Over the weekend, the New York Red Bulls put the New England Revolution down with three quick goals, as the opening few minutes would have suggested otherwise.
In what seemed like a slow start for the Red Bulls, inviting pressure from New England, the New York outfit quickly but the game well in their favor thanks to fantastic goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips (2) and Lloyd Sam (1). This victory comes off a quite vibrant and strong New York side, which in recent weeks has seem them become Kings of New York with a 3-1 victory over New York City Football Club at Yankee Stadium and a 4-1 win in the Open Cup at home against the New York Cosmos.
Over the Independence Day weekend, the Red Bulls seemed to have a hiccup as they fell 2-1 to Columbus Crew SC. Clearly they were not phased by that loss as the win against the Revolution was the first to feature four goals scored in a regular league match for this season, second overall.
The match seems to highlight the crystallization of the team, after another offseason that saw major overhauls within the staff and the roster. Just with the starting 11, we can claim that at least four consistently starting players were not wearing the crest the season before, and a few more did not see much playing time. Nonetheless, it is largely too early to call this team a strong one, as it did face a slow period following the first win against New York City FC.
Ideally what Red Bulls fans can look forward to is everyone continue to grow and understanding of how each other plays, and Kljestan, who was a gem signing prior to the start of the season, finally gets dusted off and puts in more meaningful games, as he has slowly begun to do as the season enters the second half, and the playoffs loom in the horizon.
As Marsch once stated, they will used the midseason transfer window to explore options that will help the team in their weaker aspects. Some of the identified locations have been in defense and finishing.
In the defensive section, the team has been blessed with the surging talent that is Miazga combined with the unimagined consistency and solid execution from Damien Perrinelle. Nonetheless, the team now is without Zubar, Lawrence, Miller, Ouimette, and Duvall, and was strained when Miazga left for the U-20s World Cup. On top of that, the team released Andrew Jean-Baptiste after what seemed to be a dissappointing showing for the Red Bulls.
On offense, it seems the Red Bulls have found a certain talent in Anatole Abang as it seemed Bradley Wright-Phillips’ work rate slowed (despite having 8 goals and 6 assists this season). Nonetheless, with the performances and the target rumors of Javier Hernandez, Didier Drogba, Shaun Wright-Phillips and Mario Gomez – perhaps another striker is not far away from the roster.
As Taylor Twellman commented, Red Bulls fans ought to expect more things to come in terms of player additions. The transfer market, particularly around MLS is always hazy as more far-fetched than truthful reports come out, unless its another big signing going to LA – then we know a few rules will be bent to bring them aboard.
As the season already looks ahead of the mid-way point, what will be the ambitions of the Red Bulls going forward? It hardly seems that the Supporters’ Shield is being contended for as the West is dominating the overall table. The Open Cup seems to have been a priority, but now that the team will be facing MLS sides, will the competition be kept up?
And lastly, since the Supporters’ Shield is a little out of reach, will Marsch experiment for the rest of the season, looking just to do the bare minimum to make the playoffs? His attitude will be rather unclear until almost the end of the regular season.