Sometimes, it's just not meant to be your night. The New York Red Bulls entered Sunday evening's match against the New England Revolution having not won at Gillette Stadium in a decade, and the visitors also happened to be missing six lineup mainstays because of injuries. To make matters worse, New York looked like a side hoping to escape with the draw and nothing more right from the opening kickoff. That's a not a way to approach any meaningful game, and the Revolution took advantage of some poor defending, some shoddy officiating and New York's futility en route to earning the 2-0 victory.
New England 2-0 NY Red Bulls: The match changed...
After 60 seconds of play that, if I'm going to be honest about it, were a rather adequate summary of the entire first half of the match. Mehdi Ballouchy was on the positive end of a turnover a few yards outside of the New England penalty area in the 23rd minute, and he also had plenty of time and space to test goalkeeper Bobby Shuttleworth. Ballouchy instead attempted to dribble through traffic, a decision that handed the ball back to the hosts.
The subsequent counterattack concluded when Chris Tierney located Lee Nguyen several yards outside the RBNY box. Neither Ballouchy, Dax McCarty nor Wilman Conde closed in on Nguyen, and Nguyen, unlike Ballouchy before him, decided to have a go. His curling shot made its way around the line of New York defenders and past the diving Ryan Meara, who really shouldn't have even been tested by the shot in the first place.
New England 2-0 NY Red Bulls: Unlucky
The scoring drought continued for front man Kenny Cooper on Sunday evening, but the once hot goal scorer who honestly hasn't looked the same since Thierry Henry went down to injury the last time New York played New England (April 28) deserved better for the second consecutive week. Ten minutes into the second half, Cooper did well to make space for himself between three defenders on the outskirts of the penalty area before attempting a curling far post right-footed strike that left Shuttleworth as a spectator. The ball bounced harmlessly off the inside of the post, however, and the Revs were fortunate to still be leading.
Cooper hasn't been the luckiest of forwards in the past month or so, but, just as when a shooter is struggling on a basketball court, I like Cooper trying his luck each and every time in that particular scenario. The goals will eventually return, although that fact probably won't offer relief to Cooper, the Red Bulls or the team's fan base over the next couple of days.
New England 2-0 NY Red Bulls: Must be discussed
Referee Drew Fischer didn't endear himself to Major League Soccer supporters last February, and he is far from a New York fan favorite on Sunday night. Fischer cautioned Dane Richards nine minutes into the match for a challenge that was a foul at absolute most. Joel Lindpere was whistled for a foul in the second half for an incident that saw the Red Bulls midfielder get tripped and taken to the ground. Fischer's most controversial moment came six minutes from time, when Saer Sene was played through into the New York penalty area. Sene extended his left elbow and make contact with New York left back Roy Miller, and Miller fell to the turf before Sene broke free and struck an attempt that was saved by Ryan Meara. Jerry Bengtson was right there to send home the rebound goal, a tally that put New York away for good.
I want to be clear that Fischer didn't cost the Red Bulls three points or even a draw on Sunday. This match was, unfortunately, yet another example of poor officiating from a league referee, a problem that continues to pop up nearly each and every weekend. The Revs, RBNY and the fans watching both in the stadium and at home deserved better from the ref on this night.
New England 2-0 NY Red Bulls: Overall
The Red Bulls finished the match with a 62-38 possession advantage, yet failed to find the back of the net once. That, simply stated, is not good enough. Supporters clamoring for the team to immediately acquire an attacking midfielder in order to inject some life into the team's attack would do well to remember the following: New York were without Thierry Henry, Rafa Marquez, an in-form Jan Gunnar Solli and three other starters, and they've still scored more total league goals this season than all but two MLS sides. My point? There really isn't a lot Red Bulls fans can take away from this game moving forward except for one very obvious fact:
New York need to get healthy and soon.