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Red Bulls crash out of CCL after scoreless draw with CD FAS

Agonizing Mike Petke

Photo by John Geliebter/USA TODAY Sports


The New York Red Bulls had their destiny in their hands. All they had to do was win twice to secure advancement.

They failed with a match to spare.

Needing a victory in order to stay alive in the CONCACAF Champions League, the Red Bulls suffered an early elimination on Wednesday night after settling for a frustrating scoreless draw vs. CD FAS. Saer Sene had a golden chance to give New York the lead in El Salvador, but he completely missed the target on a first-half penalty kick that marked the MLS club’s best opportunity in the match.

The Red Bulls, who for the second straight game deployed a largely reserve-filled lineup, had other chances late but also failed to capitalize on them.

The result assured that the Montreal Impact would finish atop Group 3 and move on in the competition while also knocking out Mike Petke’s side before it hosts the Canadian team in the group finale next month. CD FAS were eliminated before Wednesday’s match.

New York came out with a stronger starting unit than the one that took to the field last week in a 1-0 loss in Montreal, with starters Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam, Chris Duvall and Ambroise Oyongo all included in the lineup. Sam, however, had to leave the game 16 minutes in after sustaining hamstring tightness in his right leg.

The Red Bulls controlled the possession battle, but were unable to create a quality scoring chance until Oyongo drew a foul just inside the edge of the penalty area. Sene stepped up with a glorious chance to put his team in front, but he skied his attempt over the crossbar to keep the game goal-less at the break.

Sene almost made amends for his blunder early into the second half when he pushed the ball home via a half-volley from the left side of the 18-yard box, but he was ruled offside and the goal was disallowed.

The Red Bulls continued to boss possession and penetrate the final third in the closing 45 minutes, but could not muster up much quality in front of goal until the waning moments.

Ruben Bover had a close-ranger header that he weakly sent straight at FAS goalkeeper Luis Contreras, and then hit a free kick from 19 yards out in the 87th minute too high in what was New York’s last real look at goal.

Eliminated or not, Petke’s side will have to play its final group stage match against the Impact at Red Bull Arena on Oct. 22.

The Red Bulls return to action on Sunday, with a league visit to the LA Galaxy.

Check out the match highlights:



  1. Now that Montreal has locked up the top spot in Group 3, they can field a reserve squad against NYRB in the last game, and keep their boys fresh for MLS play. They have a large GD to make up against Chivas, but with focus and a little luck, may still win the Wooden Spoon.

  2. I can’t wait to hear what Petke has to say when he has to re-shuffle his lineup or play presumably tired players like McCarty, Alexander, Sam, and Oyongo, and they still lose in LA. Then where will all his planning have gotten him? I simply don’t believe the line that Henry, Cahill, and BWP were all injured — or at least so seriously injured that they could not even make the trip and be available in what quickly became an emergency.

    Can’t wait until the final CCL game next month. I fully expect RBNY to put their academy team out there. Or maybe the kids who march out with all the flags. How much more clearly, and how many times, can the team’s actions say, “We don’t care about this non-MLS competition.”

  3. NJRB choaks again.. how do you miss that PK?

    still the game that doomed them was loosing in Montreal. win at home and draw on the road should get you out of the group stage. not bringing your dp’s to El Salvador isn’t the worst mistake they have made.

    • You miss because you have someone (or something) called “Saer Sene” taking critical penalties in spite of a litany of assassins on the books.

  4. We threw away the Montreal match with the idea that this game was winnable – but you’re playing with one forward up top like as if you needed a road draw. Didn’t even to have another one on the bench ready to suit up if we needed to turn it on in the second half… I mean one of Petke’s second half subs was really Alexander coming on for Dax. Negative substitutions from a side that came with 90% defensive players.

    Keep in mind that if Sene buries that PK, we walk out of there with the W. However, I’m not convinced that Petke wouldn’t have put out a similar crap lineup in the final game at RBA vs Montreal. We would have had to best a Montreal A team with a C level squad. Would have been a tall order. Let’s see how quickly Cahill, Henry, BWP all miraculously recover from injury for LA.

    • I wish some reporter (who covers this team anyway?) would ask these tough questions. This was a failure on all levels. They brought a charter jet and a chef but they forgot to bring a team. “90% of the roster,” Petke? Hah. How about “20% of our commitment to score”?

