The New York Red Bulls had a first class, one-way ticket to misery. They were in the middle of their own nightmare. Nothing was working out. All of the stars that this team was built on had suddenly become frantic, nervy rookies that shouldn’t kick a beach ball into an ocean.
The Red Bulls had lost four straight games, scoring just one goal in those four games, when they welcomed in an upstart Orlando City that was predicated on momentum and Kaka. Luckily for Marsch’s men, Kaka was not there, so they relied on momentum alone. And it wasn’t enough.
What the Red Bulls witnessed out of their front four was pure brilliance.
Sacha Kljestan, Mike Grella, and Bradley Wright-Phillips combined for 10 shots, seven on target, 15 chances created. Lloyd Sam decided to add another corner to that trifecta, contributing three more shots and three chances created. The Red Bulls as a team put up 26 shots and the two goals they did surrender were rather unfortunate incidents.
This is what the Red Bulls should have been doing all along. This is a team that stayed almost identical to what they had last year. The offense is powered by the same minds and the same feet that won the Supporter’s Shield last year.
Everyone kind of knew that this day would come. Numerous articles were published back when the Red Bulls first hit rock bottom that it was too soon to panic. That the Red Bulls would turn it around. Those claims were predicated on the belief that it was impossible for proven commodities like Kljestan, Grella and Wright-Phillips to have all lost their talent in one winter. And those claims are looking to be correct.
What makes this win so much more impressive is that those three guys went above and beyond. Up until facing Orlando, the trifecta had been producing very similar stats as compared to last year – similar chances created, similar shots, similar shot accuracy. The only stats that weren’t following suit were the goals and the assists.
In what had to be a mental victory, every member of this Red Bull attack pushed themselves to do more than what they had been doing. Kljestan created 10 chances on his own. Safeto say that trumps his average. Wright-Phillips fired six shots – well above his average. Grella fired four shots and created three chances – both above his average.
The Red Bulls stomped all over the negative psyche that was starting to develop in their midst. They didn’t just keep doing what they had been doing with the belief that everything would work itself out, which it probably would have. They overcame, with gusto, what many of us knew they would. But still, it is quite the triumph.