Red Bulls rally together in unlikely winning streak

Red bulls (getty images)

By DAVE MARTINEZ

When Thierry Henry fell flat on his back, clutching his hamstring against the New England Revolution, the Red Bulls’ immediate future seemed condemned to failure. Wilman Conde, Teemu Tainio, Stephen Keel, Roy Miller and a suspended Rafa Marquez already left New York scrambling for answers on their starting eleven. Losing the team captain only made matters worse.

Fast forward three weeks, and the Red Bulls are riding a five game winning streak for the first time in nine years. With a little bit of ingenuity and a touch of luck, the Red Bulls have managed to collect three shutouts, while outscoring opponents by an 8-3 clip in that span. 

The latest in a string of unlikely results saw New York take three points on the road against the Montreal Impact while playing a man down thanks to a pair of ill-advised challenges by Victor Palsson.

“It’s five in a row now, with a quite inexperienced team. You can’t demand anything else,” Red Bulls Coach Hans Backe said.  “It’s almost shocking to pick up wins like that. But the way they work, the way they get their shape quick, defending against set plays, defending in open play, the build up, that’s the key to winning in this league.”

Their efforts have earned them an eye popping 8-3-1 record, good for first in the East, and second only to Real Salt Lake league wide.

As has been the case throughout this streak, New York tweaked their lineup to great success against Montreal and role players stepped up to the occasion. Connor Lade shined as a left sided midfielder, playing an aggressive two-way game that certainly surprised the Impact defenders, while Joel Lindpere was once again a spark plug on the inside. 

“We needed to get organized quickly and to get our shape quickly. We played Kenny (Cooper) up front by himself and two tight blocks with the midfield and back four. It worked very well,” Backe said.  “They had a lot of crosses, but we handled that in a good way and they couldn’t really create the 100% scoring chances.”

Dane Richards, who has been playing a more aggressive role on attack of late, enjoyed a solid performance, capped off with a game winning goal – his first on the season.

“Coach said that whenever I tuck into the left, I should be a second striker with Kenny,” Richards said.  “So I was just in the box, looking around, saw the ball pop out to me and I just knocked it in.”

“(Dane Richards) had a great game, made major contributions to the goals," Cooper said. "Getting one and getting them both really. He is such a dangerous player. He doesn’t just run fast – he runs a lot and puts in so much work for the team and deserves to get one for himself tonight so I am glad he got the winning goal."

Another player who enjoyed a steady performance was newcomer Heath Pearce. The career left back played centrally, accompanying Markus Holgersson at the heart of the defense. The duo, along with an inspired Roy Miller and Brandon Barklage, helped contain Montreal despite the man advantage.

“I think we showed resiliency,” Pearce said.  “We defended as a unit and we knew we would get a couple of chances and luckily Dane finished a great chance for us and we were able to grind out a result from there.”

“On the road, down 1-1 and down one player, I think it’s unbelievable to get this result,” Richards said.  “These guys, we stick together and just get the results. And the results are showing that we are performing well, so we just need to continue this.”

Red Bulls rookie goalkeeper Ryan Meara agreed.

“I think we came together as a team,” he said. “We had a ton of injuries a couple of weeks ago. Instead of just folding and giving up, we came together and came closer and I think it shows on the field. We have a good belief in ourselves, we grew together as a team and I hope we could keep it going.”

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21 Responses to Red Bulls rally together in unlikely winning streak

  1. Patrick says:

    Their place in the standings is second only to RSL, but their record is actually third best. Meara is a beast! Makes you wonder what other backup keepers could do if they got a chance.

  2. almost says:

    Ya they are second to RSL, but their record in terms or points/game is second only to Seattle. Who woulda thunk it

  3. Soccer Man says:

    Yeah, but Henry will come back and ruin it all. :)

  4. KutamaObama says:

    Kinda reminds me of the Christmas tree formation Canada used to beat us at the just concluded U-23 Olympic qualifying event. I guess the Red Bulls used it to beat a Canadien team, how ironic.

  5. elgringorico says:

    Can’t wait for United to come to town and spoil this cute little run

  6. BSU SC says:

    They might have the 2nd best record in the league, but this team is far from being the 2nd best team in MLS. It’s only a matter of time before this bubble is burst.

    It’s been amazing what this team has been able to do with all of the injuries/suspensions they’ve had so far, but they’re a long way away from the quality of Seattle and RSL.

  7. GSScasual says:

    incorrect. lead in goals, 2 of the best strikers in the league.. and newly strengthened and secure defense.. your comment is ripe with butthurt.

  8. Tim F. says:

    Very happy for all the players who have contributed. Excellent effort and results. Hope they continue with a win against Chivas USA.

  9. Brain Guy says:

    All of the injuries and suspensions forced Backe to use his bench, and now that the youngsters (not to mention Pearce) have performed so well, it is worth noting just how deep the team has become. When/if Henry, Conde, Keel, and Solli return from their injuries (and I’m not even mentioning Tainio, who looks to be out for a long, long time), RBNY will have a wealth of options at almost all positions.

  10. Charles says:

    Bryan Meredith, of the Sounders, might be the backup to the backup, but he is doing great.

  11. Charles says:

    Oh boy look at everyone getting happy about NY. They are NOT that good. Everyone of their last 5 games are below/well below .500…except Houston who is at .500.

    They can score with Henry. But right now it is weak opponents and lucky hand ball calls on Wahl.

  12. 19561 says:

    A surprising team effort and quality run from RB. They are better than the first seemed. Almost disappointed with the unbalanced schedule as we don’t get a 2nd crack at RSL or San Jose.

  13. GSScasual says:

    wahhhhhhh… thats what you sound like

  14. Johnny Ramone says:

    Those are the games you’re supposed to win, pal.

  15. Rabid RBNY says:

    Last year these games were draws now they are grinding out victories. Besides this is Awmerica, all you have to do is get into the Post Season. They are well on there way at this point. Conde returning to the backline definately makes them more formidable against stronger oppononts.

  16. agnigrin says:

    and don’t forget a great rookie goalkeeper!

  17. agnigrin says:

    Oh boy look at the jealous weenie… They can score w/o Henry too! 8 goals for and 3 against since Titi has been injured. The young Bull D is gelling and will do well against the elite teams as well!

  18. marco says:

    They should now have the courage and decency to cut Rafa lose.

  19. bandeeto says:

    I’m an RSL fan and always enjoy watching a hardworking team that is greater than the sum of it’s parts. Congrats to NY! I hope the big names are forced to earn their way back onto the field, and don’t unsettle the ship.

    I believe that, based on his play, Marquez is expendable. The defence is better without him, and other players have as much, or greater, impact in the midfield. In addition to his off the field antics I’d say Marquez is more liablility now than ever.

  20. cajun says:

    Is there a day without Red Bulls garbage…ever? Talk about BIASED reporting!!

  21. Big Chil says:

    It’s almost like RBNY is getting a lesson in how to build a team w/o DP’s…