Red Bulls hosts DC United in home opener

The New York Red Bulls opens it home season on Saturday, March 16, but it’s not a good homecoming for the 2103 version of the home team. Although the host (0-1-1) is without a win after drawing and losing in two games so far in this young season, it is the lack of creativity and excitement and the presence of a drab game that is worrying. Again, as in the past, the inability to maintain a lead has plagued the team.

New York was leading at Portland, 3-1, at half time in the season opener on Sunday, March 3, but was lucky to come away with a 3-3 draw; in the second half, Portland peppered the Red Bulls goal with shots but was unlucky not to score. In San Jose on Sunday, March 10, the visitors led early in the contest, 1-0, but lost, 2-1. Midfielder Eric Alexander was the only bright light for the Red Bulls as he scored New York’s only goal in the 17th minute. Adam Jahn and Chris Wondolowski tallied for San Jose.

The most obvious question for New York: where is Juninho? He was the highly-touted acquisition in the off-season, but the Brazilian midfielder has not performed up to expectation considering his World Cup and French League One experience. This was the player who was supposed to provide creativity in midfield. Veterans Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill can’t seem to be able to inject any life into the team’s staid play, while goalkeeper Luis Robles seems indecisive. Left defender Roy Miller continued from last season with his penchant for defensive errors; he was directly responsible for San Jose’s winning goal.

Some excitement and good play came from forward Fabian Espindola; defensively, Jamison Olave and midfielder Dax McCarty have been steady. So, things aren’t looking too rosy for the Red Bulls and the fans for the home opener against DC United on Saturday in a 12:30 PM kick off at Red Bull Arena in Harrison (NJ). Compounding the situation is the fact that DC United, which set back the Red Bulls in last year’s Eastern Conference semifinal playoffs and ended its MLS Cup dreams, is coming off a win in its last game. Although it has only been two games so far, it is not the results that are the most worrisome, but the team’s play – the lack of creativity and excitement has to be dealt with.

Host DC United knocked off Real Salt Lake, 1-0, last Saturday at RFK Stadium behind Lionard Pajoy’s goal; United (1-1-0, 3 pts.) dropped its season opener , 2-0, at the Houston Dynamo. This Red Bulls-DC United match-up is for the annual Atlantic Cup, a trophy that goes to the team that completes the regular season matchups with the most points among the two. The Red Bulls play at the Montreal Impact on Saturday, March 23 at 4:30 PM (TV: MSG – 4:00 PM; ESPN Deportes).

Gold cup

The 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup will kick off at Pasadena’s (CA) Rose Bowl on July 7, when defending champion Mexico takes on Panama at 8:00 p.m., E.T. as part of a double header that includes Canada versus Martinique in the early game at 5:30 p.m.. The 12-team, biennial tournament will conclude with the championship game at Chicago’s Soldier Field on July 28.

The 12 national teams from North and Central America and the Caribbean will play preliminary matches in three groups with Mexico, Panama, Canada and Martinique in Group A; Group B consists of Honduras, El Salvador, Trinidad and Tobago and Haiti; while the USA, Costa Rica, Belize and Cuba make up Group C.

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