Marks 18th straight game RBNY goes without a win in New England
Photo courtesy of: New England Revolution
The New York Red Bulls’ “house of horrors” over the years has been Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Mass. The franchise, through the old days of the MetroStars and currently the Red Bulls, has not won a game in New England since 2002, a stretch of 18 straight matches.
That streak continued Sunday night, when the Red Bulls, playing without six injured starters, dropped a 2-0 decision to the much-improved Revolution, a game where the scoring chances were few and far between.
The Red Bulls went the entire first half without a single shot on goal. They turned up the intensity in the second half to produce a handful of scoring chances, but not enough to disrupt Revs goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth from collecting a clean sheet.
The loss gave the Red Bulls a 9-5-4 record overall and their 31 points keeps them two points behind Sporting Kansas City and D.C. United in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Revolution, who had a dismal 2011 season, improved to 6-7-4 overall under first-year head coach Jay Heaps.
The Revs got the only goal they would need in the 24th minute, when Vietnamese native Lee Nguyen blasted a shot to the far right corner for his third goal of the season. The play took place when midfielders Mehdi Ballouchy and Dane Richards failed to defend Nguyen and he took advantage of the open space, blasting a shot past Red Bulls net minder Ryan Meara.
The Revolution could have extended the lead to 2-0 two minutes later, but Revs striker Saer Sene just missed wide left after outrunning the defense.
The Revs had another chance in the 40th minute, when A.J. Soares’ header clanked off the crossbar and Blake Brettschneider had two shots with Meara out of the goal. Wilman Conde stopped two shots while on his back and Brandon Barklage managed to clear the ball out.
The Red Bulls failed to record a single shot on goal in the first half, the first time that happened since 2009.
In the second half, the Red Bulls had the better chances. In the 56th minute, Kenny Cooper, who has not scored a goal since May 23, lifted a right-footed blast that seemed to hit the inside of the post instead of going in for the Red Bulls first shot of the game. Cooper then followed it up with a shot that Shuttleworth smothered.
In the 68th minute, Richards had a good chance, but his shot was stopped by Shuttleworth. In the 80th minute, Cooper had another chance, this time on a direct free kick, but Shuttleworth stopped it for his final save of the match.
The Revs put the game away in the 84th minute on a questionable play. Sene got behind the defense, only after shoving Red Bulls defender Roy Miller to the turf. The play went on and Sene’s shot was stopped by Meara, but Jerry Bengston, making his MLS debut, knocked in the rebound for the final goal of the game.
The Red Bulls did manage to control 62 percent of the possession, yet could not score.
Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe thought that his team gave all they could although they were tremendously undermanned.
“Being without six regulars is the biggest reason for this,” Backe said.
The Red Bulls were without striker Thierry Henry, midfielder Jan Gunnar Solli (who had scored goals in each of the last two games) and defenders Rafa Marquez, Heath Pearce and Markus Holgersson.
“We need some of our experienced players back,” Backe said. “It’s all about that. We fell down in the first half and responded well. With a little bit of luck, Kenny’s shot goes in and we could have picked up a point. But we’ve never played with the same team all year. I can’t expect more from the team. They gave their all.”
“Unfortunately, we weren’t able to get the ball in the net,” Cooper said. “We’re all disappointed. We’re looking forward to bouncing back at home.”
If there was good news for the Red Bulls, it was the fact that Henry and Pearce were selected to the MLS All-Star Starting XI for the upcoming All-Star game.
The other good news is that the next three Red Bulls games are at home, beginning Sunday afternoon against Seattle at 4 p.m.