The New York Red Bulls have dominated the news waves this year. Their enigmatic antics have established them as somewhere between the worst team in MLS and the beast team in the East. Somewhere in between. As I write, they sit first in the East, with potential to move down when the weekend is all said and done.
That’s right, the Red Bulls are first. How? Great question. But we have a couple hypotheses.
The Red Bulls dismantled NYCFC at Yankee Stadium. The score was 7-0 and it was not an enjoyable game. Even if you supported the Red Bulls, at some point you had to think to yourself, “man, this is getting out of hand”. It was just generally out of control.
Everyone wanted to know what they were going to do next. Welcoming Toronto into Red Bull Arena had the workings of a serious statement match. If the Red Bulls were going to be MLS Cup contenders, they had to prove some semblance of consistency.
Well, they did. 3-0. That means they beat two near rivals by a combined score of 10-0 to rise to the top in the East. That is nothing short of amazing.
But to make matters even more amazing is the nature in which they disposed of Toronto.
Think of what the Red Bulls have been doing all year. They have spent the entire season missing chances. Despite losing like crazy, they were still out-possessing and out-shooting their opponents. Like, always.
Against Toronto, if you had said before the game that Toronto would out-shoot the Red Bulls 19-7, you would have been inclined to think that the Red Bulls were dismantled, picked apart, thrown in a blender and put on high power. However, that is exactly what didn’t happen.
The Red Bulls put the shoe on the other foot. They sat back, welcomed the shots, welcomed the pressure and struck back. Quickly. Bradley Wright-Philips scored a hat trick within half an hour. I don’t mean to gloat, but we told you so.
Only seven shots, four on target, and Wright-Philips managed a hat trick. That is very un-Red Bull like. They are used to dominating the flow of play and capitalizing on a minimal amount of chances.
Maybe it is just a case of being woken up by stomping New York City FC. Whatever the case, the Red Bulls have shown new ways to win and that should be at least mildly alarming to all teams hoping to make this season a successful one.