For all the anticipation and build-up to the game, New York Red Bull ended up a disappointing 1-1 result, for both club and fans on Saturday night.
“They’re as disappointed as anybody. We feel like we dropped two points tonight, I think we’re all aware of that.” head coach Jim Curtin commented Saturday night.
Everything spelled a win for the Union, a side that has not earned a full three points since April 9. An on-fire Daniel Gazdag put the Union ahead in the 47th minute, a great one-two with Sergio Santos leading to the Hungarian’s team-leading sixth goal. Sadly they were unable to hold onto the lead, despite being up a man after Dylan Nealis was sent off in the 55th minute, with Luquinhas drawing it even in the 66th minute.
“It hurts right now, but at the same time we have to find ways when we have an opportunity to kill games off and end them and kind of put your foot on your opponent’s throat, you have to take advantage of it.”
Curtin further spoke on the result, looking forward to their next opponent in Miami.
“We can’t feel sorry for ourselves. We have to regroup, get ready, and beat Miami.”
The Union is at a critical juncture in their season where the ship isn’t off course but could use a little bit of adjustment. While the season is nowhere near over, teams are starting to find their footing, teams such as new Eastern Conference king Montreal who have won their last three matches and gained points in their past eight.
While the Union has not been nearly at their worst, or in danger of bottoming out of the playoff race, they haven’t necessarily staked their claim as the team to beat in the Eastern Conference as many expected after their fiery start to the season. They have gained a point in their past four matches yes, but blew leads in all four contests, making it feel like two points lost instead of a point gained. Add in a loss to Orlando City in the U.S. Open Cup, albeit with a squad mostly filled with youngsters, and there is some cause for concern for the Union as they hit the summer stretch of the season.
In the near future, the Union will have a date with Portland on the road in one of the toughest playing environments in the league, as well as an away match against the always tricky New England Revolution. While Portland currently sits out of the playoffs, they are equal on points with sixth place Houston. They just hammered Sporting KC 7-2 in their most recent match. New England struggled early on in the season but is undefeated in their past three MLS contests.
This leaves us with the upcoming opponent Inter Miami. Miami has struggled this season, sitting second from the bottom in the East. They’ve struggled to put the ball into the net and keep it out of their own, currently holding the worst goal differential in the conference. They should in no way be overlooked, as Curtin always says it is hard to win games in MLS. But they are a side that on paper provides a golden opportunity for the Union to iron out some of the kinks, and pick up a convincing three points in front of the home fans.
With some big matches against tough opponents before a sabbatical in early June, this match against Miami takes on some significance for the Union.