"Nine points out of nine" was the mantra being voiced by many New York Red Bulls supporters heading into a week that features the team playing three Major League Soccer matches in six days. That goal is no longer a possibility following the team's 2-2 draw with Seattle Sounders, and it was, if we're going to be honest about it, probably at least a little unrealistic considering New York's three opponents and the fact that this could be the hottest week of the year. With that said, this past Sunday's game was, on paper, the team's most difficult of the month, and the Red Bulls were but a few inches away from producing a winner at the death.
Things could be worse.
3 final thoughts on NY Red Bulls 2-2 Seattle Sounders: More on Marquez
One thing stood out after re-watching the first 20 minutes of this match: Rafa Marquez is no longer able to be a serviceable MLS center back. Marquez, who left the game after the 21st minute because of what was reported to be a left thigh injury, doesn't have the legs to hang with the top forwards in the league, nor does he have the ability/desire to, within the laws of the game, consistently out-muscle attackers while playing in the defensive third. I understand head coach Hans Backe chose Marquez to play in the back line because several lineup mainstays were injured, but I would select Stephen Keel over Marquez ten times out of ten moving forward after what I saw on Sunday.
The question I have following the 2-2 draw is one that I'm not sure has a real answer. Where does Marquez fit in with the Red Bulls at this point? He can't start at CB, and Dax McCarty is currently, in my eyes, the best defending midfielder in all of MLS. Marquez, set to make $4.6m this season, certainly isn't the #10 that the New York front office may still be looking for even after acquiring Sebastien Le Toux. I somehow don't see Rafa making darting runs down the wings. With Teemu Tainio potentially returning to action this month, Marquez remaining in the team's starting eleven this summer is extremely difficult to justify.
3 final thoughts on NY Red Bulls 2-2 Seattle Sounders: Invaluable
I know I mentioned him in the past paragraph, but I really can't say enough good things about Dax McCarty this July. McCarty, named "the most effective passer in MLS" in a piece posted on the league website on Tuesday afternoon, was responsible for the most clutch tackle of the match, one that prevented Seattle from having a 3-on-1 or 4-on-1 advantage approaching New York's penalty area, and he was also once again a key man in starting counterattacks. McCarty, the smallest man on the pitch, also had a header cleared off the line by a defender, the second time this season he has been robbed of such a goal. I stated last month that last season's Dwayne De Rosario for McCarty trade was one that benefited both DC United and New York. Unless DCU win it all this season, I'll be calling New York the true winners of that deal come this fall.
3 final thoughts on NY Red Bulls 2-2 Seattle Sounders: Nice acquisition
The Richards for Le Toux trade made headlines, but New York's other Friday acquisition was a significant reason for the Red Bulls earning a point this past weekend. Goalkeeper Bill Gaudette, acquired for a draft pick New York (allegedly) couldn't care less about, played a very solid match while wearing a RBNY shirt for the first time in a MLS match. He wasn't guilty for either goal scored by Seattle, and he was also responsible for a potential Save of the Week candidate in the 32nd minute.
Rookie Ryan Meara, banged up in the middle of July, will absolutely be the team's starting 'keeper once he sees a return to full fitness. Meara has never before played this much pro soccer, however, and the Red Bulls having depth at the goalkeeper position is nothing but a good thing as they attempt to contend for the Supporters Shield. It's also worth noting that Gaudette, 30-years old, could teach the young Meara a thing or two.