For 90 minutes, it looked as though the New York Red Bulls had done enough to earn a hard-fought road point against the league’s top team.
“It’s gut-wrenching right now because we put a lot of good things together on the day,” head coach Jesse Marsch said postgame. “It’s another game where we feel like there’s a lot of good moments, but we don’t make them add up enough to good chances and to goals. We let little plays slip away. It’s a really tough one to swallow right now, but we can’t hang our heads. We just have to dig in and now know that our backs are against the wall and figure out a way to get better.”
And after winning each of the previous four games in which they took a 1-0 lead, the Red Bulls found themselves walking away empty handed on Sunday.
“We were a little bit on our heels at the end of the second half, but at the same time we had chances to make plays going on the counter on the other end,” Marsch added. “You knew when it was 1-1 that the game was still up for grabs. We tried to push but in the end Clint Dempsey makes a really good play, a really tough play and that’s what you need. You need your big players in big moments to make big plays.”
Their loss marks their second consecutive week in which the Red Bulls boss saw some positives on the night, but not enough to translate into three points. Playing the table-topping Sounders, a moment’s loss in concentration proved to be difference.
“Seattle’s a good team,” goalkeeper Luis Robles said. “We knew going into the second half that we were going to have to maintain possession and create chances. We made a couple of mistakes towards the end and, because they are a good team, they made us pay for it.”
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Facing a short turnaround and yet another road fixture, the third-place Red Bulls will have little time to wallow in their missed opportunity as a trip to Houston looms on Friday (9 pm ET, UniMas). The clearly despondent side now faces the challenge of shaking off a crushing, last-gasp loss in their quest to return to the win column for the first time since May 10.
“We have to remember that it’s a long season,” Robles continued. “There’s going to be heartbreak but there’s also going to be jubilation. We have to continue to improve defensively, we’ve been getting punished for our mistakes and there hasn’t been any sort of grace there. Nonetheless I know that we have [not only] the personnel, but… the management to work this out.”