      • It is borrowed right out Tim Sherwood’s terrible playbook from last year’s Europa League. The theory goes like this: “If I bring a team that lacks the talent to win, nobody will blame/fire me when we lose. Plus, I will look like a genius if these lovable losers someohow pull it off.”

        Time to throw Petke in the dustbin. Former players of the B minus variety are no substitute for simply hiring a coach who knows how to win things. NYRB might have a joke name and a legacy of competitive disappointment, but at least management opens the checkbook often enough to have some vague credibility.

        This is one of those times guys. Once the team crashes out in the playoffs, get that upgrade done.

      • The problem isnt the coach, its the entire institution that owns this team and treats it as a simple marketing gimmick. They gave up long ago on trying to turn NY RB into some major brand priority..they divert all their resources on the football side now to Lepzig and Salzburg where getting into the Champions League in UEFA gets them enormous exposure.

        The team puts forth the same desire and effort their owner does…little.

      • Absolutely no dispute. It is an organizational illness. But replacing Petke is the closest thing to a “quick fix” that the clowns in charge could do to change things…. not that they will think of it

      • They will likely get to replace Henry and others this offseason. That will provide an upgrade potential.

        I think their bigger issue is going to be they never won to cement the fans, City is about to come in spending money, and when someone wants to play in NY or LA, there are going to be more options than before.

        But when I hear all this moaning I remember when they were Metrostars playing on turf in the Meadowlands in front of their parents and friends. That was Chivas-esque. NYRB is actually a decent template for a solid MLS franchise, big pockets sponsor, nice stadium with grass field, solid unis, solid name.

      • Hey I’d agree they aren’t far away from being a good franchise… an ownership change and a rebrand would do wonders.

        But “solid name”? Are you nuts? It’s slightly better than the Cincinnati Lunchables or the Topeka Planned Parenthoods…. slightly.

  5. Very disappointing. This club lacks real ambition. Seattle picked up its 4th Open Cup Championship last week,…and Red Bulls are rolling out a reserve team to stave off elimination from the CCL?

    It is difficult to support this team.

  6. Shame on Petke, who put out a lineup seemingly designed to get a road draw instead of the needed win. Except for Sam (for 17 minutes), he had no experienced, productive attacking players on the field or in the bench. Yet he played starters (McCarty, Duvall, Alexander) in defensive roles. When you leave four of your best attackers home (Henry, Cahill, BWP, Miller on the overlap), you are showing disrespect to the opponent, the competition, and your fans. And why is Sene taking the PK when that is virtually the only way that Luyindula can score? If McCarty can start and go 60, why couldn’t Cahill, who can’t fit into Petke’s 4-2-3-1, contribute last night? Sometimes it’s so hard to root for this team.

  7. Now that Chivas USA have almost finished circling the drain, NYRB have the title of “Biggest Stain on the MLS Brand” almost entirely to themselves.

    It might not be “news” anymore but at least it deserves its moment in the The Onion: Mike Petke is coaching Thierry Henry! Was Joey Digiamarino not available? Is it time to bring in the newly-available Logan Pause? Any other mediocre nobodies want to try their hand? What about you, Davy Arnaud?

    But but but…. Supporters Shield!!!!!

    • They have a winning record, would currently make the playoffs, have several consecutive playoff appearances, interesting players (including a potential MVP and record setter), lucrative sponsor, nearly 19000 fans a game in the stands. How is Chivas either relevant or comparable?

      They are about to be pressed by another NYC team and without a title, they may lose some fans when that happens. But the idea they are a disgrace is a big stretch. It looks to me more like they didn’t care.

      • I do not dispute that Chivas were far worse offenders, but are you seriously asking how are Chivas USA relevant/comparable? It’s quite simple…. they are the “other” team in the league to subordinate the team name/primary branding to advertise another brand/product. In fairness to NYRB, they do not use their name to promote a direct competitor of MLS (Chivas facepalm)– they simply use their name promote a worthless energy drink (or a “lifestyle” if you wanna be a complete d bag about it). But the no matter how you look at it, both franchises have very openly acknowledge pesky MLS franchise is just a side business – this might be reality for plenty of teams but it’s not something you want to see openly advertised IN THE TEAM NAME!

