Photo by ISIphotos.com
The forecast looked grim for the Red Bulls as they took the field against the Houston Dynamo. The Red Bulls were set to play without three key players, midfielder Jorge Rojas (visa issues), Jeff Parke (ankle injury) and Gabriel Cichero (red card suspension) and set to face a Dynamo team that hasn’t lost an MLS match in more than two months.
Instead of fold, the Red Bulls stepped up and delivered what was arguably their best performance of the season. Combining tenacious defending and a dynamic offense, the Red Bulls out-played and out-worked Houston for 90 minutes on their way to a 3-0 romp at Giants Stadium.
Yes, you can argue that the Dynamo were feeling the fatigue of having played a mid-week game (a 4-0 win against Chivas USA they led 4-0 at halftime), but fatigue alone wasn’t why they were run off the pitch. Tough and disciplined defending, sharp passing and clinical finishing delivered the Red Bulls a victory and moved them further ahead of the pack chasing the final playoff spot in MLS.
There were kudos galore to dole out. From the successful debut of Diego Jimenez, who played solid defense and even added an assist, to Juan Pietravallo, who is fast becoming a fan favorite with his combination of skill and toughness, everyone in the starting XI delivered a quality performance.
The emergence of Mike Magee as a goal-scoring machine as well as Dane Richards’ return to his dangerous form, has the once-toothless Red Bulls attack looking as potent as any in the league. Suddenly the team’s need for another forward isn’t nearly as important as it seemed just a month ago.
With three straight wins under their belt (all at home), the Red Bulls will face a true test on Saturday when they travel to RFK Stadium to face a D.C. United team they have struggled for years against at RFK. Can this revamped Red Bulls squad overcome the curse of RFK? We will find out soon enough.
Time for a poll. What or who impressed you the most in the Red Bulls’ 3-0 win today?
Share your thoughts on the Red Bulls victory, and their recent run of stellar form, in the comments section below.