2013 Desert Diamond Cup
Toro! Toro! Red Bulls battle back to tie
RSL fails to hold very, very early lead
The New York Red Bulls battled back to a draw at Kino Stadium on Wednesday after the match looked like it could have been a disaster for them when Real Salt Lake scored two goals against them in the first three minutes.
Yes, you read that right.
Things looked bad for the team formerly known as MetroStars when RSL’s Joao Plata, a player who only a month ago warmed the bench for Toronto FC, found the back of the net only a few passes after the kick off.
Okay, just one goal. Shake it off. What could possibly happen?
Plata took a second shot after the restart. This time, goal keeper Santiago Castano punched it away. The ball ended up at the feet of another first year Realista, Cole Grossman, who found the back of the net and brought the men of Deseret to a two goal lead with only three minutes gone on the clock.
New York found their footing and gave Real Salt Lake keeper Josh Saunders something to do. He had to block shots from both Brandon Barklage and Sam Lloyd in rapid succession. Neither effort ended up on the scoreboard, but it was looking like New York wasn’t going to be snakebit no matter what happened in the opening minutes.
New York finally got on the board when defensive error gave the ball to Jámison Olave, who only months ago was wearing a RSL jersey. Olave found the back of the net, and showed the crowd that this was not going to be a blowout.
New York took off some of its more recognizable players at half time. Tim Cahill, who almost tied the game up after Olave’s goal, and Tierry Henry both came off and were replaced by “guest players.”
Fourth year player Roy Miller dished the ball to recent draftee Michael Bustamante who got it past the goal keeper to tie up the game.
RSL used the post goal stoppage as an opportunity to give their veteran players some game time. Still, despite well known names like Álvaro Saborío and Kyle Beckerman being on the field, the team was unable to find the third goal.
RSL will face Seattle Sounders FC at 4 p.m. at Kino Stadium on Saturday. That game will be followed by the Atlantic Seaboard rivalry of New York and New England at 6 p.m.
“We had some really good stuff, some really bad stuff and some stuff in between,” said RSL coach Jason Kreis after the match. “I’m pretty pleased.”
Kreis was happy that the first group on the field, consisting almost entirely of players new to the squad, was able to score so quickly. But there was a caveat.
“Terrific how they got themselves to a two goal lead, but then they weren’t quite sure what to do with it,” he said. “I think they were surprised as any one else.”
“How do you manage when you go up two nil? Do you want to become defensive and put yourself in a shell and invite pressure?” he said. “My answer would be no. I would like to see us continue to pass out of things, play soccer, take advantage of the space in front of us because there is more soccer to be played after a minute twenty.”
“Oh no, not again,” said Red Bulls coach Mike Petke on his thoughts about the opening minutes of the match.
“We go to great lengths in preseason to try to correct certain things from the past. One thing that’s happened a lot is giving up early unnecessary goals,” he said. “It was a bit of a flashback.”
“The second goal, I don’t remember. I was still reeling from the first goal,” Petke said.
Petke called the circumstances that led to the two goals “unacceptable,” but had praise for his team’s comeback.
“The second half, the young guys came on and did well,” he said. “I’m really proud.”
Robles and Acosta
Southern Arizonan Luis Robles didn’t play in the match after complaining about stiffness in his back. Petke said the decision not to play him was “my call.” The Red Bulls are short of goalkeepers right now, so they went local. Serving as a backup for Santiago Castano was former Salpointe and Pima College standout Roman Acosta. Acosta also serves as a goalkeeping coach for Tucson Soccer Academy.