Marsch: ‘We Show No Life’

Matt Kremkau

By ANTHONY J. MERCED

imagesHARRISON, N.J. — The Red Bulls were looking forward to some home cooking on Mothers Day, but instead were served up nothing but take out.

New York (5-6-1, 16 points) lost its first home game of the 2017 Major League Soccer season, 3-1, to the Los Angeles Galaxy (3-5-2, 11) on Sunday night, extending the club’s losing streak to three games and shattering team confidence. Coach Jesse Marsch didn’t pull any punches describing the team’s play: “We show no life.”

“To play a first half like that where we show no life and no commitment and no belief, I have to look carefully at what we’re doing,” Marsch said. “There’s not enough guys that are playing up to their potential and their capabilities. So, again, that has to fall on my shoulders.”

New York fell behind early as Roman Alessandrini scored once in the eighth minute and again in the ninth minute. The first was a tap in from a free kick and the second was a shot that smacked off of goalkeeper Luis Robles and trickled into the net. With the Red Bulls down two goals before the 20th minute, Los Angeles fell into a defensive shell that befuddled New York and nullified their much-vaunted high-press offense. Marsh attempted to make changes at the half, bringing on Mike Grella, but the team remained static, surrendering a third goal from the penalty spot, to Giovani Dos Santos.

“The way we played in the first half had nothing to do with tactics,” Marsch said. “LA has a good start, but we have an absolutely dreadful start. The confidence and life in our team was just sucked out of us. Instead of having a response like, no problem down 2-0, we got this, it’s early. There’s plenty to play for. We’re at home, we’re going to go after this bit-by-bit, play-by-play. You just saw shakiness and nervousness and fear.”

For three seasons, Marsch has preached about the team’s identity and passion. For the first time in his tenure, however, he appeared unsure of himself and his team. He questioned his players’ passion and how he can reclaim a level of play that garnered two consecutive first place Eastern Conference finishes. That said, Marsch doesn’t believe the next game, against a streaking Toronto (7-1-4, 25; and winners of six straight games), is a must-win.

“It’s definitely not a must-win,” Marsch said. “We’ve already gathered enough points to feel like this season is all there for us. What’s the bigger challenge is, this isn’t about points and standings right now. It’s about identity. It’s about making sure that the belief system of who we are, and what we do. … That’s where we’re at now.”