Red Bulls luck out with draw vs. Sounders

The New York Red Bulls escaped from a rainy Giants Stadium with a fortunate 1-1 draw against the Seattle Sounders on Saturday night. It was another listless performance from the Red Bulls, who have the look of a team already content to play out the rest of the season. The visiting Sounders, playing their second game in four days, were clearly the better side, had more (and better) chances and were twice denied by the woodwork.

The Red Bulls goal came off a lucky bounce that Juan Pablo Angel happily buried in the back of the Sounders net. The Colombian had a few other chances that went wanting, otherwise Kasey Keller’s goal was hardly threatened. The visitors showed some of the rust that can be expected from a team coming off a cross-country trip and less than 96 hours removed from a taxing match with DC United. The home side had no such excuses, but appeared less energetic than their opponents.

The Sounders hit the crossbar in the first half, the post in the second and several times were done in by point-blank saves by Danny Cepero, the best Red Bull on the night. Despite this, and despite the fact the home side did not have any shots on goal in the second half, the team’s embattled head coach Juan Carlos Osorio appeared to believe his team was the better one on the night. “I thought we had the better chances,” he said in the postgame press conference.

Amazingly, the Red Bulls probably would have won the game had it not been for a defensive mistake by Jeremy Hall. The rookie inexplicably gave the ball away to Sounders striker Fredy Montero, who was able to walk in alone on Cepero and bury the ball in the roof of the net. “I feel like a baseball pitcher who just gave up a walk-off,” said Hall afterwards. “It cost us points and I feel terrible.”

Angel said he was impressed with Hall’s reaction in the second half. “He knows he made a mistake, he’s only going to get better from this,” Angel said of Hall. “The way he reacted and the way he played in the second half was just phenomenal.”

RBNY player ratings (scale of 1-10, 10 being highest)

Danny Cepero: 7
No chance on the Montero goal. His point blank saves late in the game won this team a point it didn’t deserve. Seems to be getting his confidence back. Good.

Jeremy Hall: 5
That mistake right before the half was lethal. Not bad otherwise. Showed some ideas going forward, which once again begs the question why he is playing on the back line? Only JCO knows.

Kevin Goldthwaite: 5.5
Was lucky not to pick up his second yellow card when he stomped on Sebastien Le Toux shortly before halftime. A bit reckless in other areas as well.

Carlos Mendes: 6.5
Pretty solid game. Did his job without major errors. Can’t ask for much more from a centerback.

Alfredo Pacheco: 6
Need to see more of him. Doesn’t appear to have many ideas other than launching long balls. Maybe lost interest?

Nick Zimmerman: 6.5
Another energetic performance. Set up Angel on what should have beenClearly deserves to be a starter. Will only get better with time.

Albert Celades: 5.5
Strong first half, far too quiet in the second. Appears to drift in and out of games.

Seth Stammler: 5
Did he really play in this game? Was in the lineup but didn’t see him anywhere. Might have been a misprint.

Jorge Rojas: 5
More of the same, which is aimless dribbles that go nowhere.

Juan Pablo Angel: 5.5
Nice goal but should have scored one or two more. Has clearly lost a step. Maybe the natural grass of Red Bull Arena will invigorate his game next season. One can hope…

Macoumba Kandi: 6
Okay, we get it, you like the backheel. Unfortunately, the Sounders caught on to this trick as well. Kandji is a talented player who (like so many others) is playing out of position. He needs to make more of the balls he sees though. Less hotdogging.

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