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RBNY Fan Take: Rafa Marquez Calls Out NY Red Bulls Teammates After Loss to RSL
Blaming just one person for New York's pitiful performance during the club's 3-1 loss to Real Salt Lake on Wednesday is like blaming one person for global warming, or suggesting the New York Mets are one player away from being a title contender. I have never in the past nor will I in the future state that Red Bulls defender Rafa Marquez is the lone reason for New York's struggles over the summer. Wednesday night's disappointing performance at Red Bull Arena was a team loss, a team failure, one worthy of boos from an angry home crowd.
Marquez is likely to hear more boos at Red Bull Arena the next time he takes the pitch; if he does again this season.
The Rafa Marquez New York Red Bulls Saga doesn't begin nor does it end with Wednesday night's loss. The defender's guaranteed 2011 compensation is, according to Nicholas Rosano, "$1,278,305.24 greater than the whole RSL team." Marquez certainly hasn't played like one of Major League Soccer's highest paid athletes as a member of the Red Bulls. MSG's Shep Messing and Red Bulls beat reporters have constantly criticized Marquez for being caught "ball-watching" in situations which resulted in opposing teams scoring goals, for his inability to connect on free kicks during the first half of the 2011 MLS season and for the defender's lack of hustle against opponents such as Houston, Chicago and New England, lackluster play which helped prevent the Red Bulls from earning three points in what were winnable matches.
According to New York head coach Hans Backe, none of those lapses ever happened. As Stefan Bondy of the NY Daily News explained Thursday morning, Backe believes Red Bulls fans booed Marquez each time he touched the ball during the final 70 minutes of Wednesday's loss because of the press. Bondy quoted Backe as saying "I don't really know what kind of criticism it is, but I heard a little bit that the press has been negative with his (Marquez's) performance. I haven't seen anything about it. …(The boos) come from the press. That comes from the press, of course." Having watched every Red Bulls game this season, I wasn't aware members of the press, not Marquez, were guilty of playing what can only be called "lazy" defense or putting in ten-minute performances on a weekly basis.
Backe's comments were actually overshadowed by statements made by Marquez himself after Wednesday's match. According to Dave Martinez of Empire of Soccer, Marquez told reporters that he "didn't notice" the crowd booing him. Marquez went on to say "I stole a lot of balls. I think I made two or three bad passes out of 30 plus attempts. I almost didn't commit any errors, so I am not worried. I think I am playing at my maximum level, and doing everything I can. I don't have, unfortunately, four defenders on my level that can help me out."
The truth is Marquez isn't completely wrong with his statements. New York's entire back line has been unforgivably awful throughout the 2011 MLS campaign, and 2010 Rookie of the Year candidate Tim Ream has taken several steps back this season (Ream all-but assisted on Salt Lake's second goal Wednesday night). One can't help but see the irony of Marquez, who has hardly looked like a veteran leader on the pitch while with the Red Bulls, publicly calling out his teammates. Marquez was absolutely correct in saying that teammates haven't performed "at his level" this season.
Many Red Bulls players have out-performed Marquez over the past two seasons.
Marquez taking a stand behind closed doors and demanding more from Ream, Jan Gunnar Solli, Roy Miller (who's been sidelined due to injury over the past few weeks) and others would be acceptable. That's not what Marquez did Wednesday. Unlike captain Thierry Henry, who stepped his game up immensely when criticized by Red Bulls supporters, Marquez threw his teammates under the bus in a very public way.
As far as I and many like-minded Red Bulls fans are concerned, Marquez can hop on another one; one headed right out of Major League Soccer.
As always, Forza Metro.
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