Seattle Sounders FC came to town on Saturday night and returned the Red Bulls a favor, beating them 1-0 in their own stadium to reverse the outcome between the two teams at Qwest Field on April 3.
The game was fairly listless, with few opportunities for either side, but the winning goal was excellent. Freddy Montero, who had only come on as a 78th minute sub, finished off a brilliant pass by Brad Evans with five minutes to go in the game, taking it down off his chest and slipping it inside the near post past Red Bull keeper Bouna Coundoul.
In absorbing their first loss at their new stadium (they were 6-0-0 in all competitions there before Saturday) the Red Bulls were revisited by an old bugaboo, the Late Winner for the Visiting Team, and they also confirmed what’s been partially obscured by all the results they’ve gotten this season: They are not quite as improved a team as their 5-1 start suggested (they’re now 5-3-0).
The problem is in the midfield. They don’t have a dynamic playmaker, and Juan Pablo Angel is getting starved of quality service (ditto Salou Ibrahim). We love Joel Lindpere—he works hard and is effective on both sides of the ball—but he is not a born playmaker and he’s not getting the ball to the forwards in dangerous spots. As for his partner in central midfield partner, well, we’ve said it before, don’t invite Carl Robinson to a pot-luck—the man brings nothing to the table.
The Thierry Henry acquisition is all but confirmed at this point, and obviously the French striker would be a stellar addition (he’d put more people in the seats, for starters), but as good as he is, he’ll still need someone to get him the ball. Ze Roberto anyone? Stay tuned
Sidenote: We should have known something was amiss on this night when our Path train was reversed back to Jersey City after it stalled just 500 yards from the Harrison, N.J. station stop, home to RBA. We could see the stadium from where we were stalled, but, due to “police activity” in the area, they sent the train back to the previous station, six miles away.
From there it was a mad, mostly futile scramble for cabs to the stadium among the hundreds of fans who got stranded. We ended up hiring a car service and missed the entire first half (thank goodness for DVRs).
In any case, this was the cause; and that line in there about it not affecting the game? Not strictly true.