(Red Bulls Head Coach Jesse Marsch – Photo by Jason Schott)
The Red Bulls suffered a dispiriting 3-1 loss to the Los Angeles Galaxy on Sunday night at Red Bull Arena, one their head coach, Jesse Marsch termed “the worst performance since I’ve been here at Red Bull at home.”
The Galaxy got on the board just eight minutes in when Romain Alessandrini took a free kick from the right side, and bounced it past Red Bulls goaltender Luis Robles. The key to the play was Jelle Van Damme appeared to tip it, which may have fooled Robles, but hew actually never made contact with it.
Just a minute later, Alessandrini got another one, as he came dowjn the center of the field, got a quick pass, and fired one off Robles’ chest and it popped into the right corner of the net.
In the 78th minute, Alessandrini was pulled down inside the box by Mike Grella, and drew a penalty. Giovani Dos Santos took the penalty kick and buried it to make it 3-0 Galaxy.
The Red Bulls put very little pressure on net until the end, and they broke through in the 93rd minute, the last one of extra time, on a goal by Danny Royer.
This is the Red Bulls’ third straight loss, and they fall to 5-6-1, 15 points on the season. Los Angeles improved to 3-5-2, with 11 points.
Marsch was highly critical of the Red Bulls afterwards, and said of the game, ” Yeah, I mean, listen, L.A. buries their first two chances. I guess one is a free kick that comes from the first chance.
“But I — you know, I have to take responsibility for this, because to have a team that’s not ready to play from the start, and to play a first half like that where we show no life and no commitment and no belief, you know, I have to look carefully at what I’m doing.
“And, you know, there’s not enough guys that are playing up to their potential and their capabilities, and so again, that has to fall on my shoulders.
“So I’ve got to figure out a way to get this group playing better; playing more to what I know it can; to making things clear for guys, and to challenge everyone to do more.
“So, you know, it’s the worst performance since I’ve been here at Red Bull at home, for sure. On that side of things, I’m very disappointed and I’m going to look directly at myself and figure out how this can get better.”
Marsch continued, “Well, the main thing, listen this game, the way we played in the first half had nothing to do with tactics. It had nothing to do with game plan. It had — you know, listen, L.A. has a good start, but we have an absolutely dreadful start, and the confidence and life in our team was just sucked out of us.
“And so instead of having a response like, no problem, down 2-0, we’ve got this, right; it’s early; there’s plenty to play for; we’re at home, we’re going to go after this bit by bit, play-by-play. You just saw shakiness and nervousness and fear.
“So again, that falls on my shoulders and my leadership. I’ve got to find a way to make sure that this group understands exactly who we are and who we need to be at all times; at all times.”
At one point, Marsch gathered the Red Bulls at midfield, and he said of that, “You know, I challenged them. I challenged them to stick together and to be more like us. You know, at half time, I told them that I didn’t recognize what that was. You know, I didn’t recognize — we didn’t look like us. That’s plain and simple.
“Again, that falls on my shoulders because it’s my job to prepare everyone and to make sure that whenever we play, win, lose or draw, that we are us. That falls on me, and I’ve got to figure out — I’ve got to figure out selections. I’ve got to figure out who our guys we can count on, and I’ve got to challenge everyone to now have more self-belief and commitment and understand what it’s going to take for us to be the team we want to be.”
Marsch also singled out the Red Bulls’ tentativeness in this one, and said of that hindering their play, “All of the above. Every facet of the game was affected by the fact that we were afraid.
The Red Bulls continue their three-game homestand on Friday night against Toronto FC, who currently lead the Eastern Conference.
Marsch was asked if this is a must-win game, and he said, “No. No. It’s definitely not a must-win. I mean, we’ve already gathered enough points to, you know, feel like the season is all there for us. But what’s the bigger challenge is, this isn’t about points and standings right now. It’s about identity. It’s about making sure that the belief system of who we are, what we are, what we do, you know, that’s — that’s where we’re at right now. That’s what — it doesn’t make it a crisis, but it certainly has to be a massive, massive learning moment, massive. Massive slap in the face, massive.”
On how the Red Bulls can take what happened in this one and improve going into the Toronto game, “Best team in the league, clearly. On a great run. Finally they will get some rest. So they will come in here with a great team. They will be ready to push the game. They will be flying high. Huge challenge. Huge challenge. See what we’re made of.
“You know, you give the Galaxy credit because they had a shaky performance in the first half [last week] and they responded in that game and they come here and responded in a big way. So they learned a lot about themselves. Time for us to learn about ourselves. Time for us to learn what we’re made of.”