March 14, 2012
FRYING PAN INTO THE FIRE
After a shaky performance at Dallas, Red Bulls must bounce back at tough RSL
Kristian R. Dyer
|Thierry Henry on the Red Bulls' play in their 2-1 loss at Dallas: “It reminded me of last year: Two mistakes, two goals. . . . . We’re going to have to stop that or else we’re going to have the same year again.”
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. – One week into the MLS season and the Red Bulls are already in “bounce back” mode following Sunday afternoon’s 2-1 loss at FC Dallas. The 0-1 Red Bulls face an equally daunting task as they head to Rio Tinto on Saturday night to play Real Salt Lake.
The last time these two teams played, Salt Lake walked out of Red Bull Arena with a 3-1 win in a game where the hosts were clearly not up to the level of their opponent. The two teams met twice during preseason, a pair of 1-0 wins by Real Salt Lake at the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz. on Feb. 22 and March 3.
“We played them in Arizona and they’re a decent team,” midfielder Victor Palsson said.
“They’re very secure on the ball, it’s going to be a tough game for us. We just have to play better. It’s only one game so while we want to win there is a lot left. We just need to work hard as a team.”
Rebounding from the FC Dallas game won’t be easy as the Red Bulls were outplayed in the first half and looked unimaginative and inept in the second half as the home side bunkered in to hold onto its lead. Despite holding possession for 64.2 percent of the match, the Red Bulls still managed only two shots on goal.
FC Dallas had six. It felt like last year when New York would hold meaningless possession that led to scoring chances that were few and far between.
“It reminded me of last year: Two mistakes, two goals. That was the difference between the two teams,” captain and forward Thierry Henry said.
“We’re going to have to stop that or else we’re going to have the same year again.”
Last season the Red Bulls were plagued by individual mistakes and errors, particularly at the heart of the backline and on set pieces. On Sunday afternoon in Frisco, Texas, two poorly cleared balls led to the Red Bulls conceding goals.
It had all the look and feel of the 2011 campaign when the Red Bulls carelessly played out of the backline cost the team points. It wasn’t until September when Stephen Keel was inserted into the heart of the backline when the defense began to play “cynical” soccer and clamped down on soft goals.
“Still it can be avoided, it’s not like they outplayed us on the two goals,” Henry said.
“They were definitely two mistakes. It does happen.”
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