“A Painful Reality:” Red Bulls address late collapses

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by ANTHONY J. MERCED

Recent dropped results have kept New York from claiming first place in the Eastern Conference — and that fact is not lost on the Red Bulls.

“It’s an obvious, painful reality that we are in the middle of,” said head coach Jesse Marsch. “We’ve done some soul searching, we’re obviously frustrated but I think we’re also very confident that we are a good team.”

New York Red Bulls have made a habit of blowing two goal leads in 2016. In fact, during the team’s 12 game unbeaten run, they have blown five two goal leads and settled on draws. Most recently, they’ve accomplished this unfortunate feet in two consecutive weeks, both at Red Bull Arena and on the road. And to make matters worse, that last road result against Toronto actually resulted in two blown two goal leads in a single match.

Opposition coaches have spoken about the team’s predictable nature, with DC head coach Ben Olsen recently addressing their pressing system. Still, there has been little done by the Red Bulls managerial staff to correct the issue — other than voicing frustration.

“It’s pretty ridiculous if you put some of the stats together,” said Red Bulls winger Mike Grella. “If we didn’t blow some of these leads, we’d have one of the best records the MLS has ever seen.”

The team tries to stay focused on positive aspects of their unbeaten run, which has now reached twelve games. However, the Red Bulls’ strategy on closing out games has cost them a significant amount of points and left their playoff placement in a murky position.

“We think we can be better with the ball at times when we have the lead,” said Marsch. “It’s been painful but it’s going to make us better and stronger.”