Andrew Gutman on how the Red Bulls must improve with so many new players: “It’s just learning each other’s tendencies.” (Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports)
CARSON, Calif. – Two games, two losses, five goals allowed and no wins and zero points.
Those numbers just about sums up the Red Bulls’ stumbling start to the MLS season.
For the second consecutive week, the Red Bulls fell short of winning. They seemed to do just enough to lose.
During the 3-2 loss to the LA Galaxy Sunday night, Javier Hernandez – aka Chicharito – certainly did enough, striking for a hat-trick, leaving the visitors “disappointed” with the result.
“I’m very, very disappointed about the result,” Red Bulls head coach Gerhard Struber said during a postgame media Zoom press conference. “I think we win every race within the statistics and in the end we have a game with many chances, and especially in the second half, the game is absolutely in our hand, but one, two moments we are not ready and they can use their chances.”
But, as they say, statistics are for losers. The most important numbers are the ones that light up the scoreboard – the final score.
And how the Red Bulls got to the 3-2 result did not sit well with team captain Sean Davis.
“We feel like we’re in control for 85-90 percent of the game, but in this league that’s not enough with the way that we play,” he said. “That’s not enough. We have to be on high alert at all times. We’re disappointed that we conceded three goals that, in my opinion, were preventable.
“You’re not going to win on the road, you’re not going to pick up points on the road when you concede three goals. That’s not just on our backline, that’s on the entire team. That’s how we play. We defend as a group, and everyone has to be completely locked in. If we want to get a shutout on the road, what’s the point of running and pressing as much as we do if we’re going to concede soft goals. It’s not good enough. We recognize that and it’s just the truth and we have to face music. We have to get back to training and be better.”
At times, it seemed the Red Bulls were goal-watching or just slow to react to Chicharito.
“It’s just learning each other’s tendencies,” said defender Andrew Gutman, who tallied his first MLS goal. “There’s a bunch of new players coming into the system. It’s a little bit different system than what Red Bulls normally use.”
To be fair, Chicharito can be the most lethal striker in the league when he is at the top of his game and he has enjoyed quite a start to the 2021 season, producing five goals in his first two appearances. The Mexican international striker probably will secure MLS player of the week for the second week running.
“You saw for this game that we dominate the majority of the game and Galaxy just has a difference maker in Chicharito and he has done this whole career and he did it again today,” Gutman said. “But I’m confident with this team and especially with the backline. We’ll figure out what the little issues are and then we’ll be flying from there.”