New York Red Bulls Orlando City

New York Red Bulls were far from being the Red Bulls we’re accustomed to during their 1-0 loss versus Orlando City.

For a team named after an energy drink, the New York Red Bulls didn’t have much energy during their 1-0 loss to Orlando City SC on Saturday night. And that’s the team’s main personality: energy.

Unfortunately, energy wasn’t the only thing that was missing in the Red Bulls’ first MLS loss of the season.

The team didn’t pass the ball well and lacked creativity up top. It’s not like New York was playing a Mexican powerhouse as Club Santos Laguna; they were playing an MLS team that was winless in their first three matches of the season. Something was wrong; RBNY wasn’t itself.

“Yeah, there’s a lot that goes into the night, what kept us from getting the rhythm and the sharpness and a real grasp on the game,” head coach Chris Armas said in a press conference after the match.

“We thrive on making the game fast, Orlando tried to slow things down, you could see it. There was different instances and injuries that happened it the first half that disrupted the rhythm. We were slow on throw-ins it was just so many little things.

“We would’ve did ourselves a bigger favor. We knew that second ball was going to be a big thing on the night.

The 46-year-old coach’s list of reasons why the Red Bulls weren’t themselves is plausible. One thing that’s missing in Armas’s list is that The Metros were missing four key players: Amir Murillo, Aaron Long, Kemar Lawrence and Alejandro “Kaku” Romero.

Armas noted at halftime that his players weren’t underperforming because they were missing starters.

“It’s not that we’re missing players,” the Bronx native said. He’s partially right.

Energy isn’t something that just vanishes when a couple of key players are gone. And most of the starters’ replacements performed well.

Amro Tarek, who replaced Long, played a superb match. The Egyptian was always on his man and made several tackles. Tarek even saved the team from conceding a goal in the 43rd-minute when he intercepted Sacha Kljestan’s square pass in the box.

Alex Muyl, who occupied Lawrence’s left-back position for most of the match, didn’t play bad either. Similarly to Tarek, Muyl made a goal-saving interception in the 88th-minute. Furthermore, the American had two shots on target, made good decisions on his passes, tracked back to defense, and was aggressive.

However, over on the right side of the defense, Kyle Duncan who stepped in for Murillo, had a night he would want to forget about. The 21-year-old lost the ball on multiple occasions.

As for Kaku’s replacement, Vincent Bezecourt played a decent game but didn’t make an impact. The Metros missed Kaku’s creativity in the middle of the field.

So was it because the Red Bulls was missing four starters they didn’t look like themselves against Orlando? Partially. But the MLS giants’ regular starters didn’t perform well either.

The club’s all-time top scorer Bradley Wright-Philips was far from being the Wright-Phillips New York is used too. You can argue that it was one of his worst game in a Red Bulls jersey. The Englishman missed several bad passes late in the encounter under minor pressure. However, he did hit a shot toward the net in the 56th-minute.

Daniel Royer, a player who netted two goals and two assists in his previous two appearances, underperformed as well.

Bradley Wright-Phillips
AP Photo

Nevertheless, there were some positives to take from Red Bulls’ loss on Saturday. As mentioned, Tarek put up a spectacular display. The 26-year-old proved that he can be trusted to play when needed.

Muyl backed up his MLS Player of the Week honor from the previous round with a solid performance.

Elsewhere, the team’s promising youngster Mathias Jorgensen came off the bench in the 59th-minute. He looked eager to help the Red Bulls tie the game. The young Danish forward was screaming for the ball when Royer was bolting down the flank in the 71st-minute but unfortunately the pass didn’t reach him.

Jorgensen also hit a dazzling low shot in the 94th-minute. It was deflected but the teenager sprinted back to help his defenders.

Another positive from RBNY is that the players played tough defense on ex-Manchester United player Luis Nani. As per example, Tim Parker pushed the Portuguese down in the 20th-minute. The New York players showed yet again that they can handle a former star from Europe.

The Supporters’ Shield champions’ next game is against Chicago Fire on Saturday at 1:00 p.m. ET away from home at SeatGeek Stadium. Similar to Orlando, Chicago is winless going into their outing against New York.

RBNY will hope that they won’t carry their substandard performance into their game with the Fire. Armas expressed that even though the team was far from being itself on Saturday the club shouldn’t be alarmed.

“Coming out of this game there’s no real concern,” Armas said in the post-game conference. “We know in different stretches we played really well.

“We’ll be ready to fly come next weekend in Chicago.”

Originally from Haiti, Ralph 'Onz' Chery started his writing career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He also wrote for First Touch, the Cosmopolitan Soccer League and other local leagues. After graduating, Onz started covering the New York Red Bulls for ESNY and joined Haitian Times.