Player Ratings: New York Red Bulls flat in season opener

New York Red Bulls fan before the game against Sporting Kansas City. Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
New York Red Bulls fan before the game against Sporting Kansas City. Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports /

The sky isn’t falling but, for the New York Red Bulls, a 2-1 home loss to Sporting Kansas City on Saturday night was far from a good look.

The team rarely looked comfortable unless they were pressing, maniacally attempting to win the ball and 50-50 situations. It is the first game of the season for the New York Red Bulls but the lack of a central midfielder to pull the strings in the attacking third is concerning. Playing ping-pong and capitalizing on mistakes with a true, quality maestro is not a recipe for success.

Disjointed and lacking quality, the Red Bulls would have been fortunate to share a point from this match. Things can – and likely will get better – but it is tough to sugarcoat this performance.

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Player and coach ratings for the New York Red Bulls 2-1 loss to Sporting Kansas City. Ratings are given with ‘1’ as a tremendous performance, ‘3’ as an average display and ‘6’ as a poor match:

GK – Carlos Coronel: The goalkeeper situation looks a bit more settled for New York than it has been the past two years. Good distribution for the most part, looked a bit tentative at times in coming out to control his area. Penalty kick…could have done better but that’s nitpicking in this situation. Rating: 3.0

D – Kyle Duncan: The right back moved forward well and overlapped with success. Delivery of crosses was hit or miss, suspect on SKC’s second goal. Shaky at times but outside the second goal, was good on the night. That breakdown dropped his rating a bit. Rating: 3.5

D- Aaron Long: A credible night from the United States international. Won his aerial duels and did well individually. Collectively, put out several fires, especially in the first half, when the backline had minor breakdowns. Rating: 2.5

D – Sean Nealis: A surprise starter, Nealis did some good things for New York in terms of ball winning but his distribution was poor. Seemed to panic in the second half when SKC hit on counterattacks. Rating: 3.5

D- Andrew Gutman: The left back will win fans due to his tenacious defending and clear-cut guts on the pitch. Kept shape well and his pitbull mentality should be applauded but was lacking in distribution and didn’t bring much moving forward. Penalty kick call (handball) was unfortunate. Rating: 3.0

M – Sean Davis: Some good, hard work from the captain, who played as more of an ‘8’ in the first half with some success but struggled in a deeper role in the second half. Set pieces were a bit off but still a credible, solid performance. Rating: 3.0

M – Cristian Casseres, Jr.: Did some good things shuttling forward but lacked vision and touch in the final third. At times seemed a bit lost with his defensive responsibilities. Not a bad night, just lacking. Rating: 3.0

Substitute (Wiki Carmona, 72’): Physically overwhelmed and slow on the ball a couple of times in his MLS debut. Some intriguing skills here to work with but this was a rough debut and, given his age and the jump in competition, understandably so. Rating: 4.5

M – Youba Diarra: His 54 minutes on the pitch showed a workhorse with a tremendous work ethic and some nice pieces carrying the ball forward. Showed a promising partnership with Davis. Midfield shape tailed off when he was subbed out. Rating: 2.5

Substitute (Florian Valot, 54’): Always some fluid moments with Valot, he did a nice job tracking back defensively but didn’t see enough of the ball to make an impact on the pitch. Did enough perhaps to earn the start next week centrally at the Los Angeles Galaxy. Rating: 3.0

M – Caden Clark: The buzz will be about his well-taken 48th minute goal but lots of question marks from this performance. Didn’t link well with teammates, pushed off the ball easily and was playing too fast in tight spaces. Presses well and effectively but not much to show outside the goal. Rating: 3.0

F – Brian White: A rough night for the forward, he seemed two moments off. No real service hurt his ability to be dangerous. Some nice hold-up play but never got into the flow of the match playing behind Fabio. Rating: 4.0

Substitute (Tom Barlow, 61’): Like White, struggled to find meaningful touches. Night was typified by hard work but very little to show for it. Rating: 4.0

F – Fábio: His MLS debut showcased speed that oozes out, combined with a good work ethic up top. Athletic for sure but first touch let him down on several occasions. There’s a building block here for sure. Rating: 2.5

Substitute (Daniel Royer, 72’): Perhaps a tease of the Austrian’s role this season. Presses well and smart every time on the field, but lacked quality touches in meaningful spaces. Have to like his initiative on the ball, although he was rarely supported by teammates with good movement. Rating: 3.0

Gerhard Struber: Not a good night for the New York Red Bulls head coach, now in what will be his first full season with the team. Against a weakened SKC Starting XI, the team pressed frantically but lacked fluidity of movement. The frenetic pace lent itself to a team that didn’t possess when necessary. Is it doom and gloom? Certainly not. Is there reason for some concern, especially with the curious choices in the Starting XI and for the bench? Certainly so. Rating: 3.5

Follow Kristian Dyer of ‘MLS Multiplex‘ on Twitter @KristianRDyer