In Search Of was a popular 1970’s television series that focused on the unsolved mysteries that were filled with conjecture but offered no specific answers to questions of the universe. The New York Red Bull mystery is very much like this leaving 18,376 fans at a loss, after a 3-1 defeat to the Los Angeles Galaxy.
The loss snapped the Red Bulls 19- game unbeaten streak at Red Bull Park, dropping them below the .500 mark riding a depressing two game skid.
If a science theory is to be applied to what happened to the Reds it could be termed “The Alessandrini Effect.” Romain was the player where the Galaxy, no pun intended, revolved around. He came out at the wrong end of a frightening collision with Kemar Lawrence who practically laid him out. But not only did he continue but had a hand in all three goals for Los Angeles (3-5-2). He channeled his anger and his team rode his passion throughout, something the Red Bulls define themselves by but was curiously lacking.
From the outset, the Reds were caught upfield and the Galaxy counter-attacked a back four that looked lost for the most part. Two goals in the first nine minutes spoke volumes. “We had an absolutely dreadful start,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said, “The confidence and life in our team was just sucked out of us. Bit by bit, play by play, you just saw shakiness and nervousness and fear.”
The first goal came on a free kick outside the left side of the box by Alessandrini that eluded Galaxy defender Jelle Van Damme, finding the space between his legs but successfully shielding off Red Bull goalie Luis Robles, who lost sight of it in the eighth minute. “Van Damme makes a good run and when he was cutting across, at that point he caused me to freeze for a second,” Robles explained.
One minute later, the defense in front of Robles continued to disintegrate. Again it was Alessandrini, who one timed a cross from Giovani dos Santos right at Robles with such velocity that it knocked him back allowing the ball to redirect into the right corner, trickling in before Luis and Kemar Lawrence could react.
But it was more a case of a team that had no real answers into what transpired on the field. Jesse Marsch took responsibility for how they came out and players to a man agreed that the team that took the pitch this evening was a facsimile of themselves. The magic of Muhl was not present on this occasion and Marsch had to try substitutions,which included a rusty Mike Grella. “By no means was Alex the problem,” Marsch said, “The problem in the first half was trying to figure out a way down 2-0 to put in a couple attacking pieces to try to get Mike going.”
The measure of a team can be gauged from their leadership. Red Bull team captain Sacha Kljestan was clueless to what happened. “It’s bizarre. I can’t really figure it out,” Sacha said, “The first twenty minutes we came out like an amateur team.”
The final blow came in the 78th minute as that man again, Alessandrini came up with the loose ball and as he entered the box was pushed down by Grella drawing a penalty. Dos Santos did the honors by converting the penalty and a 3-0 lead. Though Daniel Royer got New York on the board in extra time the Red Bulls now stand at 5-6-1 and with more questions than solutions.
The urgency to find out what makes them tick will have to be discovered quickly as first place Toronto FC will be coming to town next this upcoming Friday. “There’s not enough guys that are playing up to their potential or their capabilities,”Marsch said,”I have to look carefully at what I’m doing.” Luis Robles who had allowed only one goal in four home games this year senses that the Red Bulls have to make a statement. “This week especially after this result is a real gut check,” Robles added, “We have to figure out what we want to be as a team and a better understanding of what we’re trying to accomplish here.”
Luis Vazquez (@Cyberj2000)