Image Credit: Red Bulls Twitter
The New York Red Bulls earned their first win of the season last weekend, edging out Columbus Crew in a 2-1 comeback victory. Fixture’s against Columbus are usually nervy, and this was no different as new signing Vanzeir found the winner deep into the second half. An instant classic with many memorable moments, here are three of the biggest takeaways from Saturday’s match against Columbus.
1. A Tale of Two Halves
Prior to the final result, many Red Bulls fans would have called the first 45 minutes the worst performance the team had played in quite some time. The Red Bulls had pressed well while wasting several first half chances before a comedy of errors led to a Crew goal in the 33rd minute. At halftime head coach Gerhard Struber made a tactical substitution, taking off defensive midfielder Daniel Edelman for Elias Manoel. The decision appeared to be genius, as the Red Bulls scored twice (?!) in the second half to see out the win. The second half will be something to build off of next week on the road against a below average Charlotte defense.
2. Defensive Resilience
As mentioned earlier, a comedy of errors allowed the Crew to pick up the opener in an otherwise non eventful first half. Carlos Colonel was caught out in no man’s land after defender Andres Reyes had a poor first touch trying to clear a long ball and Crew forward Alexandru Mățan essentially had an open look at goal. However, the Red Bulls have been extremely efficient in defense. According to Opta, the Red Bulls have faced only six shots on target this season, equaling the record set by the LA Galaxy in 2010 as the fewest through four matches. Unlike the La Galaxy who conceded just once and won all four games in that time frame, the Red Bulls have let up three goals and have only one win through four games. If the Red Bulls can just eliminate making bone headed mistakes they will have a serious chance to make a deep run this season.
3. A Star is Born
Several players stood out for their performance in the comeback victory Saturday night, Burke was a workhouse and fought through indigestion for 90 minutes, Luquinhas managed to get his first goal in what feels like ages, and Dylan Nealis excelled in his season debut. However none stood out more than Dante Vanzeir as he came off of the bench and found the game winner in the 86th minute. As the team built up on the left side of the pitch, Vanzeir intelligently lost his marker on the tight and ghosted into the box before eventually hitting the match winner on the volley from a JMi cross. The star DP and club record signing has yet to start a full 90 minutes, but despite the limited minutes he made an instant impact this weekend, and his debut will forever be remembered by Red Bulls fans. The best is yet to come.