HARRISON, N.J. – The Red Bulls made their most impressive offensive statement of the young season on Saturday night, beating San Jose 3-0 and exorcising their demons against an Earthquakes team that knocked them out of the MLS Cup Playoffs last year.
The Monday Morning Gaffer explores the wet and wild win over San Jose, this time with a keen eye on the team’s offensive breakthrough.
1. It finally clicked.
Give Hans Backe credit. The Red Bulls coach came under some fire from the media and fans this week that the team’s possession-style offense was more detriment than good, especially after 64.5 percent possession in the last two matches produced just one goal.
WATCH HIGHLIGHTS: New York 3, San Jose 0
The Red Bulls were a bit more direct in their play on Saturday night, and the result was three goals. Backe preached patience and that the offense would eventually click, and that’s exactly what happened. The difference was that the offense showed some daring and was willing to make that final pass, not just hold the ball for the sake of holding it.
“Very pleased of course, not only for the result, but the way we played,” Backe said. “It’s the way we want to play if you talk possession and the end pursuit. Still, a lot of goal attempts during the game and scoring three.”
2. The partnership.
While Red Bulls fans were buzzing all offseason about the development of Juan Agudelo, it was Luke Rodgers on Saturday night who impressed and worked well with Thierry Henry.
The Englishman had a hand in all three New York goals, scoring the first two and assisting on Henry’s 88th-minute score to close out the game. Rodgers held a very high line which freed up things for Henry to move and operate up top.
“You always have that outlet in him, the way he moves,” midfielder Dwayne De Rosario told MLSsoccer.com. “He opened up lots of things for us.”
3. A bounceback for Ream?
Defender Tim Ream acknowledged that he made a bad play on April when a sloppy pass was intercepted by Philadelphia’s Roger Torres for the game’s lone goal in a 1-0 defeat to the Union at PPL Park. While fans and media talked about the uncharacteristic giveaway, Ream shrugged it off after a solid showing this past weekend.
“You only really bounce back if you had a bad all-around game,” Ream told MLSsoccer.com. “I just had that one bad play, I knew I’d be fine.”
Ream was his usual calm and composed self against San Jose and his positioning was repeatedly the best of the New York back line.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer