The New York Red Bulls have won four in a row, ordinarily a sure sign that ducks are squarely in a row. But are they?
This could be a “Seattle Sounders” situation … where the Sounders really do have their stuff together … but the evidence of it wa pretty thin (until two weeks ago) considering the results are skin-of-teethish, against middling competition no less.
Let’s quickly examine this Red Bulls four-game winning streak (which came just after a three-game winless skid, a period that included a loss against hapless Chivas USA):
First win: against a D.C. United club approaching league records for futility. So, that’s hardly one to hang your hat on.
Second win: A 4-1 win over Houston, at BBVA Compass Stadium, is something to stop and tell the neighbors about. Yes, Houston was having issues at the time – but let’s give credit where credit is due: You go into Houston and come out with a three-goal win, you deserve extra whipped cream on your celebratory sundae.
Third win: A 2-0 victory at home over Toronto, where the result remained in doubt until the 80th minute? Yeah, nothing to highlight on the resume there.
Fourth win: A 1-0 win at home (Sunday) over an FC Dallas club that probably will not make the playoffs? Hmmm. If that’s not bad enough, FC Dallas scored the only goal for RBNY! A late own goal was the difference.
Thierry Henry (pictured above) shows signs of a breakout performance. Then again, until he has one, he hasn’t had one. Jamison Olave looked to be injured just before the break Sunday. He’s dominant when healthy – but the big Colombian center back just cannot stay healthy for long. And if he goes down, the RBNY back line drops off measureably.
The flanks define “just OK.” Eric Alexander and Jonathan Steele (still the best porn name ever for a soccer player) are work-a-days, but hardly game-changers. Same for Bradley Wright-Phillips, whose name and family pedigree is a lot better than the actual product. He’s now Henry’s partner up front.
In short, New York is a team that could win Supporters Shield and find its way into MLS Cup. Or … it could bomb out in its first MLS playoff series. Anybody who says they have a good handle on what Mike Petke’s team can truly accomplish, where his team really stands today – they are just guessing.