Image Credits: New York Red Bulls
Two of the MLS Eastern Conference’s basement dwellers faced off on Saturday as the New York Red Bulls took a trip to visit the Chicago Fire FC. While it would have been the perfect opportunity to kick a team bereft of confidence or positivity, the Red Bulls only managed to stumble their way into another draw. This very easily could have been the fourth loss of the season for the Red Bulls if not for some heroics from JMi and Corey Burke. While it was another difficult weekend for Red Bulls fans, here are my 3 main takeaways from the 1-1 tie against Chicago.
1. A rescued point late in the match… Stop me if you’ve heard this before
Saturday's match in Chicago became the 6th draw of the season for the Red Bulls and they currently sit bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference with 10 matches played. Startlingly, NYRB have only managed one win so far this season, in addition to their three losses. What has made this season so agonizing is that the script is the same from week to week: many offensive chances squandered early in the game, a poor concession to go down, and a late point rescued. The only game in which the Red Bulls have not conceded first, outside of the 0-0 draw against Nashville, was the 1-1 draw with Charlotte FC. Additionally, the remaining 4 draws of the season were1-1 ties in which the Red Bulls conceded first before snatching a point from the jaws of defeat. Many Red Bulls fans, for reasons well documented both on and off the field, have been clamoring for a change of management. Regardless if you agree, and based on the event earlier in the season, why you agree, there needs to be drastic changes in the teams offensive production if there is anything to be salvaged from this season.
2. JMi silences the haters
For those looking for any positive notes to take from this, you will be pleased to know that James Tolkin put in a consecutive strong performance after missing the three games due to injury. A longtime fan favorite, JMi looked inspired in defense, especially in the second half and played in the cross that led to the equalizer. Funnily enough Tolkin drew an interesting reaction from the Chicago crowd, and was booed every time he touched the ball. Hearing that during the game made me look up if there was something in a previous performance that led to this one sided rivalry, but all I was able to find on Twitter is that it was just a couple of guys being dudes. Either way, those fans certainly found a way to keep the game interesting for those in the away stands as well as watching at home, props to them.
3. Corey Burke bags his first of the season
In addition to Tolkin, Corey Burke was a standout performer scoring his first of the season off of a corner in the 89th minute. Burke has shown off of his incredible work that he was known for throughout his tenure with the Union and was finally able to notch a goal to show for it. Burke was brought in as a free agent in the winter as part of a new look front line that would revitalize the sluggish Red Bulls offense of the last few seasons (lol!). However for all his hard work so far this season his most memorable moment of the young season has been fighting through indigestion in the 2-1 victory over Columbus. Thankfully, he was finally rewarded for his efforts this weekend and hopefully it is the first of many.