“No Respect:” Red Bulls target Pirlo, Lampard, Villa towards win

HARRISON, N.J. – “Don’t give them too much respect.”

That was the stategy from the New York Red Bulls as the team discussed their approach to containing New York City FC megastars David Villa, Andrea Pirlo and Frank Lampard.

“Yes, that was a big emphasis on how we wanted to play,” Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch said after the match. “We wanted to make sure neither of those two had an easy day. Credit to, again, Sacha, Dax, and Felipe in middle of the field, with heavy legs. I think they took it as a personal challenge to play against great players like that.

“We have a fearless team,” he continued. “That was a personal challenge, I think, for those guys. I think our guys wanted to prove a point and go in there and play against world-class players [and] show they’re up for the task. The way we play and how we play and who we are is still going to make us successful.”

Indeed, the Red Bulls focused in sharply against the veteran trio. Andrea Pirlo had his toughest match in an NYCFC shirt to date, completing 84.4 percent of his passes but allowing three glaring giveaways under pressure. While the completion ratio is still respectable, it pales in comparison to Pirlo’s consistent over-90% passing rate in Serie A. Moreover, the quality –or lack there of — in several of those misconnected passes served to show the humanity of the deified Pirlo under the Red Bull press.

“When you have three players of that quality, you want to make sure you are tight on them,” team captain Dax McCarty said. “We know Pirlo, from watching videos, when teams give him time and space to spray the ball wherever he wants, it’s killer. I though Sacha [Kljestan] put in a great shift defensively. He didn’t give him a lot of time and space. Felipe and I tried to be all over Lampard and make sure he didn’t get too many runs at the top of the box.”

Lampard certainly did not fair any better. The English legend continues to struggle with fitness issues, and the young legs of the Red Bull offense certainly didn’t help him on that end. His 69.8% passing completion ratio and his four misfired shots on goal told that story.

“Give them credit. They had some chances and Lampard got through on a few chances where, maybe if he was a little sharper, those he puts away,” McCarty continued. “But we did a really good job on Pirlo for the most part. The defenders did well against Villa.”

Speaking of Villa, the NYCFC captain was choked out of the offense, managing one desperation shot on goal while sending three other attempts off frame.

By targeting the veteran trio, the Red Bulls quickly wore out the competition, forcing each of NYCFC’s star players to work a bit harder to keep up. That proved to be the catalyst for victory as NYCFC’s veteran players ran out of gas late during Sunday’s encounter.

“We’ve watched some video from this year where guys kind of back off of those guys, giving a little too much respect. We didn’t want to do that,” defender Connor Lade said. “We wanted to come out and make it hard for them. You give these guys too much space, they will hurt you. We wanted to put them in a hard game.

“It’s all about making those guys feel your presence,” he continued. “If you give them too much respect like other teams have, they will find ways to hurt you.”


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  • Smith

    This was a great plan. Every team should do it. Villa is only good if he has service and he won’t have service if teams target Lampard, who is obscenely out of shape and Pirlo, who clearly has no intention of running hard and looked like he needed an iron lung by the 60th minute. The rest of the team is just crap so you don’t have to worry aboy them, save Mix and maybe McNamara.

    If other teams pressure Fat Frank and Petered Out Pirlo, Boy City may not win another game all season.

  • send over the RFP

    I’m an NYC fan but why is Villa always offsides? did he have that issue at Barca?

  • OpenCupFan

    This is a great way to treat mls period, no respect.

  • OpenCupFan

    Whoops, sorry wasn’t meant to be a reply to anyone, just a comment on the article.

  • Ulrich

    Because MLS refs are putrid. MLS.com replays showed that Villa was actually onside, Dax played the man and not the ball when he took Lampard down in the box, and of course the Perrinelle punch to Mena’s face that is a straight Red if the Ref & asst Refs were watching the play.

  • send over the RFP

    he looked offsides to me on most of the calls

  • send over the RFP

    I’ve never been so butthurt that I forgot how to comment on an internet article

  • Yeah its a bush league when the Euro-stars can’t dominate – wah wah.

    Great article and great work by NYRB.

  • Ulrich

    Go to the ~4:20 mark of the video on MLS.com when they start talking about the NYC/RB game (may be the 2nd or third play they discuss) – they take a line across the field to show he was onside. I can only guess that the Asst Ref couldn’t believe Villa could get 3 steps on the CB without being offside so the flag went up, when what actually took place is the CB lost him and had no idea Villa had raced in behind. Would have been an easy breakaway.

