By Alex Labidou,
Salou Ibrahim’s (picture) recent injury only highlights the Red Bulls lack of depth at forward.
The scene in the home team locker room at Red Bull Arena wasn’t much different from a funeral after the Red Bulls 1-0 defeat to the Seattle Sounders. After all, the 200 million dollar stadium has been the crown jewel of the MLS and the New York Red Bulls desperately wanted to stay undefeated in their new home. Mired in a two game losing streak, most of the team isn’t concerned yet but are cautious ahead of Thursday’s game against the Columbus Crew.
“It sucks to lose at home because we were doing so well here,” said Red Bulls right back Jeremy Hall.
Offensive execution has been a problem for the Red Bulls all season long and their woes might have become more significant when forward Salou Ibrahim went down with a left hamstring strain. It is almost looking like the Red Bulls will have to sign Barcelona striker Thierry Henry in order to match their lofty ambitions. While the move is looking more and more likely especially with all of the rumors of a buyout coming from European media outlets, even if Henry signs with the team it will take the 32-year old some time to adjust to life in a new continent.
As magnified as the team’s issues are at striker, midfield service hasn’t been as sharp as it was in the beginning of the season. Carl Robinson hasn’t made much of an impact in the team’s first eight games and both right and left wide midfield positions continue to be an issue for the team. Dane Richards’ extraordinary pace makes him extremely valuable but his inability to execute properly timed crosses and passes have plagued the 26-year old Jamaican international. Until the team’s midfield and forwards get on the same page, it will continue to not take advantage of easy opportunities to score.
“We have to be more clinical in front of goal,” said Richards.
Red Bulls rookie Tony Tchani added, “Coach always says that we have to finish our chances. If we always do that [squander opportunities to score] we will never win games. That’s the concern of our coaches right now, finishing. “
Despite the team’s recent run of results, there is still a strong belief that in the locker room that the team has vastly improved from last season.
“It’s still early,” said Hall. “We played well enough to try and get a goal. There are definitely no concerns yet. We’re still a good team. So I don’t think it’s going to bring us down. “
Biggest omission from the US World Cup preliminary roster: According to Jeremy Hall, Conor Casey.
“I thought that Connor did well for us during some of our qualifying games,” said Hall. “I would have liked to see him be a part of the mix.”
Freddy Montero vs. Sigi Schmid has a winner: Both Seattle Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid and star striker Freddy Montero reaped the rewards of the coach’s decision to bench the 22-year old during the team’s game against the Red Bulls. It’s no secret that the two haven’t seen eye to eye in the beginning of the season and it has resulted in the team’s recent struggles. After Montero scored an absolutely stunning clutch game winning goal in the 83rd minute, Schmid was elated to see the Columbian forward to react in a positive manner.
“Freddy’s response was tremendous, “said Schmid. “We had talked about it. He knew he wasn’t going to start because I told him pretty early in the week. I told him he would get into the game and that the minutes he was going to get in were going to be the most important minutes of the game. He said that he wanted to have a positive impact and he did. He responded very well. “