In a must-win game, against Sporting KC, the Red Bulls were no-shows at home and were thoroughly outplayed to the tune of a 2-0 loss. By the end of this weekend the Red Bulls could be fighting just to get into the playoffs, if other results don't go their way.
What can I tell you about this loss that you don't know already. The team had nothing! Hans "The Tinker Man" Backe put out a starting lineup with three defensive midfielders because he wanted possession. It's too bad that his master plan was tossed out early, as two 1st half set pieces did him, and the team, in. The best defensive midfielder of the three, Dax McCarty, was sacrificed at half time for the ineffective Kenny Cooper. Is it a matter of a severe lack of fitness, as several of my comrades will point out?
While I do believe that the great NYC, Hoboken and Fort Lee night life is taking a toll on our players, I also believe that there is a bit more to our problems than meets the eye. As all of my soccer buddies know, I've been screaming about our lack of midfield creativity for months and months. We still don't have that elusive creator in the middle (Tim Cahill is NOT that player) and our attack has suffered as a result. In our last game, against Columbus, we scored from two corners and from a Rafa Marquez magic long ball that Thierry Henry did well to chest down and stick in. That goal, in particular, won't be easily duplicated. The bottom line is, we have the long ball option or the cross from the side option. We have no option in the middle of the pitch for a magic through ball or chip or cross.
Yes, I submit to you that there is a reason why several of our players are not scoring goals in bunches anymore. We don't have a creative option in the middle. For the Columbus game, we were lucky that their creative option was benched (due to injury) or things could have ended differently. I submit to you that with this defense, we're going to have to start scoring two or three goals a game, just to tie.
There's a guy I know, by the name of Nick Chavez, who also shares my amazement that we've stocked this team with defensive midfielders galore, but not one quality Creative Mid. Today he shared a story about his dad. Seems Nick has forced his father to watch some Red Bulls games with him and he always asks one question. The one question that Mr. Chavez Sr. always asks: "Why don't they go throught the middle"? Nick then has to point out that they have no one on their roster who can make shit happen through the middle. Mr. Chavez Sr. will then ask: "why don't they just get a Creative Midfielder"? Yes, Hans - please do tell us why you've allowed this lack of creativity to do us in. Thanks!
All that said, it's just wasted space on a blog, wasted discussions on Twitter or facebook. As a matter of fact, this discussion is a real sore point with several people I know, as the fact that we have nuthin' in the midfield isn't as bright as the sun to them. The Creative Midfield Calvary ain't coming and this is what we got and why not just support the team and yadda, yadda, yadda. All true enough, but I'm saying this should not be allowed to continue and Hans Backe, and the rest of the Scandinavian mafia, should be in for the sack. Get some people who value creativity! There are many within MLS, as several teams have not just one, but two or three creative options on the field - at the same time.
So, are the Red Bulls a Team of Destiny this year or destined for another lost season? If I were a betting man, I would have to put some money on the latter. Let's hope I'm wrong. Onward to the House of Horrors @New England tomorrow and another must-win. Please see the above video for first half and half time comments. Please click here for full time comments.