The New York Red Bulls had just turned a corner. Their sputtering, misfiring offense came together to notch seven goals in two matches against Orlando City and the dreaded FC Dallas. Their entire front four was clicking at long last and they looked ready to turn their season around.
Match up against Orlando yet again, not many would have predicted such a stale attack from the Red Bulls. While they did escape with a point, they were unable to overcome an Orlando City side that is averaging over a goal surrendered per game. Yet what we saw from the Red Bulls was one of the more paltry offensive efforts thus far into the season.
New York, using the same attacking four that had seemingly just turned a corner, only managed four total shots and two on target. It’s hard to score with that return. With an early goal from Bradley Wright-Phillips, it felt like the Red Bulls were on pace to do what they had been doing against a team they had already done it against. But it went stale really quick.
Sacha Kljestan, who is making his bid to be included on the United States Men’s National team, created three chances – not the worst return, but could have been better – and fired one off target shot. Mike Grella was even more underwhelming. He did absolutely nothing on the offensive end – no shots and no chances created. Lloyd Sam fit the mold of his team mates, creating one chance and, you guessed it, zero shots.
Wright-Phillips only managed one shot. Luckily for the Red Bulls, that one found the back of the net.
Orlando just did not allow the Red Bulls much space. New York maintains the second highest possession in the league, over 54%. Meanwhile, Orlando surrenders the majority of possession. Yet in this match, it was the opposite, as Orlando deprived the Red Bulls of the ball. That strategy clearly paid off, as Kljeston’s crew was unable to create chances, let alone get a hold of the ball.
This was a different Red Bulls then how they were to start the year too. While they struggled to win, they did not struggle creating chances or controlling the ball. They just had a lot of poor breaks and shabby finishing in front of the net. Against Orlando, they were simply denied chances.
The Red Bulls have DC United next – a team that is notorious with denying teams the freedom they want. It will be interesting to see how they rebound.