Colorado attacker Sanna Nyassi scored three goals and assisted on one to lead the Rapids to a 4-1 shellacking of the Red Bulls at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park last night.
It was the best night of his MLS career for Nyassi, who was moved from the wing to striker in place of the injured Conor Casey.
And suddenly, the Red Bulls look like a team in trouble. During last week’s 0-0 draw with Chivas USA, New York players were seen yelling at their coach, Hans Backe, and last night, the team surrendered a second-minute goal to Nyassi, and produced its worst performance of the season.
Highlights below. New York fans could take some (cold) comfort in the fact that Thierry Henry pulled one back for the visitors, bagging his league-leading 10th goal of the season.
Nyassi and Omar Cummings torched Red Bulls centerbacks Tim Ream and Carlos Mendes all game long, and the New York central midfield pairing of Dax McCarty and Mehdi Ballouchy was utterly invisible on the defensive side of the ball (first-choice central midfielder Teemu Tainio was a game-time scratch with a quad strain).
Ballouchy had some moments going forward against his old team, but defensively he was a liability in the middle. With Tainio unavailable, Backe should have gone with Joel Lindpere in that spot—where he excelled for much of last season—and put Ballouchy on the wing.
A Lindpere-McCarty partnership in the middle would have provided a little more starch down the middle of the New York D, but, then again, considering the way the entire team looked, one positional adjustment wouldn’t have been enough to turn the tide.
The New York franchise has had some very low lows in its 16 years of existence, and last night’s debacle—which came in the toughest stretch of the schedule*—fits right in with the worst moments in team history.
*The Red Bulls host high-flying Dallas on Saturday before flying to Europe for the Emirates Cup exhibition tourney featuring Arsenal, Boca Juniors, and Paris St. Germain.
When they return, they’re off to Utah for a date with 2009 MLS champs and 2011 CONCACAF Champions League finalists Real Salt Lake.
What we saw last night might well have been the team’s first circle around the drain.