It should always be easier to attack with the ball, even if the Red Bulls keep producing evidence to the contrary.
Despite a 62%-to-38% edge in possession over the Colorado Rapids during Wednesday's 2-2 draw at Red Bull Arena, the defending MLS Cup champions put more shots on target than New York by a margin of 10 to six. A stout Rapids defense kept the potent Red Bulls attack in check with a +10 giveaway/takeaway margin, which was largely fueled by Colorado's execution of 30 takeaways as compared to 18 by New York.
"We couldn't break them up," said Red Bulls coach Hans Backe. "The creativity in the last third left not much and space and time for our players. Also, the passing game left too many unforced errors."
To improve on that disparity going forward, forward Luke Rodgers suggests picking up the offensive pace to create more pressure on opposing defenses.
"High tempo game," said Rodgers. "Keep pressing them aggressively. Do that and you’re going to score more goals."
Rodgers's sentiments about increasing the offensive pressure were also echoed by Dwayne De Rosario. "We just have to be a little more nasty and a little more hungry on winning every ball,” said the Canadian midfielder.
Miller Maligned. While much will be made of New York's continued troubles with defending against set pieces, the foul which set up Jeff Larentowicz's penalty kick gave New York a reason to gripe.
Referee Jorge Gonazlez awarded a penalty kick to Colorado after apparent contact in the penalty area by Red Bulls defender Roy Miller sent Rapids forward Andre Akpan to the ground. Replays showed that Miller made contact to right of the arc outside of the area, which would have resulted in a free kick but not an unobstructed penalty kick.
"I think it was a rash decision," said De Rosario. "I think the lineman should’ve stayed his ground and pointed outside the 18. It was what it was. The penalty is definitely questionable."
Jack of All Trades. Midfielder Mehdi Ballouchy played another solid game for New York and should expect to see his playing time increase with De Rosario and Dane Richards departing for the Gold Cup. The Moroccan midfielder admitted his desire to support his club in any way he can from the top three midfield positions.
"Whatever works for the team," said Ballouchy. "I’m the last guy to complain about position. If the coaching staff thinks I should play there, I would work on it and do my best."