For those of you not up on your sixteenth century literary criticism, the quote from the title refers to the fact that even the most successful Lotharios do eventually succumb to the ravages of time and are forced to change their womanizing ways and settle for a less glamorous life. After a winter of discontent in Philadelphia, it is time to make a glorious summer in the sun made glorious by the sons of (New) York. There is a tide in the affairs of men, and we must take the current when it serves, or lose our ventures. Okay, so I have butchered lines respectively from Richard III and Julius Caesar but you get my point (maybe they should recruit Leicester City's assistant manager Craig Shakespeare). There has never been a better time than right now to break the 'Harrison Hoodoo' because the Red Bulls are currently reeling harder than a backing band at a Riverdance show.
The Union has more wins than the Red Bulls, and just to remind you that is a grand total of one. Yes, our noisy northern neighbors are yet to win this season and the fans, players, and coaching staff are all either soul searching or panicking but they are all desperately trying to right the ship. "New York Red Bulls thrash DC United, lose 1-0" read the headline on onceametro.com and if you saw the game it would be hard to disagree with the sentiment. Titi and co are playing decent football and are often winning the possession battle, playing flowing football through a dominant midfield, getting good saves from their goalkeeper to keep them in games, but they are struggling mightily in the final third where their attacks are going to die. Oh, and they are susceptible to defending errors on set pieces and dodgy penalty calls. Sound familiar?
With the arrival of the taller and more physical forward play of Andrew Wenger and what looks like a return to form (and fitness) of Cristian Maidana and his excellent dead ball deliveries, surely on Wednesday night the Union will be working to get as many set piece balls thrown in to the box as possible. If ever there was a case to be made for perhaps using two strikers and including Conor Casey then this is the game. Could you imagine the panic that would ensue if both big men were attacking balls in to Luis Robles' box, time after time? Yes, the new look U midfield and the coaching staff's version of Barcelona-style possession ('tikki-Hacka', anyone?) is not like 2013's 'get it wide and bang it in the box' offense but the ability to game plan effectively for each opponent's strengths and weaknesses is critical in this league of slavish systems and individual stars.
The 2014 version of the Red Bulls offense is sputtering but that is largely due to the inability of Thierry Henry to put headers away. With a penchant for using more crosses than Laurel Hill cemetery, this season's Bulls are predictable in a way they have never previously been - and that can be a good thing. The one fly in the ointment is the need to deal with all those air mailed balls and that is not an area of strength for Zac MacMath. With Austin Berry looking seriously off the pace in Saturday's draw with Real Salt Lake, the goalkeeper has to step up and step out of his six yard box to claim anything in the air. Jeff Parke won an inordinate amount of headers last year and the mighty headband is sorely missed - I genuinely think he would head away a real bull if it were to be flung in to his area. The nerves we all feel at set pieces and floated crosses will still be there against RBNY but with their lack of consistency on offense we might rest a little easier. And who knows, perhaps even come away with a win.