HARRISON, N.J. – New York Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke said it, but he didn’t have to. The look on his face did it for him.
Following the Red Bulls’ 1-0 loss at home to Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday night, Petke expressed some of his frustrations with New York’s performance and he was not the only one. Several of the Red Bulls players admitted to being flustered by Sporting KC’s relentless defense, which extended the visitors’ shutout streak to five consecutive games.
“It completely sucks but you’ve got to give credit to KC. Peter Vermes runs a tight ship over there and they’re a really, really good team,” Brandon Barklage told reporters after the match. “This is just a result – we have to move on from and we have to come back against the [New England Revolution] and just be fired up because we weren’t tonight.”
The Red Bulls will have a chance to put this one behind them fairly quickly, as they host the Revolution in their third match in eight days on Saturday. Still, that was not enough to wash away how upset the Red Bulls were feeling after a loss that saw them fall to 2-4-2 on the season.
“I wasn’t happy with the first half,” said Petke in his post-game press conference. “I thought we were stepping too late to almost every play defensively and I thought we were trying to do way too much offensively when we were on the ball.
“Trying to make that perfect pass every time we went, trying to slide it through two players and then it’d get picked off and we’d be right back on the defensive again. Second half I thought was a good response. … Overall, it’s an uneasy feeling for me.”
What made matters worse for the Red Bulls was that Sporting KC looked the more dominant team at Red Bull Arena. The visitors held possession for large stretches and limited New York to just three shots on goal in a thorough performance that ended with a frustrated Juninho being sent off for kicking a dead ball at Sporting KC goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen.
“At the end of the day, I’m not happy,” said Petke. “We lost to a good team, but at home, I’m not happy at all.”
Franco Panizo covers the New York Red Bulls for MLSsoccer.com. He can be reached by email at Franco8813@gmail.com.