New York’s rotated schedule didn’t click in the attack, and the Red Bulls stumbled to their first competitive loss of 2018 Saturday Night at Salt Lake, where the Boys In White have never won a regular-season game. The result was a buzz kill for fans ecstatic about the Red Bulls’ early success, but greener pastures lie ahead. Let’s look at what New York Red Bulls fans, need to start, stop, and continue in the week ahead.
Practicing Zen Mode
Saturday’s loss in Salt Lake was New York’s fifth match in seventeen days. While Jesse Marsch rotated the heck out of his lineups, sometimes guys need a break, especially as the club works its way up to full fitness.
— Mark Fishkin (@MarkFishkin) March 19, 2018
Note that BWP, Adams, and Long are the only Red Bulls to have played in every match. While Saturday’s result is disappointing, if there’s ever a time to drop points, it’s on the road at a Western Conference opponent. In March.
Worrying about Injuries and International Absences
Neither Sean Davis nor Kemar Lawrence made the trip to the Wasatch mountains, with both picking up injuries in the Red Bulls’ CCL win over Tijuana last Tuesday. While a long-term report of the health of these two important first-teamers is a day away, New York must also deal with national-team call-ups to Adams (US), Murillo and Escobar (Panama) and Lawrence (Jamaica) that will prevent those players from taking part in Saturday’s home match with a surprising Minnesota side.
Wondering about the size of New York’s hard-core fan base. It’s small.
This point remains in place from the first SSC column of the year, especially given the paltry 6,000 brave souls that came out for New York’s CCL Quarterfinal home leg. The Red Bulls’ Front Office has devised a plan to leverage Chivas fans’ interest in attending the Semi at Red Bull Arena on April 10: bundling tickets to the CCL match with two other 2018 RBNY games. In theory, the higher out-of-pocket price may keep Chivas fans away from the match, while bringing in more New York fans who are non-season ticket holders. However, rabid New York-area Goats fanatics, who have rarely shown interest in attending MLS matches, will surely pay whatever the price to see their beloved team in action. They’ll then dump the other RBNY tickets on the secondary market. Meanwhile, current season ticket holders can’t buy additional tickets to the match without buying the larger bundle. The CCL Semi is sure to sell out, and will be filled with Chivas fans, anyway. It won’t be fun for the few thousand die hards who bleed for the Red Bulls.
Saturday night marked Kaku Gamarra’s first ninety-minute appearance for New York. On a night when shots were few as the RSL bunkered for most of the match, Kaku showed how well he’s combining with his teammates. He didn’t make any key passes that led to scoring opportunities, and missed a connecting late with BWP, but it’s been a pleasure to watch the Young DP come along.
The above is Gamarra’s passing map from Saturday night. Green lines are completed passes, red are incomplete. By the Chivas series, Kaku should be completely integrated into the first team. THAT will be fun to watch.
Feeling Good About the RB2 Pipeline
With so many first teamers developing out of the USL squad, it’s appropriate to ask which young players are in line to match the jump in the next few months or seasons. One player to watch is Red Bulls II’s Andrew Tinari. The diminutive midfielder out of Columbia University scored both goals in RB2’s 2018 season-opening win Saturday afternoon against Toronto FC II. New York came from behind after conceding a sloppy goal in the first half, and keeper Evan Louro’s save off a TFC II penalty kick after halftime to notch the win.