Gerhard Struber: “A lucky punch for Montreal; a hit in the face for us.” (Photo courtesy of the Red Bulls)

By Michael Lewis

FrontRowSoccer.com Editor

Incredible as it may sound, Red Bulls head coach Gerard Struber didn’t seem as upset with Carlos Coronel’s blunder that led to the winning goal as he was with his team’s second-half performance.

No doubt he had every reason to be peeved with the way the Red Bulls dropped a 2-1 decision to CF Montreal at Red Bull Arena on Saturday.

The Red Bulls dominated most of the match before taking their foot over the pedal later on.

What Coronel was thinking when he came so far out of the net and then somehow screw up the play that allowed Rudy Camacho to score the game-winner in the 81st minute is anyone’s guess. He was not made available to the media for the post-game Zoom call.

This is what Struber said about Camacho’s goal:

“We need sometimes Carlos high, especially when we play so high, but this was a slapstick moment. I think Carlos give us the last few months in so many times an outstanding safety feeling, and today in this moment, he loses a little bit his orientation and it was not clear for him.

“But in the end, a lucky punch for Montreal; a hit in the face for us. This can’t be happening. This was today, over the whole game, not the biggest issue.  The biggest issue today was that we are not sharp enough to create chances in a home game what we need normally. I feel sorry for the fans that we cannot create the three points. I think I have completely different expectation today. … Right now, everyone is very disappointed with a result like that.”

Incredibly, the Red Bulls are undefeated on the road (3-0-0) and winless at home (0-2-1).

For most soccer teams, the results are usually reversed.

As for the overall team performance, Struber had some harsh words.

“The level of the game, what we did or what we produced today was not enough,” he said. “We are not sharp enough over the whole game to bring the points home. We start in our typical way, I the first 25-30 minutes, we were very sharp. We win many moments. We have good transition moments. We have I think control.”

But in the second half, the Red Bulls’ intensity changed drastically, and they paid for it, surrendering two goals in the final 18 minutes while seeing a 1-0 lead go out the window.

“We have to play forward,” Struber said. “We don’t use the open space with good forward running. We have in some moments not the right decision and also not the right behavior to crash completely the mindset from the opponent. I feel, Montreal is ready to lose but we are not ready to go on the personal limit.

“This game showed me one more time very, very clear [for] players means that with 80, 90 percent performance is enough to win, then I think our learning curve go up.

“We have a big learning when we have not the right intensity over the whole game time, and we are not hungry to do everything for a win. … We have not the right hunger to come in transition moments in overload situations.”