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How is everyone feeling about the New York Red Bulls today?

Sep 23, 2013, 8:44 PM EST

Thierry Henry, Oriol Rosell, Soony Saad AP

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.

  1. mdac1012 - Sep 23, 2013 at 9:12 PM

    Steve, as a Red Bulls fan I have been left speechless (and not in a good way) by this team too many times over the years. How many times, not only this season but in past years did they look like they were about to establish themselves as a top team, just to fall back with the rest of the pack?

    I think they really needed to secure a third DP spot with someone that could either help Henry up front with the scoring or alleviate some of the pressure on Cahill in the midfield. I just don’t have any idea what team is going to show up on any given day.

  2. tylerbetts - Sep 24, 2013 at 8:44 AM

    Haven’t we learned that with RBNY, it comes down to when, not if, we’ll have a moment that makes us say “That’s So Metro”.

    Until proven otherwise, this team hasn’t demonstrated the mental fortitude of a team that can bring home silverware, the way a team like the Galaxy has.

    So, yes, they’ll look good … damn good … for stretches. But will it end up mattering?

  3. charliej11 - Sep 24, 2013 at 1:55 PM

    Dallas, Toronto and DC are the who’s who of those that are not going to make the playoffs.

    I just don’t think NY has the D to win it all, but they are on top of the East right now.

  4. bobinkc - Sep 24, 2013 at 3:46 PM

    Steve,

    I have a question specifically for you. Are you the only one consistently blogging about MLS? It takes forever to find even one posting about MLS and that is drowned in 20 or more about EPL. Is this the new look for ProSoccerTalk or is my imagination running away with me?

  5. talgrath - Sep 24, 2013 at 6:01 PM

    I can’t see Seattle losing this one, they’re at home and the crowd will be raucous; the Red Bulls are on the road and Henry doesn’t like to play on turf. If Vancouver loses, the Sounders will be playing to clinch the playoffs, (though the Red Bulls would clinch with a win regardless of any other results) and you can be sure Sigi wants that Supporters Shield. That said, i think it will be a close game, should be a lot of fun.

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