Top Stories

Frustration abounds in Red Bull’s opening day loss

ThierryHenryFCDLoss (Getty)


The New York Red Bulls had months to address many of the pressing problems surrounding the team, but their opening day loss felt quite familiar.  Defensive miscues put young rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara under fire, set piece situation’s looked as shaky as ever, and the team could only manage to find an attacking rhythm in spurts.  The end result was a visibly frustrated Red Bull team both on and off the pitch.

New York Coach Hans Backe was adamant about improving the team’s set piece defending all preseason, but the team once again looked tentative in the back when challenged.  Their nervousness cost them. 

“Two very silly, crappy goals,” Backe observed after the match.  “You can't give away two goals like that; it’s assists from our guys.  Poor clearances in our 18 yard and of course Roy Miller’s assist in the second goal. We deserved a better result.” 

New York withstood an early attack and managed to establish a few minutes of control before a dead ball situation pinned them back.  Daniel Hernandez sent an attempt in from about 35 yards out.  The initial clearance was headed towards the far corner where midfielder Andrew Jacobson gathered the ball.  A sharp cross into the box surprised a nervous Markus Holgersson, who flubbed a one-time clearance attempt. Another failed clearance by Dax McCarty kept the ball in play and allowed a pressing Zach Loyd to pounce and score the game's opening goal.

A mental error in the second half on the part of Roy Miller sealed New York’s fate.  The Costa Rican defender sent an ill-advised backpass towards Stephan Keel that was intercepted by Blas Perez.  The Panamanian cut towards the inside, stretched the defense and lobbed an open ball towards Ricardo Villar, who chipped a shot past Meara for the deciding goal.

“You can't give a handicap two goals down with those kind of individual mistakes,” Backe stated.

The frustration in the back made it a long day for the Red Bull attack which simply could not find a proper tempo.  Forward Juan Agudelo, who received a surprise start, lamented the team’s inability to find their game.  “We weren’t able to catch a rhythm and that really gave them confidence to catch a rhythm and we weren’t able to come back,” he said.  “We couldn't finish off to tie the game.”

Agudelo played the high striker for most of the match, with Henry desperately manning the midfield to find a way to break open the attack.  The combination yielded little as New York struggled to put together a strong run on net. 

“It is tough being by myself at times because Henry likes to check in the middle,” Agudelo said of the Red Bulls in-game tactic.  “I felt like it was great when it was two forwards (he and Kenny Cooper) and Henry was able to check in the middle. I really enjoy having Henry as sort of a midfielder/playmaker because that’s what he enjoys and I think that’s his best qualities.”

Henry, who connected with second-half substitute Kenny Cooper for the Red Bull’s lone goal of the night, was visibly perturbed both on and off the field.  The team’s inability to string an attack together had the French striker throwing his arms up in despair throughout the match.  He showed visible disdain when midfielder Dane Richards was subbed out of the match.  He was vehemently arguing calls with the ref for much of the afternoon.

Not all was lost on the evening.  New York enjoyed a solid outing by rookie keeper Ryan Meara, who beat Dallas on several point blank attempts and showed an aggressive attitude on the back-line.  Kenny Cooper was also a bright spot, as his infusion to the match opened up the attack with his holding ability calming movement in the final third.  Even so, it did little to make up for what was a discombobulated Red Bull’s side.

The end product was a carbon copy of the pervasive disappointment and short comings New York suffered the previous year; surely not the kind of start the Red Bulls envisioned this off-season.


  1. Henry is used to competent management and coaches. He will continue to be toxic until there is credible leadership in that organization. And until then, all other respectable players will run away from this club…how can you blame them??

  2. Henry played like a man possessed. It was clearly a frustrating day for him, but he was still amazing to watch. Clearly a talent above everyone else on the field.

    On a bit of a different note, NBC Sports had amazing coverage of the game. Their production package is far superior to what Fox Soccer Channel has had in the past. I would say it’s better than what ESPN has.

  3. Even as a blustering Dynamo fan, this made me laugh.

    FCD played worlds better than RBNY and looks like a title contender.

