A long and draining road trip finally came to an end for the New York Red Bulls on Sunday, but a 1-1 draw against the Chicago Fire didn't necessarily leave the team in a wonderful mood. The Monday Gaffer looks at the draw and why there's reason for hope for New York to turn things around starting this week.
Dropped Points: The hardest part of Sunday's result was that with the tie, the Red Bulls fell off the top the Eastern Conference. They’re now two points behind the Philadelphia Union.
“I think everyone understands now that we cannot go on like this,” midfielder Joel Lindpere said. “We score one, but we give goals back. They get very stupid, easy goals against us, and then we fight to get the goals back. Then we do something stupid again.
It’s not fun anymore. I am going to look at myself. I hope my teammates look at themselves, too, so we play more as a team,” he added. “We just need to do a better job.”
End of the Road: Sunday’s draw at Toyota Park brought an end to the Red Bulls’ run of three games over a stretch of seven days, with just two points to show for the effort. Poor goals conceded and errors characterized the team’s play on the road trip.
“It’s been tough for us and perhaps a bit unlucky in the end,” head coach Hans Backe told MLSsoccer.com. “Portland, we normally would have won that game and Seattle we were unlucky, I think, in that second half after we battled back. Then in Chicago, I think we were really fatigued.”
Bouna’s Blunder: Marco Pappa’s second-half goal that leveled the score and gave Chicago the tie was a very savable ball for goalkeeper Bouna Coundoul. After Jan Gunnar Solli inexplicably cleared a ball back across the front of the penalty area, the Fire regained control and Pappa fired a curling shot from a slight angle that Coundoul seemed to have the read on. But when Coundoul dove early, Pappa’s shot hopped over his outstretched hand and into the back of the net.
“Any other day if there was no bounce I would get catch it easily, but when you are not expecting it, it happens,” Coundoul said.
Reinforcements Coming: The Red Bulls were greeted at training on Monday with the smiling faces of Juan Agudelo and Tim Ream, both of whom rejoin their club side after being away with the national team for the Gold Cup.
“Juan and Tim will play on Tuesday [in the US Open Cup] against FC New York,” Backe said. “Along with one or two other regulars.”
The addition of Ream to the back line should help stabilize a hemorrhaging defense as of late, and Agudelo’s arrival comes at a time when the Red Bulls could use another forward in their rotation. In other words: perfect timing.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer