Well, this photo is appropriate with Red Bulls defender Jason Pendant (right) chasing Joseph-Claude Gyau because the Red Bulls chased the game for most of the night. (Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports)
ORLANDO – Sean Davis did not mince his words.
After the Red Bulls were ousted from the MLS Is Back Tournament with via a 2-0 loss to FC Cincinnati Wednesday night, the captain felt he and his teammates needed to look at themselves after underachieving during the past two games.
“I sound like a broken record because I said this last time, but we have to take a hard look in the mirror and this has to hurt each and every one of us,” he said. “It has to hurt us enough to change and just be better. We have to be better, and we have to start by holding each other accountable and taking responsibility.
“I said this to the guys in the locker room after the game: It’s not good enough for a club like ours. The standards are high. We know what it takes to succeed at this club and what those standards are.”
The Red Bulls were embarrassed in the tournament, finishing with a 1-2 record and scoring only one goal, in their opening game, a 1-0 victory over Atlanta United. Then they were blanked twice by both Ohio-based teams by 2-0 scores. Columbus Crew SC also beat the Red Bulls.
David gave credit to FC Cincy.
“They executed their game plan exactly how they wanted to,” he said. “We knew what to expect on a night like this and we didn’t handle business and that’s the reality of it. It’s really disappointing. It hurts a lot right now and we had real aspirations to make a run. We wanted to win this tournament and to go out on a note like that and not take care of business is really disappointing.
“We knew exactly what this game was going to look like. We have to take responsibility. We weren’t sharp enough. We didn’t find enough solutions against their block and then they create one or two chances and capitalize. That’s exactly what they wanted and, we again, I sound like a broken record because I said this last time, but we have to take a hard look in the mirror. This has to hurt, it has to hurt each and every one of us. It has to hurt us enough to change and just be better. We have to be better and we have to start by holding each other accountable and take responsibility.”
It was not known when the Major League Soccer proper will commence after the tournament final on Aug. 11.
There is plenty of improve on, said Davis, who pointed to one important factor.
“I think having maturity,” he said. “This is obviously a new tournament for everyone but we’ve been in situations like these before whether that’s CONCACAF Champions League or U.S. Open Cups. We have to be more mature as a team. We have to understand what teams are throwing at us and be able to adjust. At the end of the day, being so sharp, so alert that we can handle anything that’s thrown at us. When we make silly mistakes that doesn’t give us the best chance to win and that’s not a mature team. I think that’s where we can improve and that’s where as players, we have to take responsibility for that. I think that was evident today and, even for the Columbus game, I think we could have brought better energy. If we adjusted a little bit better to what they were throwing at us and that’s something [to work on]. That’s what I mean when I say that we can take more responsibility on the field and from within.
Asked what sort of message he had for fans after the Red Bulls were eliminated, David replied, “I said this to the guys in the locker room – ‘After a game like this, it’s not good enough for a club like ours with the standards being high.’ We know what it takes to succeed at this club and with those standards to win our first game, and then not get the job done with our last few games is extremely disappointing.
“To our fans, I can’t imagine how much it hurts. When it hurts us, it hurts every single player and we just have to be better. We wanted to come into this tournament, give our fans something to be excited about. Although the result against Atlanta was good, the last two games haven’t been good enough. We, again, have to be honest about that. We have to be better, especially in a time like this. I think we did try to do everything we could to prepare properly, but then we have to execute.”