Trap game? No such thing, they said.
Yet, when the final whistle blew and the boos rained down at Red Bull Arena Saturday night, the Red Bulls were on the wrong end of a head-scratching 2-0 loss to one of the worst teams in the league who were down three suspended starters.
“From my standpoint, it’s pretty clear. We lost the game 2-0 at home, extremely disappointing,” Red Bulls coach Chris Armas said. “I’ll take a hard look at what I’m doing to put out a team tonight that I thought we didn’t have the urgency, the execution, the desire to win that game.”
Former New York City FC nemesis Jonathan Lewis scored both goals as Robin Fraser celebrated a win in his debut as Rapids coach. The victory snapped a three-match winless streak for the Rapids (8-14-6, 30 points), while the Red Bulls (12-12-5, 41 points) have lost consecutive games for just the second time this season.
“I can’t say enough about the effort, really can’t,” Fraser said. “The guys put out such an incredible effort. I told them afterwards, I want to be associated with this team because those guys fight.”
On a sequence that started with a Red Bulls attacking set piece with Bradley Wright-Phillips putting a shot off the post ended with Lewis giving the Colorado Rapids a 1-0 lead in the 14th minute.
The speedy winger pumped the brakes before blowing past Rece Buckmaster before taking a touch inside after entering the 18-yard box. Lewis then clinically finished inside the far post for his fourth goal of the season.
Aug 31, 2019; Harrison, NJ, USA; Colorado Rapids head coach Robin Fraser during warm up before game against the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
“Honestly, I wouldn’t even say it was me. The team played really well,” Lewis said. “They put me in good positions to do well today. Obviously, I scored the goals and I get the hype, I guess you could say, but the team played really well and they put me in the position to score.”
The rest of the first half consisted of missed Red Bulls chances. In his first MLS start, Southampton loanee Josh Sims took a Bradley Wright-Phillips layoff off his chest and fired over the crossbar in the 23rd minute.
In the 31st minute, Buckmaster took a pass from Sims and found Danny Royer, who turned in the box and slid a shot just wide of the far post. A minute later, Tim Parker got on the end of a Marc Rzatkowski service, but put his header from the edge of the six-yard box wide of the net.
In the 34th minute, Wright-Phillips took a ball down and also just missed the net with a low shot and three minutes later, Sims received a feed from Buckmaster and chipped a shot wide of the target.
The Red Bulls continued attacking after halftime with Kaku playing a ball across the six-yard box intended for Royer that Sam Vines desperately slid in to break up in front of the net for a corner kick in the 58th minute.
With the hosts pushing numbers in attack, the Rapids had golden chances to put the game away and they finally did three minutes from full time as Lewis buried his brace past a rooted Robles.
“Our talking point all week was competitive spirit, win our individual battles, these next six games just take them one at a time, but there has to be a playoff mentality,” Robles said. “I think for 90 minutes that didn’t exist, so it is really disappointing. … We need to figure this out quickly because there’s not much time left.”
The South Ward, who chanted “Armas out” and “Fire Armas” in the second half joined the rest of the stadium who booed at the final whistle.
“Listen, they’re not happy. They shouldn’t be,” Armas said. “So who do you take it out on, right? They don’t take it out on each other. They love the players. So they blame the person in charge. It’s fair. It’s fair. Is that the best thing for the players and the coaches to hear? That doesn’t help. But they’re frustrated. And that comes with it. They support us, they come and they’re entitled to be frustrated and voice that opinion. It won’t change the way we’re working.”