(HARRISON, NJ)- The New York Red Bulls credentials were validated tonight. In front of the largest home crowd of the season, NY handled their emotions brilliantly, defeating Chicago Fire 2-1. A month ago, the Red Bulls seemed to be in meltdown mode. Their brief foray in failure seems a distant memory as NY won three straight.
New York Red Bulls Win Third Straight Over Fire: Three Things I Noticed
The Battle For Middle Turf
This game had to be about the middle of the field. Whether it was about Dax McCarty, Juninho and Bastian Schweinsteiger or their opposites in NY. Felipe was deemed a more valuable asset for Marsch heading into this season, and was retained. McCarty seen as an expendable because of his age and price.
Tyler Adams may not have been the heir apparent at the start of the season, but he has earned McCarty’s spot in the lineup. Adams has struggled at times in his young MLS career, his acclimation to the game means the world to his team. Chicago’s midfield trio might be the best in the league.
Adams return on the night was average. He acquitted himself well, but was victimized by the aforementioned McCarty in the 59th minute. Adams was helpless as McCarty twisted and turned his way through three defenders for the goal.
The US U-20 youth looked solid though. He never hesitates heading into a challenge, even against a world cup winner.
Return Of Veron
Gonzalo Veron didn’t take long to play a part in this one. Minutes after coming on, he showed why he is a DP. He created a chance, nearly scored, and set up a corner kick in his first five minutes on the pitch. Not bad for a player missing for nearly two months. He even contributed defensively on a few occasions.
He still showed signs that he isn’t entirely on the same page as his team, and the end product wasn’t there. Veron is still a mystery after all this time. The Red Bulls have been waiting for Veron to start producing for a very long time. Is this the beginning of the last time? Kristian Dyer seems to think so, and said as much on Seeing Red Daily this week. I’m not sure Jesse Marsch or the Red Bulls are really ready to give up just yet. His play vs. Chicago is a reminder of why.
The Red Bulls looked doomed to lose this one in the first 15 minutes. Tentative. Scared? Was it the occasion? Maybe it was Dax McCarty’s return. Whatever it was, NY just looked off. Their passing was abysmal. Their ball retention was poor. The first half saw NY sit back and play long ball. While they utilized the tactic last week, to see them start the game with it was a surprise.
When NY did find the game, they FOUND it. Their trademark pressing led to the first goal after an unfortunate deflection on a clearance. Chicago looked helpless at times, a rarity for the team in 2017.
However, it is hard to argue tactics in a game where NY won. It is April, and the season has a long way to go, still, this was a playoff match. Make no mistake. A slow start like tonight in November would be doom.
For now, the Red Bulls will revel in their incredibly successful home stand.