Looking back, winning the U.S Open Cup would have not only salvaged this season, but also made a better excuse for letting down against last place division rival D.C. United (9-17-5, 32 pts). As it stands a tie, it is said, is like kissing your sister. It leaves a bad taste with a ton of guilt involved. A feeling that Murillo is experiencing tonight as he scored a goal. The problem is it was in his own net in injury time which negated a nice comeback from 2-1 down. The New York Red Bulls (12-11-7, 43 pts.) solitary point ensures that Montreal cannot catch them this week. But the road ahead is quite difficult with three of the best teams on the calendar among the final four games of 2017 starting this Saturday against Toronto FC.
“Obviously everyone’s feeling disappointed and gutted because it’s a game they fought so hard to get themselves back into it and ultimately the win then we give it away,” summarized Red Bull Head coach Jesse Marsch.
If the Red Bulls had held on to win, Tyler Adams would have been the man of the hour. On a humid evening in Red Bull Arena, Adams pitched his tent and made the field his own scoring his first two goals of the season. The Wappinger’s Falls, NY native caught an errant cross that bounced once before fielding it off his chest and opening the scoring with a laser from the right of the box 18 minutes in minute 73 he caught a long rebound outside the ox and followed with a low diagonal rocket to evening the score at two and setting up a tremendous finale.
One strategic move by Marsch that paid off handsomely was bringing in Gonzalo Veron, who made the sprint of the season, running down the sideline from midfield where D.C United defender Paul Arriola stayed step for step until Veron got separation in the box where he was deposited. He was given the honor of finishing what he started with a 75th minute penalty smash to put the Reds up 3-2.
Veron nearly put the game away when he got isolated on defender and was pulled down again but this time a foot from pay dirt. Missed opportunities despite domination of play continues to plague this team.
“I looked at the stats and it’s the same story, outplaying a team, outshooting them, being more dangerous but giving away the most ridiculous goals,” said Marsch.
Which brings us to Michael Murillo, who in the first half was robbed by D.C goalie Steve Clark on a rocket from long range that screamed goal. Murillo attempted to deflect a cross with a high knee, which deflected the ball past Luis Robles which left the aforementioned bitter taste in his mouth. According to Marsch, it’s been an issue with the back four all year long.
“He’s a good player but he’s been involved in too many goals. He has to find a way to clean that up. Period,” Marsch said, “You can go across our backline. We’ve played a lot of games and given up way too many goals.”
This one happened with barely two minutes left in injury time. 120 seconds away from the type of win which ignites playoff runs. This one stung. It also brought into focus a team that has not solved the problem of getting to the next level.
“It’s not lucky, it’s not good enough,” Marsch said, “On one level we have a good team and on another level we’re our own worst enemy.”
Now if New York, which has not won a league match since August 12th, wants to avoid a getting nipped by the Montreal Impact for the final playoff slot, they need to start with the best in MLS and that means reducing mistakes.
“We’re commanding every game we play but we have to work so hard for our chances and when we do score, it seems we find ways to literally give goals away,” Marsch said, “We have to regenerate, find ways to put fresh legs on the field at their (Toronto’s) place and get back on the horse.”