  4. Can I play?
    [Sentence about writing off team for the season after 90 minutes played.]
    [Statement about Henry’s work ethic/leadership qualities based purely on watching FootyTube highlights.]
    [Conspiratorial fragment about European snobbishness that reveals more of the commenter’s own North American soccer insecurities.]
    [Assertion that player injured/previously traded/without visa is the cure to all team’s problems.]
    [Timid proposal that the opposing team might have something to do with winning?]
    [Fire coach/general manager.]
    [Anachronistic and confusing reference to Metro Stars/Tony Meola/Alexi Lalas/Bruce Arena.]
    Repeat weekly till Red Bulls win MLS Cup final 6-0.

  5. Yeah… totally Henry’s fault, he’s not a leader at all

    He went back to support/help/drag forward the midfield time and time again.

    Without being in the lockerroom, we have no idea the atmosphere

  6. It’s very frustrating. The NBC commentator even stated that he was at practice and they didn’t work on set pieces even once. This is one of the few aspects of the game that the manager has the MOST control over and can work out through practice, yet they get beat over and over again and they never work on them. It makes you think Backe isn’t really trying.

  7. Nothing I saw last year makes me think that Rafa will do better than Dax. This is not an endorsement of Dax, Rafa is there for a pay check and nothing more. At least Henry gets upset, Marquez doesn’t care.

  8. McCarty was terrible, I can’t believe we can’t find a better mid-fielder than him. When I watch him, I get the feeling he wasn’t even the 5th best guy on his college team, how is he a starter in MLS? We held most of possession throughout the game, and Dax was a momentum killer, every time the ball went to him he’d either pass it back or turn it over, not to mention he’s about 4’10” and posses zero physical threat.

  9. I would think by now it’s becoming terribly obvious that the Red Bulls have a terrible organization. What other team in MLS would be flailing this badly all of the time when they have so many resources?

    Backe sucks. Just like nearly all of the other coaches the Red Bulls have hired. Ironically, when they hired a good coach (Arena) they decided he had to perform miracles right away. Now they have had a procession of horrible coaches and they give them forever even though it’s obvious they are terrible. Henry won’t be around much longer. A lot of upper management and the coach need to be replaced. Until then it won’t matter how many quality players the Red Bulls get, they still won’t be very good. Well, at least Arena must be having a good laugh watching this farce.

  10. Yeah your right, they didn’t even have Ferriara and lost Castillo, who was terrorizing NY, within the first 20 mins of the game and still won. They must be terrible

  11. I think they should play 4-3-3 as well. If they get Rogers back that makes 4 legit forwards that could start for most teams in this league, are they really going to sit 2 all the time…

    Plus all their mids besides Richards are arguably all best suited to central midfield, Tanio, Marquez, Paulson, McCarty, Ballouchy, and even Lindpere.

  12. too soon to critique the team just yet. true Dax and new CB was were absolutely terrible. at least rafa will come back and provide an upgrade over dax. not sure about new guy, however most of the pieces are there. the right side of the field had an unfortunate off game. lindpere will show his quality.

  13. Tell me about it. Medi sucks! These guys were MLS quality when MLS was 10yrs old. Not to day! They can not play in this league. When the little guy comes back is will only mask the truth if that.

  14. Agree! I think Backe/Soler bought in guys who they owed favors to in Europe to get a paycheck. Not wasting my $$ on this team until there are changes. The team’s selling point is ” they sign some European”. But they r slow, old & lost on the field. I can understand Henry’s frustration . Why don’t they start him in a creative Midfield pos? How horrible and cardiac did they defense look? I watch match on tv, but that as far as my commitment goes for now. When people say stadium never sell out, maybe it’ s because this team & organization seems to have decided they rather be like Nets & Mets, Knicks . Long season! RSL will clobber them next wk. sorry, truth hrts

  15. I wish RB would play 4-3-3. Let Henry drop deep the way he likes to with Cooper and (hopefully) Rodgers up top. Dax needs to sit and Tainio should be the holding mid. Other thoughts… Palsson looked good coming off the bench, I’m tired of Richard’s inconsistency, Dax and Tainio keep getting in each other’s way.

  16. It’s early in the season. But there will likely be some benching as a result of this. The fact of that matter is that the team doesn’t get goals when Agudelo is on — I think the kid needs a reality check about how he can contribute. Because yesterday, he didn’t. Jozy Altidore was considerably better than Agudelo at the same age.

