Red Bulls On Outside Looking In After 1-1 Draw To The Whitecaps

The New York Red Bulls went down to ten men thanks to a dubious red card issued to Jan Gunnar Solli, and managed to overcome a one goal deficit to tie the Vancouver Whitecaps 1-1 at home. Under normal circumstances, pulling a point out of the mouth of defeat would be something to laud over. Not this time.

The fact is that everyone from captain Thierry Henry to head coach Hans Backe agreed that this was ‘a must win.’ Beginning their trek through the final eight games of the season, the bottom dwelling Vancouver Whitecaps were, on paper, considered easy pickings. And how could they not be? New York came off of a much needed three week break in action where players were allowed time to recover and regroup, only to face one of the weakest teams in the league upon their return. Vancouver was yet to gain a victory on the road all season long. It was a recipe for victory.

However, like so many other facets of the Red Bulls season that simply looked better on paper, the reality told another story.

New York started the game off with a good amount of energy on the offensive side, but played disoriented on defense. The injury of left back Roy Miller left the Red Bulls scrambling for form in the back end; an issue only compounded by the suspension of Teemu Tainio. This forced career right back Chris Albright to switch fields in Millers place, and pushed Rafa Marquez back to the defensive midfield spot he commanded last season.

The early results were disastrous. The team looked confused in the back with a screaming Marquez trying, in vain, to play the role of defensive general while looking about as rusty as the Tin Man from the Wizard of Oz. Albright failed early, and often, to push the ball up as his Costa Rican counterpart would, seeming unable to rely on his left foot to deliver a pass with any efficiency. His defense was a liability as well. In the seventh minute, Whitecaps forward Camilo took a gorgeous one touch pass into the box against Albright. Camilo sped past his slower defender, dropped Albright to the floor and beat Bouna Coundoul five hole for the apparent lead. Terry Vaughn, who was absolutely dreadful as the head official this game, made the first of many wrong calls and disallowed the goal.

Minutes later, the defense would continue to be exposed. A speedy Chumiento ran right by Marquez and Mendes on the left hand side and sent a screamer low at net where Coundoul stretched and collected the threat before it became a problem.

It wasn’t until the 23rd minute where the Whitecaps took the lead. Once again, the defense was at fault as Jan Gunnar Solli was absolutely burned on the left by the speedy Camilo, who took the ball into the box and found Davide Chiumiento at the top of the key. The unmarked Swiss forward flicked the feed to himself, turned on the ball and blasted a shot passed Coundoul for the games first goal.

Then, the unthinkable happened. Once again, it was a war on the left between Jan Gunnar Solli and Camilo. Once again, Camilo would get the best of his opponent. Solli knocked the forward off the ball and onto the ground as both men fought for possession. Terry Vaughn called a foul, which was expected, but as he neared the infraction, he inexplicably pulled a red card on Solli, putting Red Bull down a man for the entire second half.

The red card, along with various other uncalled infractions by Vaughn throughout the night, lit a fire under the Red Bulls through the rest of the match. Even down a man, New York put the pressure on Vancouver early and often. Desperate for a hero, Juan Agudelo was more than happy to play the role. Subbed into the game 61 minutes in, Agudelo would waste little time making his mark. Rafa Marquez aimed a ball from 40 yards out and sent a searching laser to the far post where Agudelo lined up the shot, beating his defender Joe Thorrington and one timing a right footed touch past veteran keeper Joe Cannon for the tying notch.

New York would continue to press, but the effort would come too little to late. The slow start in the first half and the killer red to end it sunk the Bulls into an insurmountable hole.

The tie officially drops New York out of the 10 team playoff field for the first time all season, and Solli’s red card now means that 75% of the starting defense (Solli, Miller, and Marquez due to yellow card accumulation) will now be unavailable for this weeks critical road game against one of the leagues best teams in F.C. Dallas.

Is this the end of their season? Share your thoughts with us after the jump.

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  • RobStyles

    I have to think that our season is over with this loss. The team is completely lost I really don’t know what can be done to salvage it at this point. What seemed to be such a promising year turned out to be one of RBNYs worst. Certainly MLS’ ridiculous rules in which they continue to play during International breaks and some bad luck with a load of injuries are somewhat to blame but Backe and the FO are at fault just as much if not more with their terrible trades of Tchani, Borman and Da Luz, then De Ro. Then WASTING a DP on Rost. Prioritizing friendlies. Backe has been horrific on the bench. The Viking days are done in NYC and I think that its a change that we need.

  • larry

    Agree 100 percent with Rob. This season is over. The ONLY chance is a win v FCD. A draw or lose = wait till next year. I think Rob covered everything. How about, this team looks OLD and slow barring Richards, who I thought played pretty good. And why is Backe continuing to hold backe Aguduelo. WTF? That BS about bringing him around slowly, DUDE???? He’s good enough for Klinsmen, he’s good enough to start you 2 dumbasses (Soler/Backe). And why did Backe wait until after the 80 minute to bring in Rodgers? Should have been at least 70 minute. And McCarty is a has been it looks like, good one on ya Soler. Who cares if DeRo would have left after this season. It had to be the Canada/Gold Cup thing, I’m certain of it. You see HOW excited DC was to get DeRo, and look at that team now, our archrivals, look at their lineup, Davies, Najar, Quaranta, Pontius, DeRo, and look, holy cow, they even subbed in Da Luz in the 62nd…Da Luz is good enough to play for a better team (DC), but not for a worse team (NYRB), and get this ..a 62nd minute sub, you think Hans would ever sub in the 62nd in a normal situation.

  • Two of my fav posters, always good for some insight.

    This season has been an absolute mind bender. Things looked bright enough for SBI’s Ives to tell us early in the season on Seeing Red! that RBNY was the clear, runaway champ of the East. Now look at this team. Needless to say, no one saw this coming. Could go down as the biggest collapse in league history if things dont turn around.

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