  • slowleftarm

    Your team got smoked plain and simple. Maybe when Fat Frank gets in shape and Pirlo drops down to two packs a day they’ll be better but until then I guess the refs will be taking a lot of blame from Old Man City fans.

  • Ulrich

    Sure we got beat, not denying that, but when the league admits three game changing mistakes were made by the refs, then it’s a valid point and not simply conjecture by pouting fans.

    I don’t come on this site and pout or sling mud, but rather point out the obvious that fanboys like to ignore or refuse to research. Enjoy your win.

  • Andrew Bissonette

    He’s actually not onside. If you look at the horrible line they set up, the line is set for David Villa’s foot and not Miazga’s. Plus, Villa is leaning over the line and Miazga is leaning the opposite way.

  • Smith

    Speaking of goals, the only thing funnier than Grella nutmegging Fat Frank was watching the multi-million dollar man nearly have a heart attack chasing after him.


  • Ulrich

    Andrew, “leaning” isn’t the variable, it’s the torso/foot, just like a keeper can be out of bounds while holding the ball in bounds and still being a live ball. Miazga was lifting his trailing foot so at the very worst, they were even, and even in on.

  • Yawn

    That is entirely false. If a player is leaning into an offside position, regardless of where either players’ feet are, he will be judged offside. That will be called 100% of the time in every league across the world

  • OpenCupFan

    How often you get butthurt? How does that happen to you so often?

  • OpenCupFan

    Oh my god, talking about #bushleaguemls is so boring, I’m going to take a nap on the keyboard right now.

  • slowleftarm

    Yeah God forbid fans of two teams discuss the game afterwards. Instead, we should all talk about the Cosmos’ “global brand” known even in Sweden and Manchester and how no doubt the latest Cosmos iteration will one day conquer the soccer world and, just maybe, average more than 4k at the college lacrosse stadium.

  • Anonymous

    That’s right. It’s measured by/from the shoulders

  • OpenCupFan

    Your trolling just put me back to sleep. Boooooooring.

  • trollleftarm

    Why complain? Cosmos seems to be all you EVER talk about.

  • send over the RFP

    a lot, mostly when I read bad reviews of Shel Silverstein books on amazon

  • slowleftarm

    Yeah I’m trolling on an article about my team by responding to a troll who posts the same mindless garbage on every article.

  • 5 Boroughs SC

    Go back to talking about pro/rel with your NASL buddies.

  • US Soccer Fan

    US Soccer rising – regular MLS guy Grella nutmegging Fat Frank champions league winner,

    guess it must have been those other top foreign stars that won Chelsea the title, not the English guys?

  • Smith

    Flabby Frank is the gift the keeps on giving:


  • Smith
  • BleedingRed

    This is too good. Comedic gold.

  • BleedingRed

    But in all seriousnes, there is a way to salvage this situation. You NYCFC guys won’t like it but it’s the only way…You have to yell, scream, and protest that Lampard retires immediately. I am quite sure that if he gets waived he still gets paid his six million. But if he retires on his own, he only gets paid for the time that has passed. If you guys force him out you get your salary cap and your DP slot back, and you can still sign a free agent (or ten with that money).

  • The Realist


    They need to keep Lampard. He is a laugh riot and thus very entertaining. He makes NYCFC a worthwhile endeavour on his own.

    As a Red Bulls fan, I thank God for Nutmeg Frank.

  • Ivan


    I am a new NYCFC fan. I relocated to NYC two years ago from Ohio. I pay $4000 for a 200 square food studio on Brooklyn. My girlfriend became a lesbian because I was to sensative. I just want to know with this soccer why are there never any icing calls?

  • Bushwick Bill

    Hey, me too!

    I am from Cleveland and I play acoustic guitar and sing sensitive songs when I am not busy making artisinal cheese in my Bushwick Apt or downloading obscure indie tunes from the 90s.

    Do you have hip, ironic facial hair too?

    It’s all the rage at NYCFC and on Humboldt Street!


    Wow such great fans. I am not from Ohio but I am transgender. I am happy to follow a team that has such open bath room policies where we can all hang out and scope the action. P.S. don’t go to Bellos in Newark those guys are hard and not so open minded.

  • Bushwick Bill

    My sister is LBGTQF. Sometimes we call her Larry. She posts here sometimes. Other times we eat artisinal toast.

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