”