Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Matchday @Red Bull Arena: Red Bulls vs Dynamo

Good afternoon! It's an extra beautiful day here in Red Bulls land and they're back in action @The Cathedral of Football. This time it's against a Houston Dynamo team making it's first appearance @Red Bull Arena. The Dynamo are coming off an embarrasing 3-2 defeat at home, against Philadelphia, and will look to bring three points back to the Lone Star State. The Red Bulls are sporting a four game MLS losing streak, after the Red Card nightmare up at Foxborough, and one wonders how well they can do against the Dynamo's relentless attack.

The Dynamo are (and have been) one of those teams that will go at you for the whole game, even when they're up several goals. They look to embarrass teams and always have that "win at all costs" attitude. In fact, they were done in this past weekend by exactly that attitude, when they gave up a stoppage time goal (93rd min) to Philadelphia's Danny Mwanga. The Red Bulls defense hasn't exactly been inspiring lately. To put it bluntly, Petke and Ream have royally sucked. They've sucked so bad, in fact, that a Coach Backe is now adding a Center Back to his transfer wish list. Also, Bouna Time hasn't really been solid either. Add to that the Luke Sassano, Carlos Mendes, Roy Miller Blockhead Trinity and you have the makings of another disaster. So with all that in mind, let's get to some predictions.

The great Matt Conroy (aka Who Shot Sam) has this for us:
My prediction for the Houston game is part reverse psychology, part realism and part negativity. With maybe one exception I’ve been predicting Red Bull victories and draws for the last few weeks and what has it gotten us? A four game league losing streak, that’s what. With that in mind – and considering that Houston are just about as desperate as us for a positive result coming off the utter embarrassment of losing to Philly at home – I am going to predict a 3-1 loss. Goals for Houston from Landin, Palmer and Chabala. Garbage time goal from Wolyniec for us.

You Suck Corrales has said that defeatism is punishable by death, so I may want to watch my back for the next few days, but we just seem to find ways to give up cheap goals lately. Petke and Ream, who looked so steady to start the season, have been making multiple crucial errors at the back. Meanwhile, Hans Backe seems far too hesitant to replace guys, like Richards, who are underperforming. So it will be another disappointing result and we will be under enormous pressure on Saturday not to piss away another three points against Chivas before the World Cup break.
Wow! Another stunner from the usually confident Matt. I'm going to predict a Red Bulls loss as well (another shocker, eh). Matt pointed out today that the Dynamo record, for the last 10 games, looks something like this:

W, L, W, L, W, L, W, L, W, L

What can I say, except that they're due a win. My prediction: Red Bulls 0, Dynamo 3. I hope I'm wrong, of course. The great Homebrew Tim has this for us:

Folks in Viper's Nest Nation, times are tough. Our stalwart defensive shape from the early season has not been seen in a month. Mike Petke, who started the season seeming reborn and reinvigorated is showing his age--I believe he's simply having problems keeping up with the rigors of playing 90 in every league match. Coach Backe is saying he wants to see less holding possession by the defenders--I'm all for that too, but let us all pray that doesn't mean we start to see the wild boots halfway down the pitch from the Osorio days. It's time for young Tim Ream to show his poise and great distribution we saw in March and April.

There may be a crisis of confidence beginning to take hold in the locker room. Dane Richards was quoted saying, "This isn't necessarily a must-win game, but it's a must-point game." So, we're no longer setting our expectations at winning in our Cathedral. A tie is acceptable, according to Dane. Now... I happen to agree with him--we need to come away with a point here. But that doesn't mean I want to hear the players saying that! I don't want them to be realistic or reasonable--I want them to be driven!

Now, I'm happy to see Coach Backe talking out about the MLS officiating--the public show of support is important for fans and players alike, and frankly, $2500 is probably a drop in the bucket for his salary. Let's hope it doesn't bring greater wrath and scrutinty from our men in yellow going forward, though. The only thing worse than an MLS ref is an MLS ref with a chip on his shoulder.

We need four points from our two games this week, to keep ourselves well-positioned for the remaining 60% of the season. I can't predict a win until I see us manage a point. I'm not too excited about the reported lineup tonight, with Salou and Angel up top. Coach Backe seems to like the speedy guy and the target guy up top. With Richards and Angel, we had Richards in the speedy role and Angel in the target role. But Salou is clearly a target guy--what does that make Angel? The FAST one?!? Our offense has been better with Richards playing up top--he seems to understand his role better there.

Sorry for the long prediction: I haven't had much time to write a real blog entry for a while, so you get these extended predictions from me. Enough venting, here's the prediction: 2-2 draw. After all, the players believe it's a "must-point" game. Why would they try for anything more? But I believe they'll get a result tonight and position themselves to close out the top half of the season with a win on Saturday.
And that's as optimistic as it's going to get around here folks! Last, but not least, the great You Suck Corrales has this for us:
It pains me to say this, but unless things change dramatically in defense, I do not see us taking any points from this game. Let's face it, over the last month the Petke/Ream combination in central defense has been a disaster. With either one, the other, or both making huge errors that cost goals. You simply cannot go into every match knowing that one of your center backs is going to make an error that leads to a goal.

Also, I am afraid that "woe is us" and losing is acceptable mentality has crept back into this team in full force. You know the quotes. "we played well but were unlucky." " All we need are a few breaks to go are way to get back on track." Etc.etc.etc.......

I will make this statement now. 4 to 6 points are essential from the next 2 games going into the break. If not Mr. Soler and Mr. Backe must seriously consider jettisoning as many of the holdovers from 2009 as possible. Because if we lose the next two home games it will only prove that the defeatist mentality has been carried over from last year. As much as I ferverently hope the boys can pull off two wins in a row to close out before the break I fear that will not happen.

My prediction Houston 3-NYRB-0 Goals Ching 2, Oduro
Say it ain't so, YSC! You're not only predicting a Red Bulls loss, but your also predicting that the worthless Dominic Oduro will score against us. Now that would be THE massive insult of the season (thank God Khano didn't see the pitch at NE, this past Saturday). Ok, we'll have the usual commentary and photos up within a day or two. Viper Out!
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