Monday, May 23, 2011

Dynamo vs RBNY: Feeling The Heat

It took some late heroics by, of all people, RBNY midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy to secure a 2-2 draw, down in Houston, on Saturday. Not a bad result, actually, but a less than impressive overall performance, nonetheless. This game brings up several questions still needing answers.

First, can the Red Bulls quickly learn to effectively defend set pieces? Mr. Backe vowed last week that he'd put the team through a tactical refresher course in order to defend set pieces. Despite whatever work was done in training, the Red Bulls gave up their 5th set piece goal in the last 3 games.

Second, is the goalkeeping situation solved? While I can't accuse Greg Sutton of having an awful game on Saturday, I really believe he should have done better on the initial header that led to Houston's late, and potentially game-winning, second goal. With Bouna Coundoul not exactly covering himself in glory the last game, and the European/South American Leagues winding down, should the Red Bulls look to get a goalkeeper in the coming transfer window?

One pundit I spoke to, after this one (the great You Suck Corrales), demanded the club sign a DP goalkeeper, ASAP. Even Seattle is rumored to have just offered Polish International goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek, currently on Real Madrid's roster, a contract - and they already have Kasey Keller.

Photo Credit: Dan Dickinson

Another point of concern is the creativity (or lack of) in our midfield. Our goals in this one came via a Teemu Tainio long ball and a corner, mercifully taken by Joel Lindpere, that found Mehdi Ballouchy (above, being admonished by Alex Prus) in the Houston box. Our best option as a creator, Dwayne DeRosario, has yet to make a massive impact and (surprise, surprise) has just been called up by Canada for the Gold Cup.

As I watched this game, and listened to the Spanish radio broadcast, I couldn't help but laugh as the commentators lambasted Ballouchy's performance. Just before his goal, one of those guys said something to the effect that "since coming in, every time Ballouchy receives a ball he just gives it right back to the Dynamo". I guess his goal makes Ballouchy the "RBNY Hero of The Week", but he needs to up his game - and I mean right now. Giving the ball away all the time just doesn't cut it. Rafa Marquez found himself out of the corner-taking job, for sub-par service on those, so non-DP Ballouchy would do well to step it up.

Finally, after making some comments to the Wall Street Journal, expressing just a bit of frustration win playing time, I expected Juan Agudelo to make a statement in this one. He didn't. That's alright, as he's still an 18yr old kid. Hopefully, he'll keep his cool and realize he needs a more time as a professional to become a consistent, week-in and week-out, impact player and starter.

Alrighty then! The Red Bulls will be back in action, @The Cathedral of Football, this coming Wednesday (8:00pm, MSG) against the Colorado Rapids. With only two points earned in the last four games, this one has become a massive, massive fixture in Mr. Backe's quest to win the Supporter's Shield.

If you don't have tickets yet for this one, you can get ultra cheap lower level seats here and here. Also, a reminder that the 2 for 1 upper level ticket offer (with Promo code RBNYBRAZIL), for upper level seating, is still in effect. Hope to see you all on Wednesday. Viper Out!
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