        This is why NYRB are a stain in the Chivas USA mold, and yes this matters to the league. They add negative value to the greater MLS brand (ever been in a room full of casual American sports fan when somebody asks “Wait… there is a soccer team named after Red Bull?” Very uncomfortable) And let’s face it…. MLS needs to get to work on converting some non-soccernerds if it wants to penetrate the US market further. Looking like a joke reincarnation of the “Mighty Ducks” is a bad look, even if it is a little better than looking like an advertisement for Liga MX.

        And when you crash out of the CCL group phase against Salvadorean opposition with a game to spare…. Well now you really aren’t helping the MLS brand.

        Don’t get me wrong. I am not going after NYRB fans. Actually, they impress me very much for putting up with this weak garbage, and for trekking to Harrison en masse for home games. They deserve a franchise identity that doesn’t embarrass them or the league.

    • The thing is….every other MLS team would have tried. So let them play instead.

      Are there limitation ? Sure.
      Lack of money is a big one in sports these days. But this was really lack of desire. I say team wide. Is Henry upset he didn’t play in the Montreal game ?

      WHY NOT ?

      • To be fair, DCU has mostly played second stringers for the three matches (and a couple guys suspended from league play) Sporting played starters once, when they had both weekends off from league play. When you’re in the playoff hunt (and the east is so compact you can see any of the top seven missing the playoffs or making them) you simply aren’t going to put Henry or Cahill or BWP on a flight to Central America midweek. That would be stupid. You have to trust that your second team and maybe a few starters can pull it out.

      • Cahill should have been out there. He’ll probly appear as a sub vs LA at best. Knowing that you need a goal away in El Salvador to stay alive, I would think think that he should at least made the bench as insurance.

      • And that is made more problematic because another MLS team, one that has nothing to play for in the regular season, is in their group. Montreal put in their A team, and beat RBNY’s second and third stringers. Meanwhile RBNY has been facing a stacked schedule, with must-win match after must-win match. Any loss likely knocks them into 6th place.

        IMO, making the playoffs is more important than the CCL. RBNY got unlucky in that they got stuck with the Canadian team, a team that put its emphasis on the CCL.

      • LOL what kind of excuse is that. Red Bull got unlucky because they were in a group with teams that actually cared…only if they could be in a group with teams that didn’t care like them..then they would have advanced. Holy shit that is stupid.

      • Seattle was in that situation many times due to their Open Cup wins.
        A balance of starters and others works.

        So we can’t play CCL in the beginning of the season, we can’t play CCL during the playoffs, and we can’t play CCL during the playoff run.

        OK. Fine. Let someone else take a stab.

  8. Pathetic from a New York team. Any team that carries the name New York should be going for everything and play to represent New York world wide.
    How do you want to be recognize and respect when you don’t even take open cup or champions seriously and might not even win MLS cup.
    This is is not good for red bull fans and something has to happen.
    So let’s say nycfc wins open cup before red bull and goes deeper in the champions than red bull, then what for red bull fans and organization.

    • Exactly, and this champions belongs to MLS since only 3 mexican teams are going to advance, America, Cruz azul and pachuca and America has the better side.
      But again, champions is decided till next year and red bull could have been a better team next year.

      • #3 seed will probably play Herediano and #4 will probably play America. As DC United and Montreal are both vying for that #3 seed, the last game has added incentive to avoid America in the QF.

        Got to beat the Liga MX teams at some point in the tourney, but better to face them in the SF and Finals.

        Sad to see NYRB represent MLS like this. This tournament brings together MLS fans (Canada & States alike) for the greater good and NYRB did not do us proud.

    • I’m sorry but the article kind of steers you wrong. Montreal was in total command of the group, undefeated and untied, 9 out of 9 points. NYRB was not so much “in control of their destiny” as trying to stay alive mathematically, while playing on the road. They had to win to make the Montreal contest matter. In this kind of tournament, it’s harder on the road. A tie is not so much an awful result as simply not enough. But what kneecapped them was really the Montreal game.

      I see where people are like, how dare they not go all out, except they are still in a hot playoff race and most European teams would run out their second tier in a similar situation. NYRB rightfully figures that the outside chance of advancing in CCL — coming from 6 points back — only to lose in the knockout stage, is less interesting than pursuing their first MLS Cup. How rude.

      • FWIW I knew darned well that my Dynamo would field this kind of team for CCL just the same, and if I bought tickets, I did it knowing the score. The idea that MLS teams are out there with their first XI chasing glory is naive. They try to squeak by til spring, then see if they can pull something off in the knockouts, knowing full well the form book will favor the Mexicans. Has for several years straight.

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