Anyone who was still wondering whether Juan Carlos Osorio was really a good coach and was really capable of getting the most out of his team got their answer last week as the short-handed Red Bulls scored an unlikely tie at New England and outplayed an FC Dallas team that beat them earlier in the year.
No Juan Pablo Angel, No Jozy Altidore and no Claudio Reyna? No problem for this rag-tag bunch of overachievers who showed serious heart and determination in their 1-0 win on Saturday. They showed far more than their opponents, who continue to underachieve despite all the talent on the roster. New coach Schellas Hyndman will have a tough task waking up an FC Dallas team that has been in a funk since getting off to such a great start in April.
SBI correspondents Andrew Keh and Casey Corcoran took in the match and gave us their takes on the action:
No DPs, no problem for Red Bulls
By ANDREW KEH
If there’s any hidden blessing to be found in the Red Bulls’ prolonged injury woes, it might just be the opportunity it has presented for some of the squad’s periphery players to log valuable first-team minutes on the pitch.
There is no doubt that the Red Bulls are a better team with their designated players on the field. But the regular season in Major League Soccer, as much as some fans might protest, does not yet carry the do-or-die gravity of other leagues.
That is not to say, of course, that team’s should mail it in during the regular season. The cohesion and trust found within elite teams in the playoffs only appears after continued success beforehand. But experimentation in these early months is not quite a death wish, either.
Perhaps such rationalization is just this Red Bull fan’s way of finding positives in trying times. But there’s no doubt that for some of the team’s younger players, getting thrown into the fire, finding their roles on the team suddenly enlarged, and becoming more accountable for the squad’s successes can only invigorate their growth as soccer players.
An illustrative case in point is the Red Bulls’ 1-0 win over FC Dallas Saturday night, when Sinisa Ubiparipovic played what was certainly the finest match of his still brief career. Ubiparipovic has always struck me as a skilled player who could not find his place on the field. In between flashes of potential, he’s had the tendency to drift around the pitch with little purpose or motivation.
On Saturday, he was the most effective offensive player on the field. He made decisive moves around the box and in the attacking third and showed a confidence shooting on goal that we had not seen from him in the past. And as Juan Carlos Osorio ran out the same patchwork lineup he did in New England midweek, one that earned what must be considered a positive result in that game, and one that once again found the desired result, the resilience of the squad overall was encouraging.
The questions that often get asked in such circumstances, then, are whether the development of the team’s younger players has been hindered by the presence of older star players on the field.
The simple answer, in my opinion, is no. Despite what I’ve discussed above, I think it would be a stretch to claim that the development of the young players on the Red Bulls has been restrained by the influence of such quality professionals as Claudio Reyna and Juan Pablo Angel.
But their absence as of late has opened the door, and space on the field, for the more proactive members of the Red Bull bench to make a good impression. And the younger players need to follow Ubiparipovic’s lead and take advantage of this rare opportunity to find some confidence and stamp their presence on this squad.
New coach, same results for Hoops
By CASEY CORCORAN
Welcome to the rocky boat that is FC Dallas Schellas Hyndman. I think you will fit right in. Hyndman took the Hoops to New York last week and managed a 1-0 loss. The end result was not that horrible, but the product on field was. Gone from the last two weeks were the possession and attacking acumen. Gone was the three-man back-line, even with Drew Moor out on international duty. Even Brek Shea was out representing the United States Men’s National Team (technically), maybe he will get to play before some large European team takes his contract. The state of FC Dallas at this point of the year is tough to swallow for any FCD fan. There are flashes of hope every once in awhile, but on top of bad results, we have had bad front office moves and coach juggling.
I do not believe in judging a coach off of half a season, let alone one game. The biggest pet peeve I have had all year was the plethora of soft goals FCD gives up, if four men in the back can help fix that problem, I am all for it. What is worrisome is a strategy that might lead to the most unimpressive, boring soccer imaginable. Yes, that is a bit doom and gloom, but it might not be a stretch. Even the distance between the new coaches and the old on the benches has been noticed by various writers this week. It does not take an FCD fan to notice that things are not going well for the Hoops.
Luckily, the West is mediocre and form, especially in Major League Soccer, can change on a dime. A couple wins here and there and any team save San Jose is in first place. It will be interesting to see how Hyndman molds the team, and who he brings in during the transfer window. There is some comfort, well, hypothetically some comfort, in knowing that the only way for FCD to go is up. It is widely agreed that the personnel are above average at Pizza Hut Park. Whether or not this is true, I do not know. While the midfield is very strong on paper, the midfield has been why this team has such a weak record. Again, while it has not fielded the best results, it has to be noted that the average age is incredibly young.
One news story came up this week that was truly scary, MLS recently turned down an offer from Europe for Kenny Cooper. Just last week I wrote asking what it would take to get Cooper playing for the USMNT. Europe might be the only way, but I never thought it might happen this soon. Granted, the offer was very low for a young striker, but it does show the interest Cooper has generated. Throw in the rumors of Manchester United curious about Brek Shea, and things are even scarier. That rumor makes a lot of sense as well. I am sure Man U keeps a tab on ex reserve squad man Cooper, so Shea is probably getting more looks than usual.
Even with the sad state of affairs, I still love FCD and they still completely control their destiny. A new coach, scouts from Europe, and motivation to prove themselves. Things are all in place to move up from last week.
Ohh, and we won the Brimstone Cup.