    McCarty will take a seat for Palsson. Richards and Lindpere are quality, but had a rough game. They’ll bounce back.

    Roy Miller needs to take a seat in favor of Connor Lade if he’s going to have ridiculous errors. He’s been error-prone for a while.

    I think this team can perform — no panic after the first game. Just need to have the coach mix it up a bit.

  17. The team looked weak and no desire.

    Yes there were individual mistakes for the goals but if Dallas didn’t score on these mistakes they had Meara under fire from the weak defense and midfield combo.

    McCarty, Solli, Richards, and Lindpere all had stinkers. Agree with that

    RSL next week looks like a big LOSS – Put in Paullson and see what he can do in advance of Rafa’s return.

  18. Why can’t we give Dallas some credit? We capitalized off of a poor clearance, and a coach has a right to be mad about that, but Villar’s goal was an excellent pass that resulted in a beautiful finish. That was a good goal. Our center backs closed down and distributed well, and Loyd was dangerous on both sides of the ball. Sounds like the ole’ “we beat ourselves” excuse when Dallas totally outplayed them for 70 minutes before retreating into a defensive shell. They’re acting like it’s a huge upset, when the Red Bulls were on the road versus a pretty good team.

  19. Why can’t we give Dallas some credit? We capitalized off of a poor clearance, and a coach has a right to be mad about that, but Villar’s goal was an excellent pass that resulted in a beautiful finish. That was a good goal. Our center backs closed down and distributed well, and Loyd was dangerous on both sides of the ball. Sounds like the ole’ “we beat ourselves” excuse when Dallas totally outplayed them for 70 minutes before retreating into a defensive shell. They’re acting like it’s a huge upset, when the Red Bulls were on the road versus a pretty good team.

  20. why is so much attention given to redbulls when they lose? honestly… LA, DC, MT, CB, NE, and CHV all lost as well. yet, nothing… the redbull hate is getting tiring.

  21. As a neutral, I had a lot of fun watching Henry yelling at his teammates to pass him the ball, while an opposing player is standing right behind him. Then, after not receiving the ball, throwing his arms up in the air in frustration.

  22. I watched the first half. NY is not a good team. Their defense is shaky and Richards has terrible touch on the ball. I can’t see why they didn’t keep DeRosario to play balls to Henry and Agudelo. Backe has to be blamed for not making that work. And if Henry was upset during the game just wait until Marquez gets back. I think it’s going to be a long year for them. Meara definitely looked solid and you can’t fault him on the goals. He is good in the air on crosses too. But i think the defensive mistakes are going to continually make it a difficult season for NY. Hopefully Agudelo, Cooper, and Henry can make them exciting. I think they should sign some new defenders this summer and then maybe they could go on a run if the midfield is strong.

    When does that second team in NY start playing?

  23. I agree with other critics stating to sit, McCarty and plug in Palsson. We know Dax is what he is why not allow Tainio to pass a bit more save his legs(until rafa is back) and let the 20yo take the beating winning balls. I liked his work rate, I didn’t like Henry throwing tantrums again screaming for the ball.

  24. You can’t blame Henry for retreating to the midfield, where McCarty was simply taking up space (including much of the space already occupied by Tainio) when he wasn’t losing the ball. The bad Richards decided to show up — the one with no moves except straight-ahead pace and a predictable cut-back. Even Lindpere was a slow and plodding non-factor. Backe is fond of blaming goals on stupid individual mistakes, but that excuse is getting old, especially when he had a hand in acquiring the stupid mistake-committers. Holgersson looked unsure (and what was he doing coming over the center line up the right side so often?). In more ways than one, this is team without a heart — an emotional heart, and a tactical heart in the center of the midfield. It’s time to clean house.

  25. McCarty, Solli, Richards, and Lindpere all had stinkers. Meara and Cooper both looked promising. The team for the most part looked old and slow. Henry was going way to far back to get the ball, completely clogs the middle and really upsets the rhythm of the team. Yeah he is the best passer on the team but moving back into midfield and calling for the ball all game really isn’t helping anyone.

  26. Yeah Agudelo’s right that they looked infinitely better with Cooper on the field. Dane Richards really sucked, and although I’d rather see Henry up front as a striker he’s their only real playmaker on the team.


Leave a Comment