Red Bulls and D.C. United play out a lifeless 0-0 draw

Red Bulls

The New York Red Bulls and D.C. United played out an awful, scoreless 0-0 draw on Saturday night. It was a lifeless affair from the opening whistle, the game cried out for a hero with inspirational moments to bring home three points in a derby game. This game was a far cry from the dominant 4-1 display New York put on United a while ago. The Red Bulls are now in fourth place, three points behind Montreal. D.C. United remain in last place in the Eastern Conference.

D.C. United 0-0 Red Bulls: The Worst Game of the MLS Season?

Gerhard Struber rolled the surprises with his team selection. Tom Barlow got the start in attack, he was supported by Omir Fernandez and Lewis Morgan. Dru Yearwood started over Frankie Amaya, paired with Cristian Casseres Jr in midfield. There was even space for both Cameron Harper and Dylan Nealis on the right side of defense. Attacking threats Luquinhas, Caden Clark and Patryk Klimala were amongst the substitutes.

However, it led to a first half display that was downright lethargic. Misplayed passes, giving away possession cheaply and players not finding their flow and pressing triggers into the game. Lewis Morgan had the best chance of the half which was a botched shot that deflected off an opposing player onto Fernandez who didn’t get his own shot away. The first 45 minutes mustered only seven shots that combined for an Expected Goals (xG) tally of 0.22. That’s impressive given the fact that the Red Bulls didn’t record a single shot on target in that period. It was simply a first half that was tough to watch, for either team.

Struber saw what we all did and brought on Luquinhas for Omir Fernandez to start the second half. The Brazilian’s impact was immediately felt and seen with his dribbling and decisiveness. New York were able to wrestle some momentum away for a brief spell but couldn’t make the most of it. But again, the solutions on the pitch didn’t amount to anything at all. New York played conservative, which is a surprise given they’re the better team, but it just didn’t play out that way.

If you thought about wanting to catch the replay of this game, please don’t. You missed absolutely nothing, because absolutely nothing happened in this game. A game, a derby – the oldest of its kind in Major League Soccer and it was a slog to get through. The third and final meeting between the teams in 2022 was as boring and terrible a game as you’ll see all season. I’m sure there will be others that could rival this one, but this game ranks up there as one of the worst of the league season.

Three Takeaways from D.C. United 0-0 New York Red Bulls

Omir Fernandez looks lost out there. Things have not gone well for the 23-year-old after his bright start to the season. Fernandez has just two goals and three assists thus far, and hasn’t recorded either tally in league play since May 18th against the Chicago Fire. That was also the last time he went the full 90 minutes in the regular season. He only had 15 touches against United, failed to create any attacking chances and couldn’t impose himself into the match. Omir is lacking in confidence in a big way, and is playing himself out of a starting spot.

The sooner the loan signings are in the team, the better. Two new confirmed signings, one is familiar to fans, the other isn’t. Right-bak Kyle Duncan is back on loan until the end of the season, striker Elias Manoel will join on loan until the end of the year with an option to buy. The sooner these two come into the team, the better everyone will be for it. Struber needed new bodies, and players on this team need a breather. John Tolkin has been forced to assume the Ironman role, Duncan will fill in for him. Manoel will join the striker merry-go-round and battle with Klimala and Barlow for starting minutes. He’ll also likely be used as an inverted winger opposite Luquinhas or Morgan.

It’s not going to get any easier for the Red Bulls. Next week, they are home to see Orlando City. Then they visit Atlanta United, before coming back home to play Cincinnati and Inter Miam. But the last game will of the most importance, when they travel to Montreal. Playoff seeding will be in effect with the likes of Columbus, Chicago and Orlando jockeying for position as well. Gerhard Struber will need to make sure his team is fresh and focused because it’ll be crunch time once September comes.
Embed from Getty Images