Photo by ISIphotos.com
When Jaime Moreno scored what seemed like his 100th career goal against the Red Bulls on Sunday you got the distinct feeling that the season was ready to slip away for the New York squad. They needed all three points. Not a tie, and certainly not a loss.
Juan Pablo Angel knew that and proceeded to impose his will on the match, scoring a beautiful free kick equalizer and putting the match out of reach with a perfect chip over an on-running Zach Wells to help the Red Bulls roll to a 4-1 win over D.C. United.
The victory also marked the first MLS match to include all four of the Red Bulls new signings in uniform. Venezuelan defender Gabriel Cichero joined coountryman Jorge Rojas and Argentine Juan Pietravallo in the starting lineup and all three contributed well to the win.
So the big question looms: Will we see more of this from the Red Bulls?
Sunday’s match was a game of many firsts for the club. It was the first blowout win against D.C. in the long and painful history of the rivalry. It was the first time this year the Red Bulls scored more than two goals, and perhaps most impressively, it was the first time the Red Bulls came from behind to win.
The team also showed fight like we haven’t seen this year, as well as a willingness to go after opponents. For too long, the Red Bulls have been an easy team to play against, a team some around the league would call soft. Sunday’s performance could be a first step in trying to erase that reputation.
Is this the Red Bulls squad we can expect to see in the last 11 matches of the season? A team with some bite and some skill and a healthy Angel leading the way? There were countless positives, including Gabriel Cichero’s successful debut, and Mike Magee’s best performance in recent memory.
The Red Bulls aren’t a complete squad yet. Dane Richards is still working his way back from a hip injury and Juan Carlos Osorio is still looking to add a forward to start alongside Angel (with Mac Kandji looking like a strong possibility at this point), but Sunday’s performance and effort had to provide some relief to a squad that hadn’t won since June 21st.
So are the Red Bulls good enough to play this well down the stretch? Are they good enough to grab one of the five playoff spots likely to come out of the Eastern Conference? With Toronto fading, D.C. struggling and KC chasing consistency, the door is open. Now it is up to Osorio’s squad to make the most of it and prove that Sunday’s romp wasn’t a fluke.
What did you think of Sunday’s performance? Can the Red Bulls keep it up? Was Sunday’s match just a mirage?
Share your thoughts below.