(Harrison, NJ)- A gorgeous night at Red Bull Arena saw the playoff-seeking New York Red Bulls damage their playoff chances in a frustrating draw against down-and-out DC United. The Atlantic Cup match was declared by many to be a “must-win” for New York, and they came out dominating the flow. Smart buildup play and sustained possession for RBNY eventually found Tyler Adams with the ball on Steve Clark’s near post. The youngster drilled a half-volley into the far corner, over the head of the veteran goalkeeper for his first MLS goal.
On the stroke of halftime, Zoltan Steiber equalized as his free kick was deflected on its way through the wall, and the match was tied at one. The Red Bulls came out hungrier in the second half, and nearly took the lead through Bradley Wright-Phillips but Steve Clark had a response. DCU took the lead themselves in the 70th minute when Patrick Mullins capitalized on a catastrophic defensive breakdown from the home team.
The crowd got back into the game as Tyler Adams finished another brilliant chance for his second of the night (and ever). Just four minutes later, Gonzalo Veron earned and finished a penalty kick to reclaim the lead for RBNY. But, just as the job seemed done in stoppage time, Fidel Escobar hit home a spectacular finish past his own keeper, and conceded the 3-3 draw to the visitors.
New York Red Bulls Stay True to Form, Draw at Home to DC United: Three Thoughts
It’s no secret, but it cant be said enough- the kid can play. Not only can he play at the highest level, but he has been one of, if not the, best Red Bulls throughout this campaign. His hustle for 90 minutes is unparalleled, his tenacity to win the ball is inspiring, and the wisdom and creativity he possesses for his age is jaw-dropping.
It has taken Adams a long time to finally net one, but he did it in the most spectacular fashion, and with a brace. Overall, his play was top notch. Winning battles and maneuvering past defenders, while tracking back and disrupting the opposition’s offense. On the night, only Kemar Lawrence won more duels than Tyler Adams. Regardless of the result, Adams was Man of the Match material Wednesday night.
The Panamanian Predicament
The Red Bulls structure is anchored by the two Panamanian defenders, Fidel Escobar and Michael Amir Murillo. Both showed promise when they arrived, and Murillo has been a regular starter for the past few months. Lately, however, both show signs of struggling. Most notable of these signs is Escobar’s appalling own goal in stoppage time Wednesday night. His body positioning and decision making on that cross, to attempt to defend it away with an in-swinging right leg, is more than questionable.
Escobar in particular has looked slow, and lazy. He was partially at fault for the Mullins goal as well, when he stopped following the runner as he looked to the official for a call that never came. Mullins went right by him to score, and Escobar had already given up on the play. Murillo’s play has dropped off of late as well, becoming less efficient going forward. Both defenders lost more duels than they won on the night, producing a negative ratio.
Unless the form of Escobar picks up, he may lose his spot in the lineup to Aurelien Collin when he recovers from plantar faciitis.
With the draw to DC, the Red Bulls cut their chances of making the playoffs by almost eight percent. Luckily for fans in the Metro, New York City FC came out victorious against the Montreal Impact to keep them at bay for now. Due to the Impact’s loss, that playoff chance percentage was all but completely balanced out, and RBNY still seem in fine shape to be above the red line on Decision Day. That being said, New York did not do themselves any favors by sharing the points with DC.
Jesse Marsch’s squad still control their own destiny. With four matches left in the regular season, three wins will automatically put them through to the playoffs. Anything less and they will still have high chances, but it will depend on the results Montreal can manage in their last matches. New York’s remaining schedule is not easy. Going away to Toronto FC is about as tough a test as it gets. Additionally, they have Atlanta United and the Vancouver Whitecaps at RBA. The Decision Day match will be played as the last match at RFK Stadium, where they will be expecting no less than three points against a side they got the best of Wednesday.
Wednesday’s Atlantic Cup match-up was tough to swallow for Metro fans. It was more of the same from the past month and a half. the Red Bulls dominated every category from possession (62% – 38%), to pass accuracy (80% – 74%), and shots (16 – 6). RBNY did it all except for finish the game off, and at the end of the day that comes down to mental errors.
With their club having not won since the 12th of August, fans were expecting to see some strength in the team against one of the worst in the league this season. What they saw were weaknesses in the squad, and a continuation of the worst run of form in all of 2017 for NY. These are not good signs heading into the playoffs, but the Red Bulls are certainly making the last few weeks very interesting.
Jesse Marsch needs to finally figure out who his best XI players are, and get them on the field together to pick up some momentum for the postseason. The Red Bulls are back in action on Saturday to take on Toronto at BMO Field.
Source: FotMob – King of Football