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Dominating First Half Fell Short Once Again


Photo by Matt Kremkau

This is the most frustrating performance in this 2023 season by the New York Red Bulls. They were home against an Austin FC side that has been the worst of the recently added teams coming into Major League Soccer, after having an amazing second season that is currently falling apart this year. A seven-match winless streak and nothing is going right for the Texas side in Green & Black. 

While the Red Bulls are having a horrible season as well, you would think they have enough to at least play well and get the full three points to try and challenge the teams ahead of them trying to get over that playoff line. Well sadly they did it again, they got off to a roaring start, flubbed somewhere in the middle, and disappointed at the end of the 90 minutes. 

In the opening 43 minutes, the New York Red Bulls pinned Austin FC into their own end forcing them to be on their heels. They passed the ball well, ripped shots on frame, continued to battle, and showed their muscle against a side that hasn't shown anything to say they deserved to be on the same pitch as the Red Bulls were. 

In the 7th minute, the Red Bulls earned a free kick, and John Tolkin once again teamed up with Dante Vanzeir to cross it towards the Belgium striker and smashed a beautiful volley that was deflected in off of Austin defender Emiliano Rigoni who stuck his left foot out and put the ball into his own net. While they continued to force their muscle onto Austin, they never got over the midfield stripe. Until the 44th minute.

Defending set pieces or marking players during corners continues to be a problem, and once again that issue came up. The first shot on goal for Austin FC was off that near corner and just like clockwork, the Red Bulls defense allowed themselves to get beaten by Sebastian Druissi for the equalizer. Even though the match ended in a one-all draw, this result is extremely disappointing and you have to feel bad for goalkeeper Carlos Coronel who has improved his game and was let down by his defenders once again.

I asked Coronel after dominating the match in the opening 43 minutes in the first half, then all of a sudden in the next minute, that happened. "The frustration is how we gave up the goal because we trained at this. We knew they were strong at set pieces, attacking set pieces. We trained at this but we couldn't stop it." What's also maddening is that in the 2nd minute, Elias Manoel was able to outrun the last defender attacking the Austin net, caught Brad Stuver off his line and chipped the ball wide of the far post. That's how terrible this season has been. He forced his way to beat the defender clean to the ball, and then he couldn't get that shot on frame. 

The Red Bulls did try to take that lead back in the second half, but couldn't do anything but walk back to the tunnel in frustration. two points dropped and moved on down to our nation's capital to take on their oldest rivals in DC United. Without a doubt, this has been the most stressful season this club has had and I wouldn't be surprised if they make changes once the 2023 MLS Season is over. Because it's been that bad. 

Hopefully, Dante Vanzeir's back injury in the first half is not too serious and he can finish off the rest of the season, but without a doubt out of all the matches they have played with an early lead, then lost it late, this particular performance was just the biggest disappointment they have ever displayed in the train wreck season of 2023. 


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