May 2, 2013
MY TWO CENTS
Two consecutive wins, yet this Red Bulls supporter still has his concerns
Vish Murthy is a long-time Red Bulls fan who lives in Princeton, N.J.
"The opinions reflected in the My Two Cents columns do not express the views of the editors or management of BigAppleSoccer. com"
By Vish Murthy
Special to BigAppleSoccer.com
Along with the rest of the crowd, this writer too was thrilled at the way the Red Bulls handled the New England Revolution on April 20. There was many a cause for surprise.
While many might have waited with bated breath to heckle and run Roy Miller out of town, no one could have envisaged the new Roy Miller that one saw. Gone were those trademark wimpy back passes of his; this was a completely different Roy. One saw that desire to spring forward like a colt most of the times and wanting to be in that circle or triangle with the strikers, even as he sprinted back in defense like a vastly consummate left back. One wonders if this was his normal game, that an earlier coach might have shackled and Mike Petke all but released him like a genie out of the bottle?
A second player, Johnny Steele, looked like someone whose roots might have sprouted from the very turf in New Jersey -- Harrison; he not only had a gutsy performance but showed us an ingredient that I believe has all along been missing from our team - that of getting the ball consistently in to the feet of a striker. Thanks to Shep Messing for often repeating this in his broadcasts "Get that ball to Thierry Henry - that's what he is there for!" Messing was right too in pointing out in a later game that Henry was the kind of guy that has eyes in the back of his head similar to a former Cosmos teammate of his - the great Pele. Steele's profile even led to a mention by the BBC.
Dax McCarty might have overdone his humbleness, earlier, in tweeting that "maybe none of you have heard of me...," but with his play that day, he all but confirmed what we have come to know of him - he does wear his heart on the sleeve of a Red Bull uniform. He belongs to that very timbre which made us love guys in the past like a Steve Jolly, a Mike Petke, a Rhett Harty or a Giovanni Savarese. Those guys left everything on the field.
While Tim Cahill and Juninho had still to spark that very trademark that brought them here in the first place, they left no cause to doubt as they brought their great experiences into a fine mesh this day.
In spite of affording that goal (Markus Holgersson again?), the back line for once seemed solid.
Yet, there was something that held this writer back from exulting too much. It was that old nagging doubt, whether all of this was but a flash in the pan or hopefully a new start for a team that has always looked so formidable on paper?
One wondered, if it would be old Miller time, again?
This writer is all but glad that he held his tongue in check.
Last Saturday's game against Toronto FC not only renewed the jitters, but raised the old bogey of the Red Bulls being an inexplicable team.
You play the first half smoothly against a relatively weak team. You then go into the locker room at halftime confidently one goal up. Even your coach tells the media that you will be continuing with the same type of play and produce some more.
Then why in consternation do you come back after the break and do exactly the opposite of what you are supposed to be doing?
Why on earth would you need to break your stride and start to slow things down? Why the build towards hunkering? Hasn't a whole life time of doing and watching as top athletes not convinced you that a 1-0 lead is all but the most precarious? Instead of getting that quick second, the team started to play like they were tired or just knew not what to do? especially on a day that looked picture perfect for soccer!
What became of the magnificent Steele that Johnny possessed in the earlier game ? And, why didn't Petke see fit to replace him? What happened to the Lloyd Sam that we saw so full of promise in the days of Hans Backe? What became of Eric Alexander (not withstanding that his position was moved)? True, there was no Dax and no Juninho, but what really happened to this team's chemistry?
No doubt, Cahill produced a standout performance and provided us with a revival of his old scoring ways. And Jamison Olave with his gliding moves and ability to get to the ball, reminds you often of another big man, the great Muhammed Ali who spoke of "floating like a butterfly and stinging like a bee".
But we are barely glad that the team recovered in time (in the waning minutes) to post another goal on an away victory. But Red Bulls, why o why is thy name associated with so much "inconsistency"!
Petke really needs to fix this one, other wise it will be another year of "yeah, so what?"
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