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MLS East Notes: Red Bulls rue mistakes, White treasures first goal and more


 Photo by Howard C. Smith/


Good luck trying to figure out the New York Red Bulls' problems.

With a full-strength starting 11 that featured two players who are each paid well more than Real Salt Lake's entire roster combined, the Red Bulls were outclassed by their visitors from Utah on Wednesday night, conceding three goals in the first 21 minutes before falling 3-1.

After the match, coach Hans Backe pointed to individual errors that cost his team, alluding to midfielder Teemu Tainio not marking a set piece closely enough on Salt Lake's first goal and centerback Tim Ream's shocking giveaway on the second.

"Unfortunately, perhaps two or three individual mistakes killed the game," Backe said. "If you give away goals like that, it's a long, long way."

Added forward Luke Rodgers: "It just seems that every time we make a mistake, we get punished. Everyone makes mistakes. It's a part of life. But we just seem to make them and get punished for them straightaway. We don't seem to make a mistake and get away with it.

Here are some more notes from around the Eastern Conference:


After some struggles early in the campaign that saw him briefly lose his job to backup Jon Conway, goalkeeper Sean Johnson has bounced back to enjoy a solid sophomore campaign, posting six shutouts since regaining his the starting position in early May.

"The progression over last year to this year has gotten better, as a player and as a person," Johnson said to ESPN Chicago. "Mentally and physically, I've worked on my game, and I think it has been important for me to see different situations. Now I can kind of relate situations into my starting positions and things like that. I can only get better as I keep playing and get older."


Defender Shaun Francis, sidelined most of the season with an array of injuries, has regained his starting job at left back despite the solid performance of Josh Gardner in his stead, and coach Robert Warzycha said this week that the arrangement is unlikely to change.

"[Gardner] did a very good job, but it's no secret that when I talked to Josh, Shaun was my first choice," Warzycha told "He's probably going to be playing behind him if [Francis] performs."


United may have seen a crucial three points for its playoff aspirations slip away Wednesday as it let a two-goal lead over Chivas USA evaporate and settled for a 2-2 draw at home. But one positive storyline did emerge from the contest for D.C., as rookie centerback Ethan White, a Homegrown Player signing, scored his first professional goal early in the second half.

"It's an unbelievable feeling," White said. "I grew up watching D.C. United, and stepping up and scoring during my rookie year — I wasn't expecting that. It's unbelievable, and I don't think I've ever been happier than celebrating that goal. But walking off the field, it's disappointing because we could have won that game."


The Dynamo may be traveling for the return leg of this year's Texas derby Saturday after hosting FC Dallas for a 2-2 draw in May, but defender-midfielder Geoff Cameron thinks his side will feel right at home at Pizza Hut Park.

"I think maybe we could consider Dallas a home-field advantage," Cameron said. "It's just because we're both dealing with the heat and we're both so used to that, and the fact that we'll have a lot of fans that will come out there and support us."


The club's injury report lists centerback A.J. Soares as questionable and forward Rajko Lekic as out for this weekend's trip to Chicago after both players exited Friday's 3-0 loss in Portland with injuries.

Soares departed in the 58th minute with an adductor strain, and Lekic left the field in first-half stoppage time with an ankle sprain.


Morgan Langley, a midfielder signed from the Harrisburg City Islanders last week, made his Union debut as an 80th-minute sub for Roger Torres during Saturday's 1-0 win over the Columbus Crew, and it's an experience the 22-year-old won't forget any time soon.

"I never expected to play right away," Langley said to "I was so excited to go in the game. It was a dream come true for me. I was so pumped up. To play in my very first game at PPL Park is an experience I'll always treasure. I hope it's just the start."


When striker Teal Bunbury was mired in a scoring slump that lasted much of the summer, the second-year player was assured he's not the first forward to go through such a dry spell by someone who knows a little something about scoring goals: his father, Canadian soccer great and former Kansas City forward Alex Bunbury.

"It's reassuring to know that you're not the only person out there that it happens to,” Teal Bunbury said to "Having someone very close to you that can give you advice and a shoulder to lean on is great."


With six goals in seven league contests, midseason signing Danny Koevermans seems to be adapting just fine to the rigors of a North American soccer schedule, even though the Dutchman does acknowledge that the travel can be wearisome.

"It is difficult," Koevermans told "You're not used to it. As a European player, the farthest you can go with a plane is maybe three hours and that's it."


  1. Have you ever watched how many times even Henry gives the ball away? There are matches where he must turn it over almost 50% of the time. Point is defenders’ mistakes get magnified. Ream almost NEVER makes a mistake. ALL players send a wayward pass occasionally, in fact frequently even. Ream almost never does, but had the misfortune of this pass dramatically resulting in a goal. (You could make the argument 38yr old Rost was not on the same page and did not come out quick enough). Ream has great vision, composure, closing speed and positional awareness.

  2. I agree with you. You get a pass if it doesnt hurt you…if it hurts you…most defenders get benched. However, keeping things in perspective, this is MLS…

    I first started to hear a lot of chatter about Ream being the Future of the usmnt defense and he is so great with passing the ball. I didnt really get to see much of his games however, in the few games i watched of the regular season, high profile friendlies and a Usmnt game, i noticed that he gave the ball away a couple of times in his own half. That right there was his “Tell” he gets careless with the ball…too comfortabl with it to a fault. 2-3 more seasons will fix this up though.

