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Troy Lesesne's Halftime Substitutions Saves a Point

photo by Matt Kremkau

by Daniel Feuerstein

After two and a half weeks of not playing a single match after a horrible loss at home to Orlando City, the Red Bulls went out to take on a Charlotte FC side who are just as bad as they are. But the opening 45 minutes were horrid, putrid, and disgusting. It wasn't just a flat start, they were like flamingos burning their heads in the sand. 

Sure, the typical argument of the referee is not doing his job, correctly to say that this club is cursed, but honestly, they were doing this to themselves. Yellow cards were flying all over the place against the kids, and when the Halftime whistle blew, frustration set in at Red Bull Arena. But when the players went back inside the changing room, hellfire, and brimstone were coming out of Head Coach Troy Lesesne's mouth.

He was disgusted with that start and he read the team the riot act, plus he also knew what he had to do to wake up the players once the second half was about to start, he made substitutions to wake up the team. Peter Stroud who looked like he was having the worst game in his first season as a professional player was taken off along with Frankie Amaya, and in came, Dante Vanzeir with Daniel Edelman

Once that change was made, the Red Bulls were huffing, puffing, and ready to torch Charlotte FC's net. And torch that net they did. They scored two goals within a five-minute span and got the match leveled at two. Dante Vanzeir scored his second of the season, and third in all competitions in the 53rd minute as he smashed the ball from a perfect pass by Elias Manoel.

Then it was Cameron Harper in the 58th minute who slipped into position and caught the keeper off guard. As he camped in, the ball bounced towards him, then took the shot inside the near post to put the fans into a frenzy. The Red Bulls looked like a different team in the second half than in the first half. Lethargic, not looking to press, just not the same hungry side before they took their break. Once the changes were made by Lesesne, then bang a whole new team.

"the first half I just said this to the group, it's unacceptable from us. The energy, the mentality, the match plan, I think everything that we wanted to do in a really important game, the first game in this next six matches to kick everything off, again, we have to take accountability for that performance, and we put ourselves in a really bad position." said Troy Lesesne,  "So before I can even talk about halftime, I have to say that first, and I was very direct with the group post-match; I was very direct with the group at halftime. You know, we made a couple changes and I think that had something to do with giving a little bit more life and energy."

" But I also say that it's unfair to put that all on Frankie or Peter because I changed them. That's not right, either. It was a collective effort that wasn't good enough. I give a lot of credit to the group in terms of the way we played in the second half. But that's what I expect. That's the standard that I expect us to have all the time, and it wasn't there in the first half. So we -- I think we let a great opportunity slip away today, and we only came away with a point."

If Gerhard Struber was still here, he wouldn't have made those substitutions that fast. He would've kept things as is till the 60th minute, or later to push it forward. But no, Lesesne found a way to make the changes as quickly as possible and saved a point, if not for some solid goalkeeping from Charlotte FC, this was going to be a huge comeback win for the Red Bulls season.

You know they aren't satisfied right now, and neither should you. While it was a good fightback from the club, they have plenty of time to make this fix continue during the league season. It shows you that Lesesne has a pulse on the club and he is aware of what needs to be done to get them back across the playoff line. Great awareness from Lesesne and not afraid to make changes when they are needed.


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