The New York Red Bulls are quickly fading out of the play-off picture. After challenging for the top spot in the Eastern Conference at the beginning of the season, RBNY came into the game tied on points with D.C. United who have 3 games in hand. That means that United have to win only one of the 3 extra games to knock the second highest (or highest, who knows; it’s all shady) out of the race for the postseason. This would easily be the most disappointing MLS squad in the 16 year history of the league. If you thought that with the pressure on, the Red Bulls would play with a bit of urgency or inspiration you’d be dead wrong.
Mehdi Ballouchy in the 14th minute shows that he still has absolutely no useful attributes. He has a chance to curl a shot into the far post using a defender as a screen on the goalkeeper. You know those shots you lick your chops to get in FIFA? From the left side of the goal, 15 yards out, lining up the instep of your right foot.
Right after RBNY had a quality look, the Revolution grab their first goal in 15th minute. Rafa Marquez blocked a potential the pass forward from Caraglio, but it would have been offside anyway. Then Tim Ream couldn’t get his foot to the ball after it bounces and bobbles. On the rebound, Albright showed us again that he is not an MLS quality right back anymore as he fails to close down a Designated Player striker inside the box.
Marquez continues to display the same disinterest in the game that he consistently shows in Red Bull colors. However, New York’s best chance of the half came from Rafa’a head. On a corner kick in the 35th minute, Rafa rose above the pack but failed to direct his header under the bar.
“I’m still not panicked about making the playoffs. I’m panicked about the way the team is playing, they just don’t look good.” Thank you for those words of wisdom Shep Messing. Cheers. While we’re on the subject of firing Hans Backe, putting Ballouchy on the waiver list because what other team in the world would want a inept player (remember when we gave up Macoumba Kandji for him? Did you happen to catch Kandji’s man of the match performance for Colorado in the Champions League?), let’s talk about canning Shep Messing. His voice is annoying, he can’t read the game and he rambles on like the drunk uncle you have to listen to so you don’t upset him at family reunions.
In the 36th minute in the center of the field, Feilhaber jumps into Agudelo to get the ball with a flying boot. Benny clearly makes contact with Agudelo first, and then touches the ball with his foot. Referee, that’s the definition of a foul.
Then early in the 37th minute Rafa Marquez makes a clean header behind a flailing and flopping Milton Caraglio. On the ensuing free kick Medhi Ballouchy loses Caraglio so early it almost makes you question what he is doing on a professional soccer field. All Marquez can do is just turn around and watch the Revolution striker place his header in the bottom corner after he pushed off his mark. It was just absolutely horrendous marking on the free kick.
And I can’t even put into words the absolute garbage officiating in the 44th minute. Dane Richards play a great ball through to Dax McCarty who beat the offside trap. He goes around Revolution back-up goalkeeper Shuttleworth, who grabs McCarty’s legs and trips him up. Maybe we should ask my nephew who has an elementary grasp on the rules of soccer. The goalkeeper impeded a clear goal scoring opportunity in the 18 yard box without making any contact on the ball as the last man back. Three times over that’s a red card. Every single time that’s a red card. The referee’s final decision is simply atrocious. Initially he gets it right; the referee Juan Guzman points to the spot and reaches into his pocket. You can see McCarty mouthing “Where’s the card?” Then Guzman looks over to the linesman and puts his hand in Dax’s face. He doesn’t make it all the way over to the sideline before turning around and reaching for a yellow card to give to McCarty. He did not confer, he simply accepted the linesman’s decision. The linesman was in his proper position; he was in line with the defensive line when the ball was played but from that angle how can you tell whether or not contact was made in between two players. The best angle was to watch from behind McCarty. The official was standing 40 yards out but was looking from the back on McCarty as he made his run. He had the better angle to see the clear contact that was made and he made the correct call before believing a bogus call from his assistant. This is just terrible. I’m sorry, that was simply unacceptable as a professional referee.
The second half was better for the Red Bulls, but why does the team have to be in a hole before they can get something going offensively? The first goal was a long ball from Tim Ream that Dane Richards beat the high line of the Revolution to retrieve. Surprisingly, the Jamaican international showed composure in his finish, slotting the ball to the near post.
In the match I’ve only seen Ballouchy give the ball away with terrible touches and errant passes, try to run through an opposition player, hold the ball on his foot until an opponent simply taps it out from under his foot (almost as if he didn’t know what he was doing on a soccer field), and give up fouls to the Revolution. On one occasion in the second half on the far side near the line Ballouchy got fouled. I’m pretty sure that was he one and only positive contribution to the game. I am not being facetious. I am not using hyperbole at all. He is the worst player on the field in every single game he plays in on either team. Ballouchy barely deserves to be a ball-boy at Red Bull Arena.
I was simply astounded by how much better the Red Bulls passed the ball around once Ballouchy as subbed off for Stephane Auvray. I love Carlos Mendes and was thrilled to see him come on for Chris Albright. He got up the right wing and opened up an option that the Revolution defense couldn’t ignore. In the 85th minute Dax McCarty darts into the box and was again taken down. Ryan Cochrane just bundles over Dax after delivering an elbow to his neck. I just don’t know what to say about MLS officiating as Tim Ream tackled Milton Caraglio from behind in the box a minute later.
New York workhouse Joel Lindpere played a simple ball from the left wing into the channel between the goalkeeper and the back-line. Dane Richards weaves through Revolution defenders and his poaching instincts take over as he pounces on the ball to tied the game up in the 87th minute. A draw is better than a loss away from home, but in terms of the playoff race it is simply not good enough. We managed to get through an entire game without Bouna Coundoul conceding off a stupid mistake. However, Teemu Tainio played like a moron and picked up two unnecessary yellow cards to get sent off. That means the stalwart of the New York midfield will be suspended when the Galaxy come to Red Bull Arena.
It does not look good for the New York Red Bulls but let’s hope they don’t become one of the biggest flops in professional sports.