The New York Red Bulls got their second straight 1-1 draw at home, this time with the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday night in Harrison, NJ. The Red Bulls remain undefeated, with 3 wins and 4 draws for 13 points, and they are in third place in the Eastern Conference.
This game had all the makings of a trap game, as the Rapids are last in the Western Conference, and it came three days after the Red Bulls hosted the defending MLS champion Los Angeles Galaxy and then a match with the rival New England Revolution on the road this Saturday night.
The Rapids got the scoring started in the 25th minute when Dillon Powers took a free kick and found Gabriel Torres, who slipped past the Red Bulls defense on the right side, for the goal.
Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall said of the goal, “I think it was just, we were a little slow on our reactions, a little disorganized. There were two open men on the back post, it’s just not good enough. We need to be tight on them, and be a little bit physical. It was a soft goal to give up, I think.”
It took the Red Bulls just five minutes to tie it up, as Bradley Wright-Phillips scored on a penalty kick after being taken down in the box in the 30th minute.
The chances kept coming, as Colorado’s Dominique Badji came in on a fast break in the 35th minute. Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles got a hand on it, but it trickled by him and rolled off the post, coming thisclose to getting the one to put them ahead.
The Red Bulls controlled possession for 73,5 percent in the first half, and that momentum continued in the second half when they held the ball for 63.5 percent. Their biggest chance in the second half came when Sacha Kljelstan rifled one from the right side of the crease off the post. Wright-Phillips also had numerous chances in the second half, but just couldn’t find the net.
Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch said of the game, “What was troubling about tonight, I’m not so focused on the first goal part as much as I am just having a really bad start to the game, where we wanted to make sure we had a good start and we’re on top of the match from the beginning. I think maybe that we thought this was going to be an easier game than it was. Credit to Colorado, I think we knew that they were going to come here and fight and battle and make it hard and they did. They definitely earned that draw, and so that was the part that was frustrating a little bit, is that we just didn’t come out and command the game like we need to.”
Marsch said of his centerbacks, including Damien Perrinelle, having trouble with Colorado’s speed and any adjustments they made, “Well, we talked about they were definitely trying to counter us with speed and we talked about making sure the centerbacks, once we lost the ball, didn’t put themselves in one-on-one situations, but that the two of them dealt with it together. I mean, they did a good job and they do have fast guys that made it hard on us, so they certainly now, they tried to put Badji near Damien and try to counter there with speed. In the end, he (Perrinelle) made some plays and prevented them from scoring, Luis came up with a couple big saves.
“To be fair, they did a good job of sitting back, trying to make it hard on us, trying to clog the center of the midfield, winning balls, playing forward quickly, trying to catch us on the counter. That was their game plan, and it almost worked,” said Marsch.
Marsch said to the question of if the Red Bulls looked at the standings and presumed that this team was not that good or would not put up the effort they did, “Yeah, I think probably that’s part of it. We need to make sure that…you guys, everyone in this room’s been pretty kind to us so far and written some nice things, and that’s all great, and maybe we weren’t focused enough, maybe we were ahead of ourselves, right, and looking at the standings, looking at some articles, looking at what people are saying, whatever it is, and thinking that we’re a better team than we are. If we want to be a good team, we have to stick to what we do well, and that is, run hard, press, recover balls, play forward, compete, and I think that in a lot of those categories, we were second-best tonight, so credit to Colorado.”
Marsch said of how frustrating it is to only get 5 shots while having possession for 68.8 percent of the game, “Yeah, there were a lot of plays that were close to coming off, but didn’t, even up to the very end with Bradley’s header…We created a lot of transition opportunities where I thought that we missed the first pass, often to Bradley, and then we either went wide or made a mistake on the pass, so and then some of our crossing was off and we weren’t getting enough numbers forward. I thought a lot of guys felt like the way to help the game on the day was try to get balls to feet, which actually allowed them to close us down, and then win balls and then counter. Overall we did have a command on the game, we were also a little bit lucky because they had some big chances, and in the end we need to be better. We need to be better.”
Marsch said to the question of if he feels they left points on the table with these two ties, “No doubt, no doubt. I think we try to take this one game at a time, if you now look back at it, in the last two draws, that we feel like we should have won both, so that’s four points left on the table. But even more than the points I think is this was not the kind of game we wanted to play. We weren’t quite sharp enough, we weren’t quite playing fast enough, and we didn’t put the game enough on our terms. So, as much as I look at the results, I also look at the fact that this was the first game where we didn’t really play like ourselves. Second half it got a little bit better and we almost created some chances that way, but we need to play like we want to play for 90 minutes.”
Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles said of the team possibly overlooking this game, “To be perfectly honest with you, I do not believe that we overlooked this game. The reason that the older players came in and said they wanted to play this is because in the past we have overlooked teams, we have dropped points at home. So, we wanted to show that this is a different mentality, and unfortunately, we fell flat today.”
Red Bulls defender Chris Duvall said of looking at these 1-1 results differently, “I mean, it all comes down to our performance. I think we’re all very disappointed in the effort we put out in the first half, and so that’s what leads to the perspective on today’s game. I think we were more pleased with our personal performance on last game. It has nothing to do with our opponent, we’re focusing more on ourselves.”
Duvall said of Colorado’s speed, “They had a lot of speed up front and we knew that and we just, you know, we gave them a lot of easy chances in the first half, some fast breaks. I think that was just not good enough on our defense, you know, all four of us in the back, and we can’t allow one pass to beat us. I think we recognized that at halftime and we made some adjustments and did a little bit better in the second half.”
The Red Bulls will play the New England Revolution in Foxborough, MA, on Saturday night. The Revolution eliminated the Red Bulls in last year’s playoffs. Duvall said of the Red Bulls entering that game with a chip on their shoulders, “Yeah, for sure, I mean, we’re able to get ourselves up for every game. We’ve got a few days to recover physically and to set our sights on New England, a team we’ve got a little bit of a payback for them. so, I think it won’t be difficult to get back up for the next game. It’s something that want and it’s something that we’re gonna be driven for.”