Red Bulls And Real Salt Lake Form A Lazy River

By Matthew Klimberg

Harrison, NJ – While most of MLS was idle, and many players were on international duty, Red Bull New York and Real Salt Lake faced off on Saturday in their week four matchup. For the hosts, captain, and reigning MLS assists leader, Sacha Kljestan was on his way to Panama for the US National team, joined by legendary Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando. The lack of star power was evident as both teams played to a disappointing and relatively boring draw.

In the 8th minute, the visitors wasted a three-on-none opportunity off a Red Bull giveaway.  Despite three shot attempts, the only one on net was cleared off the line by Tyler Adams, making his first career MLS start. Red Bull turnovers were a theme at the beginning of the match as their passes lacked precision and crispness, and oftentimes found their way out of play or onto the feet of opponents. The first half ended scoreless, without many opportunities.

Fredrik Gulbrandsen, in his second start since joining the club, nearly created a goal of the year candidate in the 64th minute. After getting possession right of the net, he dipsy-doodled past two defender and put a curling shot on net. However, reserve netminder Matt Van Oekel was equal to the task and directed it out of play. Ten minutes later, Gulbrandsen sent a cross towards Alex Muyl – who took Kljestan’s spot in the lineup – in front of net that set up a corner kick, which he nearly headed in before being subbed out for Sean Davis.

Van Oekel was called upon to make several tremendous saves in the second half, and was Real Salt Lake’s best player. Despite the plethora of late chances, the match ended scoreless, and sent 16,000+ fans home underwhelmed.

The Red Bulls (2-1-1, 7 points) travel to Houston to take on the Dynamo on April 1st.

Defender Connor Lade made his return from an ACL tear in his left leg suffered back in August, and was immediately placed into Jesse Marsch’s lineup at right-back and went 61 solid minutes. Tyler Adams replaced Sean Davis in the defensive midfield, and had a very active game.