Defending Champs Hand Red Bulls First Loss

By: Lucky Ngamwajasat

Three observations from the Red Bulls’ 3-1 loss to the Seattle Sounders Sunday:

1. Entering a Hornet’s Nest

Playing the Sounders at CenturyLink Field is a daunting task on most days. Factor in a banner-raising ceremony for the defending champions in their first home game of the season in front of 45,600 fans, and you have yourself the ingredients for a tough game.

Lifted by a raucous home support, the Sounders took it to the Red Bulls in the early going and had the edge in terms of the better chances. Whether it was nerves or simply human error, Seattle took advantage in the 27th minute after a short back pass from Damien Perrinelle put Luis Robles in a compromising position, as the Red Bulls’ goalkeeper was forced to take down Sounders forward Jordan Morris in the box. Clint Dempsey stroked home the ensuing penalty kick and the Red Bulls found themselves behind.

“Coming here, the celebration that they had before, it was always going to be tough,” Bradley Wright-Phillips said. “On top of that, we didn’t play well. We didn’t create enough and they were good.”

2. BWP Does It Again

The Red Bulls did manage to find the equalizer against the run of play thanks to Wright-Phillips being in the right place at the right time. New York’s predatory striker knotted the game with an instinctive header that deflected off a Sounders defender, crashed off the post and into the net in the 57th minute.

Wright-Phillips became the third fastest player in MLS history to reach 70 goals and continues to be the main man for the Red Bulls’ attack.

3. Defensive Issues

After tying the match, you would have expected the Red Bulls to find that their rhythm and bunker down for a point. Unfortunately, Seattle didn’t let that happen.

A brilliant dribbling display from Joevin Jones opened up the opportunity for Morris’ game-winning goal.

“Obviously we made bad mistakes that cost us on goals,” head coach Jesse Marsch said. “If you have a day when you go on the road against a good team and you don’t have any good individual performances and you wind up making grave errors that just gives the other team goals, then you’re going to have a recipe for a loss.”

Up Next: Vs. Real Salt Lake Saturday

The Red Bulls are back at Red Bull Arena Saturday to take on a Real Salt Lake team in crisis. The team dismissed head coach Jeff Cassar earlier this week.

RSL has scored just one goal through three matches this season and will be looking to prove a point when they head East.

New York will be without Sacha Kljestan after the captain was a late call-up to the US Men’s National Team, replacing injured striker Bobby Wood.