Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch called his team’s performance in their 2-1 loss to the New England Revolution on Wednesday night “one of our worst of the year.”
With the win, New England took over first place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points (13-9-7), passing the Red Bulls, who have 45 points and their record fell to 13-8-6.
Marsch said in his blunt assessment of his team, “It wasn’t a good performance for us, one of our worst of the year. So frustrating to know that this was a big game, with first place on the line and to come to a tough place and not be at our best. But we knew this wasn’t going to be easy down the stretch and we can’t let ourselves get too down. We’ve got to get over it and now move forward because we’ve got a big trip coming up here, in Portland.”
The teams traded two early goals, with New England’s Diego Fagundez scoring in the second minute followed by the Red Bulls’ Mike Grella in the sixth minute. It stayed that way until the 65th minute when Kelyn Rowe made it 2-1 New England and that was how it ended, as the Red Bulls did not do much after that.
Marsch said of the second half, “We weren’t really able to establish much of the rhythm of the game. I didn’t think our pressing was very good. I didn’t think that our build up out of the back was very good. We weren’t able to find many rotations and now find gaps in the midfield, so then we weren’t really able to settle into the game. It can be like that sometimes and then you’ve got to find a way to dig out a result, and the frustrating part is to go down in the first minute on a set piece, fight our way back in the game, end the first half in a good way, but then in the early stages of the second half, to give up another set piece. n the end, in a lot of different categories, we weren’t good enough tonight.”
The Red Bulls are now 13-8-6 on the season, and sit in second place in the Eastern Conference standings, one point behind New England. The Red Bulls are now 4-6-4 in 2015 when allowing the first goal.
Fagundez put the Revs ahead in just the second minute. The midfielder was played in by Juan Agudelo and was able to beat Luis Robles 1-on-1. New England midfielder Lee Nguyen also earned an assist on the play.
Mike Grella got his second goal in as many games minutes later to tie the contest at one. Grella started the play, making a long pass out of the midfield before hustling forward. Kemar Lawrence took the ball on the wing and played a cross that deflected off a defender, bounced back off of the goal post and fell to Grella, who drove a shot by a diving Bobby Shuttleworth.
The goal was Grella’s seventh of the season, and his sixth point in the last seven games. Grella has two goals and four assists over that time.
New England retook the lead in the 65th minute with a goal from Kelyn Rowe. A partially cleared corner was played back in by Steve Caldwell, finding Rowe behind the defense. Rowe got a half-volley with his first touch that left Robles no chance to react.
The Red Bulls had a chance to tie in the 74th minute when Dax McCarty got a clean header off a corner kick, but the attempt was stopped by a diving Bobby Shuttleworth.
The Revolution outshout New York, 12-7 total, and 4-3 on frame. New York held a slight edge in possession at an even 54% for the match.
McCarty and Connor Lade both saw yellow in the contest, and will miss the Red Bulls’ next match.
Marsch said of this weekend’s matchup in Portland with McCarty and Lade suspended for yellow card accumulation, “We’ll have guys ready to go. I’m not concerned about that. We’ve got a deep group here. We’ve got a bunch of guys who understand their roles. So it’ll be a good opportunity for some different guys to step on the field and now show what they are about.”
Marsch said of New England’s defense, “I mean, they were good in the back. They were organized. We didn’t do enough to put their backs on their heels, but it was a competitive, physical match and in the end New England did enough to gain a little bit of an edge on some of these plays, to come out ahead. But for us to not play our best at all, and to come to a tough place, and push the game at end and almost get a draw, it’s not the worst thing, but we can play so much better than this.”
Red Bulls midfielder Mike Grella said of the result, “We came off second best after two set pieces and we shoot ourselves in the foot first minute of the game or second minute of the game. So, difficult one. It’s always a tough place to come but difficult that we didn’t preserve it.”
On his goal in the first half, Grella said, “We came right back in to the game which was good, we had a good reaction unlike the second goal. I felt the first goal we had plenty of energy and we came back into the game and it was a good ball across and I think Farrell put it off his own bar or something. I just figured at first that I could reach it to maybe take it down and keep it playing but when I got to it I realized that it was perfect for me to strike so I just guided it into the front post and it was a good ball.”
Grella said of his team finding it difficult to get in a rhythm, “It was difficult, it was a tough pitch and they put us under a little bit of pressure so I felt like we played direct a lot of time and it was difficult. They were ready for it and it was a battle that we came off second best.”
Red Bulls goalkeeper Luis Robles said of the result, “We knew this was going to be a hard road. We’ve had some very difficult opponents especially the first two games in the back end of the final eight for the season. To go on the road to play New England and play poorly, we knew had a tough task ahead of us but nothing within us that didn’t think we could get all six points. So, since it didn’t work out today, we have to find a way to regroup, recuperate and find the sort of sharpness and energy that’s required for us to get full three points against Portland.”
Robles said of the difficulties a team faces on the road, “We spoke a lot about mentality and understanding that there is going to be adversity on the road. There is going to be adversity on the road to greatness and we really feel like that we have the potential to do that but it’s in those moments of adversity and obstacles that we have to find a way through. So it didn’t work out for us tonight but maybe the next obstacle is mentally how can we get back on the right track, so that not only we can get a result in Portland but continue on the sort of a rhythm and play that we’ve had the last 10 to 11 games.”