Image Credit: New York Red Bulls
Sadly this was not an April Fools joke and the New York Red Bulls garnered their second defeat of the season on Saturday, a tight 1-0 victory on the road against Atlanta United. The Red Bulls have had Atlanta’s number as of late as they have never lost against them in the regular season with an 8-4-0 record prior to last night However that was not to be this season after Giorgos Giakoumakis’ early first half goal was enough for Atlanta to take all three points. Here are three key takeaways following RBNY’s second goalless game on the road.
1. Offensive Woes Continue
Here’s a sorry stat, the Red Bulls have managed half as many goals as MLS leading scorer Jordan Morris through the first 6 games of the season. In fact, last Saturday was already the third time this season that the Red Bulls have been shut out including twice on the road. RBNY have not had a consistent offensive lineup so far this season, with star midfielder Lewis Morgan missing several games due to injury and new signing Dante Vanzeir slowly being introduced in order to build match fitness. Regardless of the reason it is now imperative for the Red Bulls to find some cohesion offensively, or head coach Gerhard Struber will face mounting pressure for not capitalizing on what has been an imperious defense this season.
2. Woof… Howler for Carlos Colonel
As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest positives so far this season has been the defensive performances for RBNY, conceding 5 goals through 6 games. However, Carlos Colonel has not been up to his usual standards and was directly at fault for the winning goal after initially flubbing, to put it lightly, a long shot on goal from Thiago Almada before Giorgos Giakoumakis was able to tap it in. After previously having a monstrous error in the 2-1 victory against Columbus Crew to put the Red Bulls down at half, hopefully he can find his elite 2021 form sooner rather than later.
3. At Least the Press is Good…
Much has been made from the poor start to the season that the Red Bulls have had so far, their poor offensive production, an inability to capitalize on a strong defense, and not being able to generate any meaningful offensive possession. According to FBref, NYRB are at or near the bottom of the MLS in terms of possession, pass volume, and progressive passing per 90 minutes. However according to a report published by TheAnalyst the Red Bulls are top 10 in PPDA, or how quickly a team presses the opponent, as well as are the most offensively direct team averaging the highest direct speed coupled with an average 2 passes per offensive sequence, lowest by far in the league. These metrics all indicate that RBNY are playing Energy Drink Soccer™ as advertised and questions may soon turn to whether or not Struber is capable of getting the most out of this team. With a couple of home games against weaker Western Conference teams on the horizon, time will surely tell.