June 2012 was all about one thing for the New York Red Bulls: Survival. Following a month that saw New York go 5-0-1 in all matches played, the Red Bulls began June with lackluster defeats against Harrisburg and Chicago Fire. RBNY did well to pick themselves up following those two losses, however, earning points during trips up north and also defeating their hated rivals in front of an energetic and quite possibly historic Red Bull Arena crowd. Most notably, the Red Bulls are still very much so in contention for the Supporters Shield at the start of summer.
New York Red Bulls June 2012 review: MVP
In the "broken record" moment of this piece, I again have to go with Dax McCarty. McCarty continued to be a revelation in the New York midfield throughout June, so much so that one could realistically call New York the winners of last season's Dwayne De Rosario for McCarty trade. At this point of the campaign, the hope is that head coach Hans Backe realizes that McCarty, not Rafa Marquez, needs to play the role of CDM for his side. Such a comment is assuming, of course, that we actually see Marquez play more than a couple of times during the second half of the Major League Soccer season.
New York Red Bulls June 2012 review: Top result
I really can't say enough about the June 24 3-2 victory over DC United, and not just because the victory came against the team hated most by diehard RBNY supporters. I've been to Red Bull Arena for every "big" Red Bulls match, playoffs included, and also for a USMNT match. The atmosphere in the arena during and even after the June 24 match was absolutely incredible, unlike anything I've ever before experienced while at the venue. New York fans are often given grief by both analysts and opposing supporters for the team's low home attendance figures. The arena wasn't just packed on that night. It was filled with knowledgeable and passionate fans who were into the game from the opening kickoff to the final whistle, and such individuals helped create what was, for me, one of the best MLS nights I've enjoyed in a long time.
New York Red Bulls June 2012 review: Zero
That's the amount of clean sheets held by New York goalkeeper Ryan Meara in June. I in no way blame Meara for this, as the revolving door of defenders who have routinely failed their 'keeper this season were far too often not good enough during the team's last five matches. Roy Miller continues to fall out of favor with fans seemingly every time he steps out onto the pitch. I have serious worries about both Brandon Barklage and Connor Lade being in the team's back line. Markus Holgersson, Wilman Conde and Heath Pearce all dealt with injury issues during June. Rafa Marquez is, well, Rafa Marquez.
Perhaps acquiring an attacking midfielder shouldn't be New York's first goal this summer.
New York Red Bulls June 2012 review: Overall
You know things are good when your favorite team goes 1-2-2 in five overall matches and you still are feeling pretty good. June absolutely could have gone better for New York. I'm not denying that. With that said, the Red Bulls won their single home match of the month, they earned points in two of three road contests, and they are still a weekend of favorable results away from again being atop the MLS Eastern Conference standings.
June gave New York fans plenty of examples of why they should be at least a little bit concerned about the team going forward. The month also provided many reasons why RBNY supporters should have high expectations for a team that has, in the past, consistently failed. The depth and the talent is there to win a MLS Cup. I absolutely believe that statement to be true.
Now we just need the Red Bulls to prove me right.