It wasn't a league match, or even an official U.S. Open Cup match, but the Red Bulls will gladly take their 2-1 U.S. Open Cup Play-in victory over San Jose. Especially after Sunday's heart-breaking loss to D.C. United.
Head coach Juan Carlos Osorio rested several starters on Wednesday night, allowing his bench players to make their cases for more playing time. Some player stepped up while some other struggled to do much.
Here is a look at how the Red Bulls players did individually on Wednesday:
Here are Red Bulls player ratings, courtesy of SBI correspondent Sean Rubio, who covered the match:
Danny Cepero: 6 – Didn't have much to do. Let for dead on the goal.
Carlos Johnson: 5.5 – Did not come forward very often in the first half, sent a few crosses in late, had some trouble dealing with Convey.
Andrew Boyens: 6.5- Did well matching up with Somma and Campos. Somma was a complete ghost in the first half thanks to Boyens.
Mike Petke: 5- Had serious issues with Amarikwa all night. His positioning was usually solid, but has definitely lost a step (or four)
Danleigh Borman: 7- Did well matching up on Salinas. Gave him space, but did not let him get any problematic crosses in the box. Did well coming forward, and put in a few dangerous freekicks.
Juan Pietravallo: 6 – Was not very noticeable, which is probably a good thing.
Sinisa Ubiparipovic: 5.5- Like Pietravallo, name was not called that often. Unfortunately, he was asked to play in front of him with Sassano, so I wouldv'e liked to see him involve himself in the attack a bit more.
Luke Sassano: 7- Unlike Ubiparipovic, did well to be the point man on switching the play, and starting the attack. Also did well as the first line of defense in breaking down San Jose.
Mac Kandji: 6.5- Did very well against Leitch the first half, requiring the help of Salinas as well. For whatever reason, the second half began with Oduro breaking free, so Mac didn't have much to do, hence the substitution for Mbuta. Should have finished his 1-on-1 chance though.
Dominic Oduro: 6- Virtually non-existent in the first half, came to life in the second half, asking all kinds of questions of Zaher.
John Wolyniec: 7 – More than just the goal, did well in general to hold the ball and try to get Kandji, Oduro, and Mbuta into the match. When the wing players have time and space, that means the point man has been doing something right.
Matt Mbuta: 5.5- Was giving a few great diagonal balls from Oduro, but could not do anything with them.
Jeremy Hall: N/A- 86th minute sub, not enough time to make an impact
So what should we expect to see on Saturday vs. Los Angeles? Here is the lineup we could see:
You would think that Petke would get consideration after scoring a goal vs. San Jose, but he struggled with rookie Quincy Amarikwa's pace and might not have done enough to move past Mendes. Now, if Mendes can't play because of the shoulder injury that kept him out last week, Petke would have to be considered for the starting lineup.
Borman enjoyed a solid showing vs. the Earthquakes and could get the call on the left flank. It should be noted that Borman played well vs. LA last year, scoring a goal at Home Depot Center. Will this be the game that Khano Smith moves out of the starting lineup? It should be, although Smith's ability to track back defensively allows Alfredo Pacheco to get forward. Jorge Rojas probably can't provide that same cover if he plays on the left.
If Stammler's ailing knee doesn't let him play vs. LA, would Osorio give Pietravallo a look, or will he be forced to pair Rojas and Sassano centrally, with Smith on the left?
What did you think of the Red Bulls victory on Wednesday? What lineup would you like to see on Saturday vs. LA? Would a win over the Galaxy, coupled with the win vs. San Jose on Wednesday, make you start feeling optimistic about the Red Bulls' season?
Share your thoughts below.