New York Red Bulls Projected starting XI (4-2-2-2): GK: Luis Robles — Aaron Long, Damien Perrinelle, Kemar Lawrence, Connor Lade – Tyler Adams, Felipe Martins – Alex Muyl, Daniel Royer – Fredrik Gulbrandsen, Bradley Wright-Phillips
Subs: Aurelien Collin, Ryan Meara, Dan Metzger, Brandon Allen, Justin Bilyeu
Real Salt Lake Projected Starting XI (4-2-3-1): GK: Matt VanOekel — Chris Schuler, Aaron Maund, Demar Phillips — Chris Wingert, Luis Silva – Sunny, Luke Muholland, Sebastian Saucedo – Yura Movsisyan, Brooks Lennon
Subs: Eduardo Fernandez, Reagan Dunk, Danilo Acosta, Justin Schmidt
The MLS Season is well underway, but just because it’s early in the season doesn’t mean that teams aren’t looking to get a leg up on the competition. That’s exactly the case when it came to today’s match at Red Bull Arena. The Red Bulls, with Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips and Ironman Luis Robles, want to capitalize early on in the MLS Season.
From the initial kickoff, both teams bolstered for possession of the ball. The first half of the game seemed like a tie between the two teams. RSL (Real Salt Lake) seemed as if they were going to get an early go after a few miscues from the Red Bulls, but that was not the case with the Ironman of MLS (Luis Robles) between the goal posts. It was like a game of ping pong, watching both teams make counter attack after counter attack. Although there were counter attacks, each looking like it would be a sure goal, both Robles and Van Oekel made plays to keep the game at a tie of 0-0 at the end of the first half.
Real Salt Lake looked like the more aggressive side having a bit more possession and a lot more clear shots on goal. Although early on in a first half RSL looked like they were going to get a goal, it was called back due to an offside. On the other end of the pitch, Red Bulls made efforts by way of crosses in to the box looking for one of the their players to make a play through the air; unfortunately that was to no avail. There was no real clear shot in the first half that Red Bulls were close to making a goal.
At the kickoff of the second half, the Red Bulls looked like they did when they made a run for the cup last year. They were aggressive and took possession of the ball early and often looking for a goal in every attack they formed. The new acquisition, Fredrik Gulbrandsen, is making his value known. He looked for any opportunity to make a run towards goal and many if not all of his shots were targeted directly at goal.
In this second half Bradley Wright-Phillips tried to make a play side stepping Van Oekel, but being stopped by the RSL defense not being able to finish his shot on a wide open net. The RSL defense wasn’t the only one making blocks for their team, Red Bulls defense was working to provide their Ironman with relief in the backend.
Much like the first half of the game, the second half was filled with counter attack after counter attack. Neither team though, could find that solid finish that they sought. Even with time winding down neither team could get that goal to take the three points. Therefore, the game ended with a 0-0 draw. This being the 3rd week of the new season, there is much more soccer to be played. The Red Bulls look to take away three points when they visit Houston Dynamo at BBVA Compass Stadium, April 1st at 8:30 pm.
While we may not have come away with all three points, I have the utmost faith that the New York Red Bulls will find their groove once more and be placing goals in the back of the net. Now turning to our Ironman in Luis Robles, making history by playing in 142 games, who knows when this streak will end. Robles has made himself a household name that deserves recognition and is a nuisance to attacks. Then we look at our Golden Boot winner in Bradley Wright-Phillips and hope that he finds his groove in placing goal after goal into the back of opponent’s nets.
The one thing I must say is that we are missing the decisive voice in our midfield. Trading Dax McCarty away to Chicago Fire may have been one of the worst decision that the Front Office could have done. He was a leader of men in the midfield and caused many of the opportunities that got allowed us to make a deep run into finding ourselves in the playoffs last year. I will only hope that we find a way to improve our midfield so that our attacks will have more push than it does now. It is very early in the MLS Season with many more games to be played, but we have a way of digging ourselves into a hole that we somehow get out of just in time to make a deep run into the playoffs. Only time will tell how everything plays out in the 2017 MLS Season, which has only yet begun.