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Osorio must shoulder blame for Red Bulls loss


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There is plenty of blame to go around for the Red Bulls’ embarrassing 5-2 loss to Chicago on Thursday night. It’s almost tougher finding those who weren’t to blame than those who were.

Any list of blame for Thursday’s debacle begins with Red Bulls head coach Juan Carlos Osorio, who made the mistake of choosing a lineup that came up as small as you could imagine in such an important game. Make no mistake, players such as Gabriel Cichero, Juan Pietravallo and Jorge Rojas failed miserably, but Osorio must ultimately shoulder the blame for choosing them.

Osorio didn’t come by choosing his lineup easily. He spent countless hours trying to come up with a lineup that could deliver a result that could help the Red Bulls reach the playoffs. A win or a tie was enough. He ultimately settled on a handful of players that left him open to criticism before the first ball was kicked on Thursday.

Osorio must feel like a cruel trick was played on him on Thursday, when he saw his three South American signings stink up the place and show little of the quality that made them look like such promising acquisitions just two months ago. Early on you could see Rojas’ skill, Petriavallo’s toughness and quality, and Cichero’s ability and confidence.

Slowly but sure all three players morphed into unreliable players whose flaws have laid ruin to Osorio’s best-laid plans for this season. Thursday offered the clearest evidence to indict all three players. Cichero was the most disappointing of the three, looking like the unsure and mistake-prone centerback who looked tragically bad in the team’s losses to Colorado and Real Salt Lake.

Osorio could have stuck with Andrew Boyens and Diego Jimenez at center back, but ultimately decided that it was riskier to play Jimenez, who was nursing a knee injury, than Cichero, who reportedly played a solid game for Venezuela in a World Cup qualifying win against Ecuador. That match turned out to be fool’s gold for Osorio, who must have wanted to tear his hair out as he watched Cichero make mistake after mistake.

it should be noted that the drug suspension of veteran defender Jeff Parke severely cut down Osorio’s options, but it is tough to defend the decision to play Cichero considering how utterly awful he had been in his last two appearances for the team. It remains unclear just how injured Jimenez was, but you almost feel like a one-legged Jimenez couldn’t have done worse.

Osorio’s other lineup decisions were based on understandable factors. Benching Dane Richards drew plenty of criticism from Red Bulls fans but Richards has had a history of struggling against the Chicago Fire, but Pietravallo’s brainless performance made it clear that the Red Bulls would have been better off with Seth Stammler in a defensive midfield role and Richards on the right flank.

Pietravallo’s one half of soccer against Chicago was painful to watch as he made clumsy challenge after clumsy challenge and managed to avoid about two or three chances to draw a second yellow card. It would have been one thing if this was Pietravallo’s first such display, but he has has a handful of matches like that, when his late reactions and poor positioning put him in bad spots, resulting in poor challenges and cards galore.

Osorio’s summer signings weren’t the only disappointments. He went with Mike Magee over Mac Kandji and Magee rewarded Osorio with as toothless a performance as you could want from a forward. Kandji came on in the second half and created problems for the Fire back-line with his size and speed, leading to a goal and nearly a second goal that was cleared off the line by Bakary Soumare.

Does Thursday’s loss, and Osorio’s hand in that loss, mean the coach should be fired? It shouldn’t, but it just might if Red Bull leadership in Salzburg decides he hasn’t done enough in his first year. Ultimately though, it is hard to imagine Red Bull cutting ties with Osorio after the hefty price they paid to the Chicago Fire for his services.

Osorio is still a good coach, and it wasn’t a case of him not preparing his team for Thursday. He spent hours in training going over the exact kind of plays that led to at least three of Chicago’s goals. As much as a head coach must shoulder a hefty portion of blame in situations like Thursday’s, at some point the players must be held accountable. With the exception of Juan Pablo Angel and Dave Van Den Bergh, every other start for the Red Bulls has to come away from Thursday feeling like they could have, and should have done better.

The same applies for Osorio, who will have to wait until Sunday to see if the Red Bulls will be given a second chance and a place in the playoffs. If D.C. United fails to beat Columbus on Sunday, Osorio will have a chance for redemption and if there’s a positive from Thursday’s loss, it is that Osorio learned what players he absolutely cannot count on. It was a painful and costly lesson though and one Osorio must shoulder the blame for.

What do you think of Thursday’s Red Bulls debacle? Do you think Osorio deserves most of the blame? Think the players deserve most of the blame?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Time to take another look at SCOTT PALGUTA. The NJ product is a free agent after a breakout year with Rochester in the USL First Division. IF NYRB liked him LAST year they have to love the All-League defender THIS year. They’d get alot more defense for alot less money. What do you say, Ives? You saw the boy play last pre-season. He’s the real deal and he’s right in our own backyard.

  2. Trust me, no one feels the loss worse than the coach, and believe me he will learn from that one. You are either hero or zero in this sport, there is no in between. JCO will answer the naysayers, and I see he is championship caliber, for some organization, in the future. We will welcome him in Miami for MLS 2010, USL, or college, he would be a perfect fit. p.s. You should never unpack your suitcase as a pro coach, lol! Painfully the game is at 5 not 3pm…sheesh 2 more hours we wait.

  3. Time to think…… eh.

    I said way back that Mr.JC Osorio is not a Coach for a team in the MLS….is time he go back to is belong,a conditioner coach,there YES!! he is great..but Head Coach, 🙁 no way.Please…………………..

    He must GO!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Someone in management will have to pay the price for this year’s fiasco. I think Agoos should be the one, with JCO given another year to show improvement. But we should be aware that Richie Williams is likely to leave for a head coaching job in the near future (Philly?) unless we hire him.

    I’m of the belief that the fundamental reason our foreign signings are usually weak is because of the turf situation at GS. Once that is corrected with the new stadium, I think we can bring in better players. But that doesn’t excuse the present. JCO just doesn’t learn from experience, and repeats the same errors. Our team doesn’t have enough fight for loose balls, and gives away possession too easily. Give a good team too much possession and they will force us into mistakes. JCO has to put our best out there, not his favorites.

  5. Bottom line is the players Osorio brought in suck. If they play well once in 5 games then they suck. They are mental midgets and I’m starting to believe Osorio is as well. And what about Agoos? Even Bruce Arena finally pulled him out at the world cup when he was completely overmatched–it’s happening again…

  6. The reliance on the South American market has something to do with the team’s weakness at tapping their own young talent. Haven’t we seen some quality young players lost because of short-sighted decisions from the soccer operations side of the organization.

    Speaking of the soccer operations side, it doesn’t help the team’s progress for its head coach to be away from it on scouting trips for talent, which are hastily done resulting in what all of us fans agree were poor acquisitions.

  7. If the Bulls lose 5-2 to the FIre what would be the score if they back in and get Houston? 10-0?

    I’d rather have the Bulls in the playoffs as they can’t compete. THe important think is Fire 3 Bulls NADA! WIth a measly little 11-3 aggregate. Osorio and Blanco arrived at the same time. Who deserves the credit now?

    GO FIRE!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. Yo, Ives! Enough with the Red Bulls! I’m just kidding, but seriously, what are you hearing about Freddie Ljungberg as Seattle’s DP? Throw the northwest a bone, man! Thanks Ives, you’re awesome.


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