May 14, 2016
3 takeaways from Red Bulls' Friday fiasco
By Michael Lewis
I could not have said it any better.
After the Red Bulls were vanquished by D.C. United, 2-0, Friday night, captain Dax McCarty said:
"It's one of the most embarrassing performances I've been a part of since I've been at this club. There's no excuse for stepping on the field and playing in the first half the way that we did. It's tough to put into words. There's no excuse for it."
Saying that, here's three takeaways from that fiasco:
The defense -- or lack there of
Remember that phrase from baseball, "You can never have enough pitchers?"
Well, the Red Bulls have invented one for soccer: "You can never have enough center backs."
With Karl Ouimette still not 100 percent after suffering a back contusion with Red Bulls II, Ronald Zubar sidelined with muscular tightness in his thigh and Gideon Baah on the bench but not quite ready to go the full 90, the Red Bulls were forced to play Chris Duvall in the middle again and as a center back, Duvall is a decent right back.
United took advantage of it.
In fact, the communication between the backs seemed to be nonexistent many times, leading to several dangerous D.C. chances and of course, the goals.
You can't afford to have that at this level.
While talking about the backline, the performance of Kemar Lawrence was quite, frankly, atrocious, particularly on both of D.C.' goals. On the first one, he wasn't marking anyone, as though he was a spectator. On the second one, he packed it in toward the middle of the box while midfielder Mike Grella defended the cross on the right side that led to a 2-0 halftime advantage.
Quite frankly, Lawrence's performance this season has dropped off considerably and this was his poorest showing since joining the team last year.
I don't know what's on his mind, whether he is anxious for a call-up by Jamaica for Copa America Centenario or something else. He has become a liability at left back and at the present time, I'd rather see Connor Lade there.
Veron for Sam
I have to question why Lloyd Sam wasn't in the Starting XI. Entering the match, he had five goals in seven matches against United.
Now, I don't know what type of form the veteran right midfielder was in at training this past week and we all knew that the coaching staff wanted to team a healthy Gonzalo Veron with Bradley Wright-Phillips up front.
Lloyd was brought into the match for Veron in the 57th minute, but as it turned out, it was too little and too late.
The attack underachieved, and that's putting it mildly.
The team is 3-7-1. The Red Bulls thought they had turned the corner after that horrendous start, but apparently that is not the case.
It's one thing to play not to play up to your potential, its another when players and coaches question the team's mentality.
The Red Bulls have two big games coming up -- against the Chicago Fire at home Wednesday and against New York City FC in the first of three Hudson River Derby matches at Yankee Stadium next Saturday.
Even though its May, they can't afford to drop any more points.
In a worse case scenario next week, the Red Bulls could be 3-9-1 entering Memorial Day weekend. That's not a record any team, especially the 2015 Supporters Shield winners, would want, even in the woefully weak Eastern Conference.