I mentioned after the Orlando City draw that the Red Bulls had suffered a serious step back from the progress they had made. After scoring seven goals in two games against Orlando and Dallas, the Jersey-dwellers returned to their road woes against Orlando and managed only five shots. It’s like the creative well ran dry as soon as they left Red Bull Arena.
The Red Bulls had to answer back in the capital and they failed to do that, losing to DC United by a score of 2-0.
However, I am hesitant to call it a relapse. In fact, I’m more than hesitant. I will go ahead and state that this isn’t a relapse. For starters, New York maintained 57% of possession along with taking just as many shots (13) as their opponents. It was just another case of being unable to finish. Sacha Kljestan created five chances – again – and Bradley Wright-Phillips took four shots.
The only regular that was less than effective was Mike Grella, but everyone is entitled to an off game.
So why then does this match that feels so much like a relapse not qualify as a relapse? Well, for one, Jesse Marsch made the conspicuous decision of switching up his formation to a 4-2-2-2, cutting down their wide play and turning the offensive attack into a sword that was meant to cut right through this DC defense.
Unfortunately, if there is one thing that DC does well, it is stop blunt attacks. Marcelo Sarvas is an adept shield that guards that back four with aggression and proactive defending. He had a heyday, claiming six interceptions and stifling the momentum of attacks before they could get to the back line.
The second reason why this isn’t a relapse was touched on earlier. New York is absolutely atrocious on the road. Like, downright terrible. While there are five teams in the East who have yet to win on the road, the Red Bulls do it worst than anyone. They have played six road games and lost five of them.
It’s not even in the fact that they are losing so many. It’s the way that they are losing them. The Red Bulls have scored just two goals in six away games, while surrendering eleven. It’s hard to pull any points with that kind of return.
The Red Bulls return home to face the Chicago Fire on the 19th. Don’t be surprised if they put on a rampant display and wow the home crowd.