The New York Red Bulls took the field in Seattle with an 18-game MLS regular season winning streak but without top choice backline players Connor Lade (injury) and Kemar Lawrence (personal reasons).
They were forced to start Justin Bilyeu and Aaron Long. The result was conceding three goals and it could have been much worse.
The Red Bulls’ high pressing style, routinely attacking the ball in the opponent’s end of the field puts a lot of pressure on the backline.
The Sounders used long balls, and quick point changes when they beat the Red Bulls’ press and the result was chance after chance, open player after open player. The Sounders scored three, hit one post, and forced keeper Luis Robles to make two saves.
Beyond the five chances, the Sounders’ first goal was created because Robles was forced to come off his line, exposed due to a misplayed ball in his box, and foul Jordan Morris.
Robles was seen repeatedly yelling at his back line all night and his defenders appeared overmatched by the Sounders attack.
If the Red Bulls want to employ this press, especially away from Red Bull Arena, it will need something better from its backline – but first, it needs Lawrence and Lade back.
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