A Couple Or Three Things: Offensive struggles return to center stage in Cincinnati tie

The New York Red Bulls are still technically top of the Eastern Conference after a 1-1 draw against FC Cincinnati. But Saturday’s result was another shaky one that exposed some of the flaws and wrinkles still apparent in this New York team. Ben Cork, OaM Editor-in-Chief tell you two or three things we learned as the Red Bulls continue to have slight stutters in their approach to the top.

Struggling to create chances again, let alone finish them

On Saturday, facing one of the worst defenses in the league playing with ten for much of the second half, the Red Bulls created very little danger. Gerhard Struber said a draw on the road was a result the team could live with, but he was also right to recognize that the stakes would rise in the coming months – and the defenses would also play tighter.

The Red Bulls have risen to the top of the Eastern Conference over the past month thanks to a wave of golazos. Lewis Morgan lasers from outside the box. Luquin has rebounds and chips that fool unsuspecting goalies. The impetuous strip-and-finish of Serge Ngoma against Atlanta. The team’s set piece was also applauded, especially after an Aaron Long header last Sunday was the only goal in a win over Kansas City.

But when was the last time the Red Bulls scored from a well-worked chance? It’s been a long time.

Omir Fernandez’s finish on a Cameron Harper cross to put the icing on a 3-0 cup derby victory last month is the only time since May that the Red Bulls have scored through a deliberate attacking combination of the unfolding of the game – and even that goal was more the product of punishing a tired, overstretched City side in search of goals. Much fan outrage was registered against main strikers Patryk Klimala and Tom Barlow, but again on Saturday it’s unclear what chances they are expected to force into the net.

Saturday’s draw chart in Cincinnati paints a picture of a team creating a constant supply of low-intensity attacks, but hardly any real openings outside of Lewis Morgan’s successfully converted penalty. Even Gerhard Struber admitted last night that Lewis Morgan’s cross which Tom Barlow headed over goal while trying to stay in stride was the only clear live ball chance his side created on the night.

Struber would expand on the team’s offensive struggles on Saturday in a way that’s not exactly reassuring. His diagnosis of the team’s offensive struggles seemed to show an overly mechanical approach to scoring, one his players still haven’t embraced in nearly two years after Struber’s tenure in New York.

“Ultimately the overload situation for us, but we weren’t always ready to use the space they gave us at times. Our decision-making in the final third with forward runs with different moves was out of sync and not going in the direction of us creating a lot of chances.

“There are times when I think we don’t have the discipline where every player stays in position to help us break down the back line. I think sometimes you get the ball in the right areas but very flat. We do not find the position staggering and the position in which we can enter a possession with more power.

“We’re not always in moments with different movements, the understanding of the right moment to break the line, the right moment to run forward, I think in moments of overload it wasn’t at a We have to realize that when we have an overload we have to have great discipline in possession and not that we think that each player can do what he wants and we forget the game plan.

It is increasingly apparent that the Red Bulls can only reasonably expect to score once a Rube Goldberg device of second balls and opponents’ errors drops at the correct angle in the 14-C area while that races that are precisely timed with such random events are populated with correct numbers in the box. The Aristocrats!

Struber’s comments about wishing players not to make their own decisions and running out of sync challenges the fact that Luquinhas has saved the team’s attack in recent months by providing an unpredictable x-factor as described by Struber. And more so, Struber’s frequent change of formation from game to game and half-time to half-time – almost always with the aim of adapting to the opposition to find better distances pressure instead of triggering the attack – is almost certain to corrode the shared sense of movement he expects from his players.

The rediscovery of the club’s pressing identity has fueled its return to the top of MLS, but hopes Struber’s approach will bring a more tactical dimension to the team’s performance than previous iterations of football energy drink in New York have yet to be confirmed – and fears that devotion to pressing orthodoxy is stifling the team’s growth are beginning to set in.

But the spirit of pressing is still there, and the other teams are furious about it

The good side of the team’s tenacious tactical approach showed in another away result where the Red Bulls worked hard and kept a cool head in a physical game.

Cincinnati’s more direct, press-friendly approach, instilled by first-year head coach Pat Noonan, caused a mirror of systems to manifest, much like the Red Bulls’ often risky win. against Atlanta two weeks ago. But at times the high pace of the game seemed to suit Struber’s side and encouraged a better midfield combination than seen in weeks, even though the aforementioned game in the final third was once again called off. .

And sure enough, Cincinnati was dragged into the type of second-half meltdown that New York fans should be familiar with. Allan Cruz ensured Cincinnati’s rough treatment of Luquin backfired when he got a second yellow card, while Luciano Acosta picked up his second career red card against New York late when he kicked lead to Aaron Long.

Does Dru Yearwood have time for another revival?

Saturday marked the third game in a row where Red Bulls midfielder Dru Yearwood – originally signed as a Designated Youth Player two years ago – has dressed but not come off the bench. After being ubiquitous in the team’s blistering start to the season, the Englishman’s minutes have steadily dwindled to the point of vanishing in recent weeks as Cristian Casseres has locked up the spot next to the possible Manchester United player. year Frankie Amaya.

About a year ago, Yearwood was in a similar situation as Gerhard Struber demoted him to reserve for a time in what was described as a move to bring him closer to the Austrian’s fitness standards. Yearwood appeared to rebound well from the challenge, being in the engine room for much of the team’s late-season run to the playoff spots. But it’s unclear if there will be a feel-good ending to such a story the second time around.

Although Yearwood’s cultured passing seems to make him a candidate to shake off the team’s aforementioned struggle to create, it seems his difficulties with pressing and tackling – Struber can often be seen moaning on the sideline at the Red Bull Arena during Yearwood’s defensive actions – knocked him out of the picture for the second season in a row. Worse still for Yearwood, his competition for a place in central midfield will increase in the coming weeks. Uganda international Steven Sserwadda is now a permanent first-team player, and Caden Clark and Daniel Edelman are back after outstanding performances with the USA Under-20 team.

As the last year has shown, there is always hope. But it increasingly looks like Yearwood won’t meet the standards at this time.

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