Sam one of few bright spots for struggling Red Bulls

Lloyd Sam

By RYAN TOLMICH

The New York Red Bulls have had a rough start to their 2014 season.

It began with a 4-1 beating from the Vancouver Whitecaps in a game in which the Red Bulls never looked like they had a chance. The second game of the season saw a young Colorado Rapids side steal a point at Red Bull Arena. Overall, it is one point from two games that a defending Supporters Shield winner should expect to win.

However, the Red Bulls certainly have things to hang their hat on and one of those would be the exceptional play of 29-year-old winger Lloyd Sam.

Sam, who joined the team in 2012, has been the only Red Bull to bring their A-game in the team’s first two contests. The former Charlton Athletic man has assisted on both Red Bulls goals this season and his dynamic play on the wing has been the best source of creativity for a side that hasn’t been able to put together a consistent attack.

Sam’s performances haven’t gone unappreciated, as Red Bulls head coach Mike Petke is pleased with what he has seen thus far.

“He’s head and shoulders above where he was last year at this point,” Petke said. “He came in what the right attitude, worked hard and really focused on what we wanted out of him as a right sided midfielder. I’m very happy with Lloyd.”

“A year ago at this time, I wasn’t even fit,” Sam added. “I wasn’t ready to be part of the team, but I was trying to get through it. He’s right, I’m much further ahead than last year.”

Despite the praise from his head coach, Sam’s biggest focus after the game was on results.

“That’s all thats on my mind right now,” Sam said. “That should have been three points I think. After going 1-0 up, to give that away, it doesn’t really matter how I played. You have to win games, especially at home.”

Despite the less-than ideal results, the play of Sam has been a bright spot for the lackluster Red Bulls. If Sam can continue to put together performances like the pair that started the season, the Red Bulls struggles will soon be all but forgotten.

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12 Responses to Sam one of few bright spots for struggling Red Bulls

  1. Drew11 says:

    They looked dreadful. Time to clean out the FO. Pretty much every team in the league upgraded their talent in the offseason. RB not so much.

    • Brain Guy says:

      Yeah, that’s the ticket — tear it all down and start again. That has certainly been effective in the past.

    • RBNY says:

      Relax. First time in years that we’ve kept continuity in the side, and you want to blow it up two games in? Colorado would have been a victory minus the weak call. We will see how they respond over the next two road games.

    • Joamiq says:

      This is exactly the kind of mentality that led the franchise to year after year of failure. I wish they had done a little more in the offseason, but “clean out the FO”? No.

    • slowleftarm says:

      This team did win the supporters shield last year so they didn’t need huge upgrades or changes. Plus they were handicapped big time by the salary cap. They only got two points from the their first four games last year so it’s a bit early to be hitting the panic button.

  2. Joamiq says:

    Sam has been terrific. One thing that has been a bit lost in the talk of how the Red Bulls didn’t upgrade over the offseason is that Sam and Wright-Phillips should themselves constitute upgrades, being ready to contribute from the start of the season, unlike last year. Alexander being pushed a reserve role means a stronger RB midfield overall.

    • Brain Guy says:

      I would argue the same is true with respect to Luyindula, at least in the midfield. He settled into that role in the second half of last year, and offered something RBNY does not often get from that position. Indeed, i would have liked to see him there last Saturday, with Cahill playbg closer to goal with Henry.

      • PauseTheGameRealQuick says:

        Agree totally. I think Petke wanted to include BWP and had to drop Luyindula. Hopefully he settles on something, that something being Peguy and Dax in the middle. Cahill and Henry floating around up top.

  3. PauseTheGameRealQuick says:

    The Metros showed heart towards the end of that game and kept fighting for the go ahead goal. I can respect that, and while they have proven to be willing to play like this at RBA – I really want to see them reproduce that intensity on the road.

    The road performances will make or break our season in all competitions. I’m looking at the Chicago match next week (we historically suck there) as a barometer of where the boys heads are at this early point in the season.

  4. Mark says:

    Last year we had all of two points after four games (draw-loss-draw-loss)…and we won the Supporters’ Shield. If we win on Sunday we’ll go from ‘blow it all up’ to ‘we’re way ahead of last year.’ No need to panic, it’s March 18th! And Xavi starts August 1st! ;-)

  5. Paul says:

    It’s the beginning of the season. No need to start talking about nails in coffins just yet. We always start off slow. The big test would be trying to overcome the annual summer slump and making it through the fall freak-out.

  6. Tony says:

    The team is playing really bad! Yes, this is New York and we expect more. Too many people are being conformist! Eckersley needs the bench, as does Armando, Alexander, Dax, and convey who all seem to be far from preseason form. The front office needs to be checked. you had a simple job keep people and get a creative midfielder. Seems like we are fielding a weaker defensive line and have no clue how to get the ball to henry. Meanwhile there’s petke who has a short term solution in luyindula but he has decided to keep luyundila on the bench is kept. Tough season ahead. By the way “Real fans critique and ask for more!” Red bull fans are in danger of becoming the New York mets. Yep the franchise that settles for the ideology of “well it is no so bad is it?”