The 2016 season for the New York Red Bulls featured great difficulty in finding victories away from Red Bull Arena. After opening the campaign with a win at Atlanta United, the frustrating trend has clearly carried over to 2017 as well.
Struggles Away From Home Continue for New York Red Bulls
The Philadelphia Union secured a 3-0 victory over New York on Saturday night, the club’s first win of the MLS year (1-4-4). In a match that lacked creativity and urgency during long periods, Philadelphia striker C.J. Sapong’s hat trick in the late stages put the result away for the home side.
Chances and opportunities in the final third were there for manager Jesse Marsch’s side, but ultimately were unable to find a goal. After a 2-0 loss at Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday evening, New York’s three-game win streak feels like a distant memory.
The first half saw little of the high-press system that is so often a trademark of the squad’s approach. Up against a Union squad currently at the bottom of the Eastern Conference and having rested several key players earlier in the week, the conservative style was surprising and saw the home team mount several scoring chances early on.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, Alex Muyl and Daniel Royer applied pressure in the second half, and there was certainly a sense that the game was not going to finish as a scoreless draw. A miscue from center-back Aaron Long in the 74th minute dropped the ball to Sapong and a deflected shot went over goalkeeper Luis Robles.
New York responded well enough, with two close opportunities for the equalizer but could not convert. Failure to clear the ball out of the penalty area saw Sapong add a second, with his third coming from the penalty spot. The Red Bulls return home to Harrison to face the Los Angeles Galaxy on May 14.
A difficult stretch
Even with many first-team players getting a rest Wednesday in Kansas City, the Red Bulls’ schedule did them no favors leading up to Saturday at Talen Energy Stadium.
Three matches in eight days was always going to be an extreme test of depth, and Marsch tried to keep his side as fresh as possible in each encounter.
In the opening 15 minutes, New York had the look of a team in desperate need of recovery time leading up to the game against the Galaxy on Sunday.
The Red Bulls’ injury list did not make the two away matches this week any easier, only making the effectiveness of the high-press weaker Saturday against Philadelphia.
Gonzalo Veron, Connor Lade and Aurelien Collin were all dealing with different fitness issues and did not take part at the Union.
With so many matches in a short period of time, any type of spark could have gone a long way in earning a positive result in their two recent games.
11 matches have been played, and New York find themselves only three points back of first-place Toronto FC in the East. If there is one thing that is certain, all associated with the club will feel more confident when the Red Bulls are back home on Sunday evening.