BY DAVE MARTINEZ
The New York Red Bulls are 1-3-2 to open the season, and there is plenty of blame to go around for the results. Through six matches, the team is winless on the road, has been shut out twice, have been anemic on offense outside of the first match of the season and have been shaky, at best, in their own third.
From the aging veterans, to the weak defense or the mismanaged midfield, finger pointing has already begun to name a culprit.
Head coach Mike Petke says look no further than his desk.
“To be honest with you, this is not a coach protecting his team. This all comes down to me, to be honest with you,” Petke explained.
“I put it on myself that we played well, smart, went up a goal, and then with all the experience that we have, all the talent that we have against a team, no disrespect, but in Chicago I do think they have quality but I don’t think we should have given up the lead.
“That’s on me to be honest with you,” he continued. “If we spend more time in practice going over game situations for instance, being down a goal, being up a goal, holding on to a lead, how we are going to play.
“I cannot put that on the players. Obviously I understand they are the ones on the field, they are the ones working, fingers can get pointed at them, however, I take this upon myself.”
The rookie coach even pointed out key situations in the season where he is most at fault for the team’s results.
“Look at the first game of this season, up two goals at halftime,” he recounted. “Look at Philadelphia going up a goal and giving a goal back. Look at Chicago, going up a goal and giving three goals back. That’s something that comes down to myself.
“The thing that drove me the most crazy,” he continued, “is we are going to lose games, definitely on the road. It’s inevitable. We are not going to win every game this season. However, the way it happens and to see it happen … you can understand losing to a certain team in a certain situation in this league. Chicago is not one of them. No disrespect. They do have talent but the way they are playing right now and the way things are going for them, it’s a team we should have held them, we needed to take advantage of.
“It’s all going to come down to fixing that problem and it starts (this week).”
ESPINDOLA, HENRY ON THE MEND
Injuries have been a major culprit for the team’s disappointing start to the season.
That may change.
Fabian Espindola could be an option for this weekend’s match against DC United while team captain Thierry Henry is expected to see “significant minutes” against the club’s long time rival.
“Espindola is doing very well,” Petke revealed. “He had a really good workout in the last couple of days and all eyes are pointing for him to be available for Saturday’s game.
“This week for DC, I think we are definitely in a position now of both (Thierry Henry and the team) being comfortable with him playing significantly more. Whether that means he starts or not, that’s something we’ll find out this week, but obviously he is a player we would like to start. Everything is pointing that he will be ready to go.”
NEWS AND NOTES
Peguy Luyindula, who was subbed out from the Chicago Fire match Sunday, will be evaluated this week for availability.
Soon to be 39 year old keeper Kevin Hartman continues to work his way to game fitness. He will be made available for reserve duties this week.