Image Credits: New York Red Bulls
Two storied Eastern Conference rivals faced off on Saturday as the New York Red Bulls hosted the New England Revolution in a hot and humid Red Bull Arena. The ground may have been stifling but that did not stop both teams from keeping the intensity high in an exciting 2-1 victory for the Red Bulls. A controversial match that was far from easy, this fixture featured late winners, a red card, and VAR heroics that made for appointment viewing for Metro fans. With much to talk about here are my 3 main takeaways from the 2-1 victory against New england.
1. Worth the Wait
For what feels like has been the story of the Red Bulls over the past few seasons they never seem to be able to be clinical when facing teams that sit back against them. However, the Red Bulls looked potent from the first minute and were relentless until the final whistle. Although the match was still scoreless going into halftime by that point the Red Bulls had outshot New England 11 to 3 and had managed 58% of the possession. Dante Vanzeir, while quiet on the ball, forced the defense of the Revs back with his runs out wide, allowing the Red Bulls offense to push forward up the middle of the pitch. The Red Bulls were not afraid of committing men forward and it is telling that both goals were scored by midfielders. It was also telling that after conceding the equalizer in the 76’ minute that RBNY were able to dig down and find a winner late in the game. As poor as the season has been so far they still played inspired and were able to find a winner in front of the home crowd when in many instances they would have folded. Hopefully this will set the standard for the rest of the season and they are able to turn a corner in the back half of the year.
2. The Best Offense is a Good Defense
While much of the disappointment regarding this season has been centered around the lack of clinicality and goal scoring in the squad, the defense has managed to keep the Red Bulls in the hunt for the playoffs. Despite only managing to score less than a goal per 90 minutes this season RBNY still has a respectable -1 GD and sit in tied for 9th in the Eastern Conference standings thanks to an outstanding defense. Their imperious form continued in this match as Sean Nealis and Andres Reyes kept Gustavo Bou and Bobby Wood in their back pocket while Carlos Colonel Jr. made some important saves to ensure the 3 points. A late goal was conceded off of a corner and the mental lapse may be attributed to the insufferable humidity and heat inside RBA however it was still a massive defensive performance from the Red Bulls on Saturday. If the Red Bulls are going to salvage anything from this season, it will entirely be thanks to our wonderful backline
3. Controversial Finish
It would not be an MLS match week without some officiating controversies and Red Bull Arena was host to one of several controversies across the league. Deep into stoppage time Andrew Farrell thought he stole a point on the road for the Revs with a strike from long range until VAR officials determined that Giacomo Vrioni was impeding Colonel’s view from an offside position. What both VAR and the match official failed to realize was that the ball was intentionally deflected by RBNY;s Tom Barlow and therefore the goal should have stood. While as a fan of the Red Bulls I certainly won't be complaining about this gift it is important to note that poor officiating has been a determining factor across the league in nearly every match week and should be scrutinized more heavily.