April 27, 2011 1 Comment
Red Bulls 4 • DC United 0
Well its still April, but the Red Bulls are looking like the the class of the East, and maybe even the entire MLS. Their nationally televised drubbing of DC United was just another example of their superior quality in their possession style game. And after taking a few weeks to gel, it seems the Red Bulls are playing chess while the rest of the league is playing checkers.
Here are some thoughts on the game:
Watching Right Full-Back Solli get down the wing time and again and whip a great ball into the box was a was just a joy. In the first four games, Roy Miller has been the likelier of the fullbacks to push into the attack, but he lacks quality with his final ball. So, hopefully Solli will continue the trend as he’s settles in with his new team. Because it led to goals. Three of them to be exact.
In the twelfth minute Minute Dane Richards and Solli worked a beautiful give and go at midfield that sprung Solli down the right wing. Solli whipped a ball into the box to an unmarked Henry and it was easy pickings for the French International. Henry blasted a header into the back of the net for the his first goal.
The two would team up again to provide Henry’s second goal in the thirty eighth minute. This time Richards played a sneaky little chip to Solli, who muscled off his defender and powered a low cross and Henry made no mistake in blasting home his second.
• Given the rock solid defense played by Ream and Marquez you could have turned your TV’s off then. Bad corner kicks aside, Rafa Marquez might have had his best performance as a Red Bull. And right now he and Ream are the best center back tandem in the MLS.
• Overall, Red Bull NY must be giddy with Henry’s last two performances, when he is on his game the gap in quality between he and everyone else on the pitch is a wide one. Quite frankly, he plays the game at a different level. And I love his tenacity in pressuring the ball high up the pitch because for the second straight game he stole the ball from a defender and played it to a team-mate for a scoring chance.
• Holding Midfielder Teemu Tainio is quietly having himself one hell of start to his Red Bull career. His ability to clog up the middle on attacking mid-fielders has really been a force and that frees up De Rosario and lets him do his thing.
• If you haven’t seen Agudelo’s goal you missed a piece of wizardry that just can’t be taught. Either you have it or you don’t, and the kid has it. He just needs to figure his role alongside Henry and needs to up his work-rate off the ball. Luke Rodgers is a chaser and will happily play provider. Agudelo needs to emulate those traits.
• Let’s hope not, but I have a feeling Lindpere is in for rocky season as far as his knee is concerned. He has been able to play through it for the most part, so lets hope he can manage it successfully.
Time For MLS To Set Harsh Precedent
After watching the Red Bulls thoroughly enjoyable display of technically sound football I had the agonizing experience of watching Colorado Rapids Brian Mullan break the leg of Seattle Sounders Forward Steve Zakuani live. It was so grotesque I had to turn away for the replay. It was a vicious challenge that has no place on the pitch.
Zackuani is a gifted young player who may never be the same after breaking his fibula and tibia. So I really hope Garber throws the book at Mullan. Ten games without pay might be a fair starting point.
You may think that is extreme, but in a time when the MLS is trying to grow the game and attract top flight players, hacks like Mullan only make it harder. Who knows, maybe Mullan senses that his (and players like him) days are numbered as the league becomes more skillful and technically sound.
Stay tuned for my next post where I will breakdown the first legs of the two Champions League Semi-Finals.