New York Red Bulls head coach, Hans Backe, was not pleased with his team’s sluggish performance against Houston. File Photo: Vera / DailyHarrison.com
While the New York Red Bulls have been pretty close to dominant at Red Bull Arena throughout the 2012 season, not losing a single match, posting a 7-0-3 record at home, they have become extremely lackluster on the road.
That was never more evident Friday night, when the Red Bulls failed to show up against the Houston Dynamo in Texas, falling 2-0 at BBVA Compass Stadium. With the loss, the Red Bulls surrendered their hold on first place in the MLS Eastern Conference, falling to 11-7-5 overall. The 38 points is now second to Houston (11-5-7, 40 points), which moved into the top spot in the standings with the win.
The loss meant that the Red Bulls are winless in their last seven away matches, going 0-5-2 during that stretch. It was the third straight road loss for RBNY.
The match was pretty much decided in the early stages of the first half.
In the second minute, Brad Davis took an indirect free kick into the box, where former Red Bulls standout Macoumba Kandji collected the ball. Kandji’s first shot was stopped by RBNY goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, but the rebound came out to Jermaine Taylor, who got his knee on it to push it past Gaudette.
It was Taylor’s first goal of the season and put the Red Bulls in a precarious situation before they even broke a sweat.
In the 28th minute, the Dynamo pushed the lead to an insurmountable 2-0. Again, Kandji was in the middle of the scoring play. He made a nice play on the left flank and put a brilliant crossing pass that was headed perfectly into the back of the net by Calen Carr. It was Carr’s fourth goal of the season.
Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe was obviously not pleased with his team’s sluggish performance.
“It was well-deserved for Houston,” Backe said. “They controlled the game from the first minute. Of course when you go down like that, it’s a long way back. They’re a strong home team, but we could agree that we were not good enough. It was not acceptable, the first half for the way we played.”
Backe was asked if the high heat and humidity had anything to do with the Red Bulls’ poor outing.
“I don’t think that we should find an excuse,” Backe said. “I think we have played here before and we have picked up some decent results through the years. So, of course, I’m very disappointed with the performance today. Defending wise, we were all over the place with no attacking game, with too many unforced errors. We couldn’t really create anything over 90 minutes.”
The Red Bulls had two good scoring chances in the second half.
In the 59th minute, Thierry Henry made a nice back pass to Sebastien Le Toux, who made a hard shot that sailed over the crossbar. In the 64th minute, recently signed Tim Cahill, making his MLS debut, got his head on an Henry corner kick, but Cahill’s attempt at his first RBNY goal sailed past the right post.
Talk about being thrown to the fire. In just his second appearance with the Red Bulls, Cahill played the full 90 minutes.
“That wasn’t the plan,” Backe said. “We were thinking of him going 60 minutes, then getting him out. Tim is a hard worker with phenomenal attitude and spirit. It was the only choice to leave him out there.”
Cahill said that he didn’t mind the immediate workload.
“It just wasn’t our night tonight,” Cahill said. “I think a few boys come off injured, the team changed a few times, and it planned that I’d play for 90 minutes, but in those games, you just play. I’ve got to get as much fitness out of them. I definitely felt it; it was tough. It was a different sort of heat and everything. I don’t like to make excuses. I just play football and they are good team. They had some nice stuff. They disoriented the team a little bit and we struggled and conceded two goals.”
Kenny Cooper did not get the start against his former team, but entered the game in the 55th minute in place of Jan Gunnar Solli. Teemu Tainio, who made his return against Tottenham Hotspur earlier in the week, got the start, but played only the first half, getting replaced by Victor Palsson. Joel Lindpere also did not start, but Heath Pearce made his return to the lineup. Rafa Marquez once again sat it out with his injured calf.
Gaudette, starting once again for the injured Ryan Meara, made four saves in goal.
The Red Bulls return to action on Friday night, when they play the same Houston Dynamo at Red Bull Arena, with game time slated for 8 p.m.
“We play them next week, so hopefully we can come back and get first place next week at home,” Le Toux said. “They played well and won. Now, we move on to next week.”