The streak may be over, but the belief is as strong as ever.
Returning to Gillette Stadium for the first time since their loss in last year’s Eastern Conference finals, the New York Red Bulls fell to the New England Revolution, 2-1, ending their seven game unbeaten run to start the season.
In a match that saw the Red Bulls out-possess the Revs, New York once again found themselves fighting from behind. Managing to earn a point each time they had fallen behind so far this season, the 2-0 deficit was too large to overcome in the end as Sacha Kljestan’s second goal of the season was not enough on Saturday night.
Playing their third game in seven days, Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch opted to make some significant changes to his starting lineup. Midfielders Sean Davis and Dane Richards earned their first starts of the season, and defender Karl Ouimette replaced Damien Perrinelle in the center of the New York defense.
“We still have a lot of confidence in the guys that came in and played in the game.” Kljestan said postgame. “I think they did well tonight. I think we made a couple of naïve mistakes at the early parts of the first and second halves of the game that ended up costing us in the end. But I still have a ton of confidence in our group and I still think we played—for the majority of the game—down in their end and tried to create chances. We’re disappointed with the result, but overall I’m fairly positive with how the beginning of the season has gone up to this point. I think we’re doing well.”
As has been the case several times this season, the Red Bulls troubling trend has continued. After Charlie Davies found the back of the net in the 9th minute, New York once again found themselves trailing after conceding the first goal of the match yet again. With short rest and tired legs, the comeback simply was not on the cards for the previously undefeated Red Bulls.
“I thought we put everything we had into it,” Marsch said. “I asked them to empty their tanks and they did. We just dug too big of a hole. Both halves we started out a little bit lackluster. The first half we started out sharp but then their first time down the field, they score.”
Kljestan, who admitted to being “annoyed” with New York’s propensity to fall behind in matches, lamented yet another match that his side was forced to play from behind.
“We have that fighting spirit,” Kljestan said. “The problem is that we’ve been giving up early goals and we keep having to fight our way back into games. You don’t want to be doing that all the time; you’d rather be playing with the lead.”
The final score may have left New York wanting more, but the Red Bulls are hoping that continued efforts like the one put forth on Saturday night will yield positive results in the future.
“We just need to assess a few things, maybe start the games a little bit better,” Kljestan admitted. “But overall, the mentality has been great within the group.”