The New York Red Bulls had been getting by in recent weeks, despite not generating all that much from the run of play. But that inability to create clear chances on goal came back to bite them on Saturday.
The Red Bulls saw their eight-game unbeaten run come to an end at hands of the Vancouver Whitecaps, who rallied to knock off New York 2-1 at Red Bull Arena. Mike Petke’s men initially jumped out in front thanks to a Greg Klazura own goal, but finishes from Jordan Harvey and Kenny Miller were enough to knock off a Red Bulls team whose five shots on goal were easy dealt with.
“Just crossing the ball in front of the goal, you call that opportunities and playing well, I don’t call that playing well,” Red Bulls captain Thierry Henry said after the game. “I don’t know how many crosses we had to put in the box properly and the ball went, I don’t know where, so I don’t think we played well and like I said our luck went away.
“I keep on saying that – for maybe five, six, four games in a row I’ve said that – and our luck is going away … We had chances to put it in the back of the net in the end, but the luck is going away. We’ve got to work hard and play a lot better than that to win games and Vancouver deserved to win.”
Henry was not only upset with how the Red Bulls played offensively. He was also critical of how the team played defensively, even after New York were reduced to 10 men after Jamison Olave received a controversial second yellow card in the 75th minute for a foul on Miller.
“Just because you go a man down does not mean you have to give up the amount of opportunities we gave,” said Henry. “But saying that, I don’t think if we had stayed [with] 11 we would have won the game, so give them credit that they played well.
“They had a plan, they stuck to their plan, they played well in the second half, and they scored when they needed to score. But we can’t concede goals the way conceded to them. You can’t win football games conceding goals like this. It just can’t happen.”
While Henry was not full of praise and while head coach Mike Petke was clearly angered in his brief postgame press conference, not all was bad after New York’s loss to Vancouver. The Red Bulls are still in first place in the Eastern Conference, but they know now more than ever that they have much to work on.
“We are not in a bad position, don’t get me wrong,” said Henry. “But I keep on saying we’ve got to work and do a bit better than what we’re doing at the time. Hopefully, maybe sometimes when you lose people do wake up.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.