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Thursday, September 22, 2011
Rafael Marquez criticizes Red Bulls back line not being on "equal level" with him

By Matthew Artus

If Red Bulls supporters needed some excuses to keep Rafael Marquez in the doghouse, the Mexican center back just supplied them in spades.

Marquez drew the ire of the home fans for his recently poor form during a 3-1 shellacking by Real Salt Lake at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, culminating in a chorus of boos with his every touch on the ball. The Red Bulls designated player might find the poor reception to be unfair, but his teammates will not like his rationale as to why.

“I think this is a team game and unfortunately there isn't an equal level between my teammates and I,’’ Marquez said to the New York Post following the match. “I’m not paying attention to that. I’m actually focusing on my game… I’m focusing on performing at my highest performance, at the highest level. That doesn’t mean the whole back line can perform at the same level, that’s the problem.’’

Although Marquez speaks English, he frequently speaks to the media in his native Spanish through an interpreter. So the chance exists that a poor translation created  his poor choice of words.

That said, it was a collaborative effort by all defensive parties that put the Red Bulls down 3-0 early against RSL. Tim Ream made a monumental error to set up Fabian Espindola's first goal, but it was Marquez and Jan Gunnar Solli who failed to tighten up a pourous back line in the moments before the Argentine forward started the run that finished with RSL's third goal. Solli showed no trouble in accepting his responsibility in the club's defensive failures against the Claret-and-Cobalt.

"We know instead of blaming each other, we know in the back four we could have done differently," said Solli. "We could have cleared the ball a couple of times. Those three mistakes ruined the game for us, because in the second half we really tried to get the early goal."

Unfortunately, Marquez did not share the same sentiment following the match. And that feeling -- which started upon Marquez's return from the CONCACAF Gold Cup and grew as the Red Bulls allowed opponents to score in all but one match since April -- will only make the calls for his outster grow louder over the Red Bulls' final few matches of the 2011 season.