Red Bulls Win Streak Halted In Kansas City: What I Noticed

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HARRISON, NJ - NOVEMBER 06: New York Red Bulls midfielder Gonzalo Veron (30) during leg 2 of the Eastern Conference semifinal on November 06, 2016 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison NJ, between the New York Red Bulls and the Montreal Impact. The Montreal Impact defeat the New York Red Bulls 2-1. (Photo by Rich Graessle/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

(KANSAS CITY, KS) New York Red Bulls dropped their first result in three matches against Sporting Kansas City Wednesday night. Jesse Marsch chose to rely on depth on the road during the congested week, and the result was predictable.

Red Bulls Win Streak Halted In Kansas City: What I Noticed

The Red Bulls held off a flurry of chances in the first half, but quickly gave up the winner after halftime. As SKC knocked the ball around the box, Benny Feilhaber’s shot deflected to Dom Dwyer in the six-yard box. The striker easily knocked it home in the 46th minute, beating a diving Luis Robles.

Sporting added the dagger just 22 minutes later. Benny Feilhaber’s low cross slowly made its way through the box, finding Dwyer again. Robles made a diving save attempt, but could not keep the ball out.

Red Bulls fans may have been disappointed with the result, but there were some positives. Here’s what I saw:

The Experiment

New York came out with a very different lineup from any during their home stand. A total of six players not associated with the first choice squad took the field in Kansas City. The results were a bit predictable. SKC have been a dominant force in 2017. It is fair to say, the Red Bulls, despite believing in their depth, knew what they were getting themselves into.

What was the biggest issue on the night for the Red Bulls? Passing. The team seemed utterly incapable of holding possession. Instead, they chose to play a very direct game. Long balls launched forward meant that the team couldn’t really join in the attack.

Playing a high line without holding possession is incredibly dangerous. The score might have been tied at the half, but SKC could have led by three or more goals. The Red Bulls did find some space to create a few chances, but they were infrequent.

Stock Up/Stock Down

With the large number of players rotating into the lineup, it is only fair to evaluate some of the players that did well with their chance, and those that didn’t.

Up

Fredrick Gulbrandsen

It is hard to be too critical of the low number of shots Gulbrandsen took. The service to the forward was poor, and the direct play kept the Red Bulls from creating much. Even with all of that stacked against him, Gulbrandsen still managed to have a very good scoring opportunity.

Michael Murillo

He was culpable during the second goal, but still not a bad showing. Murillo has been fighting an uphill battle for time on the pitch. He showed mostly good instincts and adapted well in a very difficult stadium against a very good team. Having to play conservatively to help absorb the onslaught from SKC. Interested in if Murillo can build on this performance.

Down

Sean Davis

Felipe and Davis are responsible for the Red Bulls’ ability to hold the ball. They failed to do so. The Red Bulls central duo versus Chicago Fire had 133 touches and 107 passes. Davis and Felipe managed just 74 touches and 62 passes. Davis did well enough to take care of the ball when in possession, but just drifted out of the game too often on the night. He got better as the game went on, but Davis is held to high standards.

Gonzalo Veron

The saga of Gonzalo Veron must be nearly complete. He was a ghost, barely involved on the night. His 21 touches were the lowest of any starter. No shots. No key passes. Veron made no impact.

If no other positive can be gleamed from the night, Luis Robles performance in goal was fantastic. Kansas City tested Robles all night, and Robles stood on his head. The iron man is still in top form.

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