  3. there were so many crappy red bulls story lines this week — marquez more or less asking to be traded or sold, the complete team breakdown in the first half, the obvious missed call on lindpere’s first goal

  4. I’m all for passing out of the back which many defenders do with no problem. However, you get a pass on one giveaway per season of Ream’s variety; he’s been doing it once per match and sometimes even twice.

  5. agree with much of this, but not on Ream. imho, we have a number of better options at CB than him, whether young, middle-aged or older. if he improves on some things, OK, but he’s not there now. It’s not hard to see that either.

    sometimes it’s fine to blast and play long, especially if you have hold up players who can take advantage of a pressing defense. Read and React, much better than deciding beforehand and then trying to execute

    also, having to trust teammates who throw you under the bus cannot help with confidence, unless it sincerely pisses Tim off to be dissed like that, which could inspire him to take the steps required to raise his level

    book is wide open on Ream to me, but the current chapter isn’t very good reading

  6. I was “admiring” De Ro’s theatrics and, when taken into consideration with those of Charlie Dives, er, Davies, was wondering when the DC in DC United changed to ‘Dive Central?’

  7. Because this is the Internet and a US Soccer Blog to boot, where Chicken Little is a soccer genius that rules the day by declaring…

    – a 21 year old Freddy Adu is done

    – a 21 year old Jozy Altidore is useless and is not the answer for us WHEN we execute our birth-right to win the world cup in 2014.

    – a misguided stupid tweet about Chandler raises the sum of all fears sprinkled with some xenophobia

    – a young, promising future center back who is riding a rough patch during his sophomore year is now a hack and useless.

    With friends like these, who needs enemas?

  8. Have to admit I’m a little puzzled by the amount of venom being directed at Ream right now. Is he having a sophomore slump this year? Absolutely, but there is a reason you don’t see a lot of defenders starting in the world cup under the age of 26 or so. It takes a while to gain the full understanding of the game needed to be a top quality centerback. Ream is still young and will get better. No need to call him a hack or bust right now. Just let him focus on his club form and eventually he regain his form and we’ll be talking about him for the national team again.

    I’m also amused by the critisim focused on his passing ability with a few people saying that they’d prefer the defender who boots it up the field aimlessly all the time rather than passing with purpose and occasionally making a costly pass. These are often the same people who blast the National team for not being able to control possession and control the run of play in a game. You can’t have it both ways. Possession starts with your back line. If the US wants to play a possession style game, then they need players in the back who can consistantly make passes out of the back to player’s feet. I’m not saying Ream is the absolute answer there (or will be) but you can’t criticize him for being a player who tries to properly pass out of the back which would allow his team to actually try and play possession.

  9. Not to mention, Ream’s picking up the ton of slack that Marquez is leaving behind. Hoping that Marquez makes a quiet exit in the off-season and Ream can get a decent partner in central D.

  10. Tim Ream is just overrated. At this point, Parkhurst is a MUCH better option. Amazing how Ream keeps getting called in when Parkhurst is off the map.

  11. Wait…so you are telling me that Tim Ream gave the ball away in his own half? SHOCKER!

    You can make the most beautiful pass out of the back 9 times out of 10 however, What F-ing good does it do you when that 1 wayward pass is all the opposition needs to punish you?

    Do that internationally and you’re FUBAR. Ask Redcardo Clark about that.

    I would rather have a full back that boots the ball into the other half as opposed to one that makes great passes however, gives the ball up in their own half placing unnecessary pressure on the defense…

  12. That creator was DeRosario and they made the mistake of trading him away. I still wonder if it had something to do with his Canada call up during the Gold Cup. I remember Red Bull seemed to think he wouldn’t accept call ups to the National Team.

  13. In regards to Ream, as a defender that can actually play with the ball at his feet and make plays in the passing game, I think he’ll always make some mistakes that other defenders don’t when they knock the ball blindly upfield. Having said, that, he’s made a couple of howlers this year, and while he hasn’t been awful, he is not the player he was last year. He still has a future on the national team, but he needs to get his head on straight.

    I’d disagree with Richards. In the past I think your criticism would have merit, but he is one of the players who has truly blossomed under Backe. Does he make mistakes, yes, but his play compared to 2 years ago is night and day.

    Agreed on the creator. That remains the missing piece. The Red Bulls rarely score easy goals, they work pretty hard for everything as they don’t have someone that can feed the strikers the final pass. Hopefully Marquez agrees to leave since he’s too good for his teammates, and Rost comes back as a non-DP or they find a less expensive keeper so they have money to spend on a creator and some more depth.

  14. NYRB problems:

    1. Tim Ream is very overrated at this point, not that he’s bad, but he’s no national team player right now.

    2. Marquez is also overrated

    3. Dane Richards is AWFUL. I would much rather have Marvell Wynne playing on the wing, that’s how bad his skills are.

    4. They have no leader in midfield, someone that can be looked to as a creator

  15. With the job security most of the Red Bull starters have had (Hans is adverse to “giving the kids a chance”) there is an obvious lack of focus on the field. Coming to the Red Bulls as a developing player under the present regime is like being sent to purgatory. He does not even sub them in late in the game. Only Agudelo has seen some play, other when injuries have forced Hans’s hands.

  16. Is is that crazy of an idea to fire Hans Backe at the end of the season and hire Bob Bradley to replace him? I mean, I know he’s going to Egypt, but someone tell me if that would have been even possible.


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